PRIVATE Family Service
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Sacred Heart of Jesus Church
156 Valley Ave. SW
Grnd Rapids, MI 49504
Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned nearly a century, John Joseph Stachowiak, Sr. lived a life pf purpose spent loving the ones he cherished. With the love of his life by his side for several decades, he was so proud to witness his family tree blossom to include numerous branches of loved ones who made him so very proud. John was hardworking and outgoing, and his zest for life was easy to see. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
It was great to be an American during the vibrant decade of the 1920s. Ballroom dancing, jazz music, and motion pictures in both color and sound were all threads that were woven into the cultural fabric of our nation during this time. There was also much to celebrate during this time as John Joseph Stachowiak was born as the youngest of eight in his family on May 21, 1921, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Many of his older siblings including Michael, Frank, Joseph, Stanley, Mary, Florian, Harriet had moved out by the time John was born so he spent a lot of time helping his mother around the family home at 218 Garfield, SW. His father worked in the local gypsum mines, and he sadly passed away when John was just a young boy of seven. John and his family were members of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, where John attended school thru the eighth grade, was baptized, celebrated his First Holy Communion, and was confirmed. Although times were difficult while John was growing up, the family rallied together to make ends meet, especially as the Great Depression descended on the nation and remained throughout the 1930s. In his free time, John loved hanging out with the neighborhood boys and fishing.
Life was forever changed for John when he met the young girl who would forever hold the key to his heart. Her name was Wanda Maslowski, and they met at the duck pond at John Ball Park near his home. They began dating, and it didn’t take the couple long to fall in love. With a desire to spend their lives together, John and Wanda were married at St. Adalbert’s Church on August 10, 1940, beginning a new chapter in their love story that would span more than 70 years. John and his new bride settled into his family home, which was the same home he was raised in that his father had built himself. This was the place he called home throughout most of his life.
John was always someone who worked hard. He worked at Steelcase for a time, but when he was 20 he joined the United States Navy as an answer to the call of our country after WWII landed on our doorstep with the attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. For two years John served aboard the USS Clytie, a submarine supply tender, serving in Australia, Hawaii, and throughout the Pacific and Atlantic. With his military duties fulfilled, he took a job as a letter carrier with the United States Post Office. John spent his entire career there until retiring after 30 years.
There was nothing more near and dear to John’s heart than his family. He and Wanda were blessed to welcome six children into their hearts and home including Marie and Marilyn, John, Joan, Lawrence, and Daniel. They were both actively involved in all aspects of their children’s lives. They enjoyed regular family picnics at Gun Lake as well as a memorable trip to Cedar Point. As a family they were members of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish. John enjoyed cooking for his family, and among his specialties were his no peek chicken, potato pancakes, kielbasa, and golumbki as well as his famous raisin bread - placek. His cherry and plumb wine and cordial were also among the family favorites. John loved gardening and grew various vegetables, and he also enjoyed tending to the yard.
Throughout his life John was one to keep busy. He was so proud of his Polish heritage, and he was also very devout in his Catholic faith as he prayed the rosary daily. Fishing was a lifelong hobby, and John fished at both Grand Haven and South Haven piers and also did some pan fishing at area lakes. He enjoyed watching the Detroit Tigers and Lions as well as listening to Polka Time on the radio. John enjoyed dances at the Polish halls and frequented both St. Ladislaus and Kosciuszko halls near his home. Together John and Wanda did some traveling including trips out East and also to New York and Las Vegas.
On January 10, 2015, John was deeply saddened with the death of his beloved wife at St. Anns Home. Although he missed her, he did go on with his life. John treasured seeing his children and grandchildren, and he took great pride in remaining in his home and caring for his own needs for several years. After suffering a fall, John moved to St. Ann’s Home for rehab and later moved to assisted living there.
All who knew John Stachowiak, Sr. would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was deeply devoted to his family, and he was a constant presence who was there to support his loved ones in all that they did. Outgoing and talkative, John was known and loved by many. He will never be forgotten.
John Joseph Stachowiak Sr., aged 98 of Grand Rapids, passed away on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, at St. Ann’s Home. He was preceded in death by his wife of 75 years, Wanda Stachowiak; his son, Daniel Stachowiak, and all of his 8 siblings. He is survived by his children, Marie Jason, Marilyn (David) Zimmerman, John (Tina) Stachowiak Jr., Larry (Ann) Stachowiak, Joan (Ed) Kunde; daughter-in-law, Laura Stachowiak; 6 grandchildren; 9 great grandchildren; many nieces, nephews and friends. John honorably served his country in the US Navy during World War II. He was a lifelong WestSider and a lifetime member of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church. He retired from the US Post Office where he worked for 30 years. He will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. A private family service will be held at 1:30 pm, on Saturday, May 9. You are invited to Live Stream his funeral or watch it later from his web page. Contributions in him memory may be made to Sacred Heart Church. To read more about John’s life, to leave your memory of him and to sign his guest book, visit his web page at www.heritagelifestory.com