Anthony J. Olszewski, 89,
passed away peacefully at his home on Sugarloaf Street early Saturday morning,
April 5th, His wife of 65
years, Ellen, ”Chris” (Christensen) Olszewski was by his side. Born on August,
7, 1924 at his family home on River
Road in South Deerfield,
“Tony” was the eldest son in a family of eight children. Tony attended Deerfield Elementary School,
School and graduated from Smith
School in Northampton,
Massachusetts. Tony enlisted in
the U.S. Army in 1943. He served as a
medic in central Europe during World War
II. He retired from the Army at the rank
of First Sergeant, E-8, but continued to serve in the Army National Guard from
1948-1967. He worked as a Manual Arts Technician
at the V.A. Hospital
in Leeds, Massachusetts
for 30 years, until his retirement in 1980.
While at the V.A. hospital he met his beloved wife of 65 years, Ellen,
who was finishing up her training as a registered nurse there. Tony’s passion
for woodworking and his gift at sharing his expertise inspired the many
patients he served as well as the hospital staff. He took great pride in serving his fellow
veterans and embraced the opportunity to show his gratitude and appreciation
for their service while teaching his craft. While working at the hospital Tony
received a number of commendations and awards.
Two of the most memorable include a 1967commendation from the hospital
director for saving the life of a patient, and an award in 1973 for superior
performance over a number of years Always
an active, integral part of the South Deerfield community, Tony volunteered his
time for a number of organizations including coaching the American Legion
Little League Baseball team, and holding the title of Commander at the
Hale-Clapp Post of the American Legion in South Deerfield.
Proving that no task was too daunting,
Tony put his skills as a master cabinet maker to use when he single-handedly
built his home and nearly all of the furniture in it. His artistic merit ranged far beyond
traditional woodworking projects to include clock making, hand-carved signs,
ornate picture frames, weathervanes and much more. His elegant Grandfather
clock stands proudly in his living room reminding those closest to him of his
long, fruitful life and his indomitable creative energy.
Always intellectually inquisitive, Tony
was an avid reader devouring thick novels and mysteries with complex plots on a
daily basis. Like many in his great
generation, he had a true understanding of the significance of historical
events that shaped our nation, and he used this broad perspective to constantly
contemplate and revisit his attitudes, beliefs, hopes and dreams. He always saw the world as dynamic and was an
eager participant in all he undertook. His sharp mind and keen wit always
precipitated lively discussion with family and friends. Tony was a formidable
debater due to his understanding of a wide range of issues in the local, state,
national and international spheres. He could generate a fascinating repartee
with nearly anyone and he continually amazed his family with his seemingly
endless knowledge of numerous and
varied subjects. He remained
intellectually curious and engaged even in the last few weeks of his life
reading the editorial pages of our local newspapers, finishing a hefty Tom
Clancy novel, and engaging his nurses and family members in deeply
philosophical discussions about his end on life choices. Always a deep thinker,
he challenged us to listen, and learn to the end. Tony’s humility, work ethic,
devotion to family and pride in his Polish heritage and culture were the
cornerstones of his long and productive life journey.
Tony was predeceased by his parents,
Stafania (Mioduszewski) Olszewski of Rutki, Poland
and Jan Olszewski of Bialystok,
Poland, as well
as his brothers, John and Theodore, and sisters Helen, Ann and Genevieve.
He is survived by his wife Ellen and his
brothers, Francis and Ralph of South Deerfield and Whately, his four children
and their spouses, David and Lucie Olszewski of Blandford,
Mass., Judith and David Dancey of Brisbane Australia,
James and Diane Olszewski and Robert and Donna Olszewski of South Deerfield,
Mass. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, Christian, Candace, Rachel,
Andrea, Nathan, Ashlee and Jonah.
Though he is irreplaceable and will be deeply
missed by family and friends alike, his legacy will burn brightly in our shared
recollections, and our retelling of favorite anecdotes at all the Olszewski
Family reunions and important events to come. For all of us who loved him, he
was the true embodiment of a life well lived.
The Wrisley Funeral Home on Sugarloaf Street in
South Deerfield is entrusted with
arrangements. Calling hours will be from
4 to 7 pm on Thursday, April 10th.
A service to celebrate Anthony’s life will be held at the Wrisley
Funeral Home at 11 am on Friday, April 11th.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made
to Hospice of the Fisher Home, 1165
N. Pleasant Street, Amherst, Mass. 01002. The hospice staff lovingly cared for Anthony
during his last weeks of life.
Expressions of Sympathy are available at www.wrisleyfuneralhome.com