On December 21st, 1927, John A. Krowiak entered this world at Mercy Hospital in Scranton, PA. In the early morning on Sunday, May 14th, God sent his angels to bring his faithful servant home to his final resting place.
John is survived by his wife Helen, who was his soul mate and the love of his life, his brothers Paul and Edward (Antoinette), and Ed’s family, his children John Jr. (Cindy), Tony (Kim), Robert (Susan) and Mark along with his grandchildren Jesse, Zachary (Julia), and Alanna Krowiak, Tyler (Brittany) and Nicole Krowiak, Robert Jr. (Katrina), Chris, Alexa and CJ Krowiak, Mark Jr. and Kevin Krowiak as well as six great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Like many of his peers, in the early winter of 1945 during the waning months of WWII, John enlisted in the US Navy to perform his patriotic duty. He was a radar technician on the USS Thompson, a destroyer tasked with escorting larger ships of the fleet in the Pacific Theater, to protect them from submarine attacks.
John was blessed by God with great musical talent. He was a gifted accordionist and led a band he formed with his brothers Marty (drums) and Ed (bass), called Johnnie Krowiak and the Melody Mates. The band was very popular in the Scranton, PA. area, playing wedding gigs as well as club dates four nights a week at many local establishments. John not only led the band, he also composed all of the musical charts used by the horn section. Watching his fingers glide across the accordion keys and listening to his passionate expression of the music was a joyful experience for all who were lucky enough to enjoy it.
John graduated from the Johnson Trade School in Scranton, PA., where he studied Machine Trades, graduating second in his class to his best friend. He was a good athlete and even pitched the first no-hitter for the school’s baseball team and was a speedy halfback for the football team. John always made it to class and would travel the three miles to and from Johnson School on his bicycle. During the winter, he would wrap his tires with ropes to provide the traction needed to get through the snow. John often credited his Johnson School education for his mastery of the mechanical skills he relied upon throughout his life.
John attended Scranton University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering. After graduating from “The U”, he moved to Endicott, NY., where he ultimately put his engineering education to work at IBM. After 34 years, John retired from IBM at the ripe old age of 57. He spent his retirement years pursuing his primary interests, family, multiple hobbies, and home improvement work.
John enjoyed building things and undertook many large projects around his home. He constructed a family room, kitchen, workshop, and bedroom in his basement. He also built a sunroom attached to the back of his home. As his sons liked to say, he was not just a jack of all trades, he was the master of them all.
John was a family man who was the center of the family’s universe. He was most happy when surrounded by his loved ones. John and his wife Helen were like two peas in a pod. When she recently went to the hospital to visit him, he lit up like a Christmas tree when she walked into his room! It was touching to witness them embracing and gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes. Even in their nineties, they still held hands. They epitomize Mark 10:6-8 which says, “And the two shall become one flesh’: so that they are no more two, but one flesh.”
John wanted his sons to follow the common wisdom of going to school and getting a good job yet, when they disregarded his advice and formed a band to tour full time, he temporarily put aside his own dreams for his sons’ and instead, supported their dreams 110%. Whether it was building speaker cabinets, fixing, or modifying the band truck, a construction project, or remodeling a home, he was always there. He was the biggest fan of the athletic accomplishments of his sons and grandchildren. Dad would drop anything he was doing to help anyone who needed his help and advice. Be it a construction project, a sporting event, a sick neighbor, whatever it was, he was there for whomever needed his help. We were blessed with a father who was a model of compassion, love and caring, an example of how to lead a good life.
John Krowiak was more than that, he was a hero to all his sons and set the example to which the whole family aspires. We write this tribute to our dad, a man whose spirit lives within us, who’s left a legacy, a roadmap of how to live our lives, of how to be a good man. I, as one of the authors of this tribute, always identified with the emotionally moving lyrics of Dan Fogelberg’s hit song, Leader of the Band which I’d like to share….
The leader of the band is tired, and his eyes are growing old,
But his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul.
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man,
I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band.
May God rest your soul John Krowiak, our Papa. We all love you so very much and will miss you dearly. May the memory of your life be a blessing for us all…. now and forever!
We, your sons; Johnny, Tony, Rob and Mark, and your beautiful wife Helen, say with tears in our eyes… Goodbye John, fear not for we will all be together again someday!
Special thanks to Dr. John Perry of Endwell Family Physicians, Michelle and the Nurses from the UHS Infusion Center.
Expressions of sympathy in his memory may be made to Mercy House of the Southern Tier, 212 North McKinley Avenue, Endicott, NY 13760.