In Memoriam – Joseph W. Kielec

HADLEY – Joseph Walter Kielec was born Oct. 7, 1918, to Josef Kielec of Padew, Galicia, Austrian Poland, and Rozalia (Chrusciel) Kielec of Grochowe, Galicia, Austrian Poland, on the family farm on North Maple Street in Hadley. Joseph graduated from Hopkins Academy in Hadley in 1937 where he was President of the Senior Class.

A child of the depression raised on the family farm in Hadley, Joseph learned at an early age to respect honest hard work and taught by example that “any task worth doing was worth doing well” a habit that he passed on to his family.

His first employment was at the Butler & Uhlman Greenhouses in Hadley which he followed with precision machinist training at the New England School of Practical Training. He was then employed at Greenfield Tap and Die Company until drafted by the United States Army where he was injured during training at Camp Croft in South Carolina.

Following military service, Joseph secured employment at the General Electric facility producing Norden Bomb Sites in Easthampton. He then continued his career as a skilled precision machinist for the next 38 years at General Electric facilities in Holyoke, the Springfield Armory and West Springfield, finally retiring in 1978.

A beneficiary of one of the early Coronary Arterial Bypass Grafts in 1978, his doctor told him that this might add 10 years to his life expectancy, a comment which he delighted in raising with his cardiologists for the next 39 years.

Joseph could shave cold steel to one-thousandth of an inch and could translate an engineer’s sketch into a functional part that would withstand years of heavy use. Following his retirement he turned his talents to a series of home crafts in woodworking and leaded glass where he created hundreds of functional and decorative items that have become family heirlooms and treasured keepsakes by three generations of descendants.

Joseph was highly regarded in the Northampton community as a master craftsman as he and late wife Anna were regular exhibitors at the Three County Fair with many of his workshop creations earning the award: “Best in Show”.

Joseph was predeceased by Anna (Pickunka) Kielec, his wife of 53 years, Patricia (Kielec) Malatinsky, their daughter, John Kielec, brother, and Mary (Kielec) Cargel, his sister.

He is survived by his son Joseph Eugene Kielec and his wife Carolyn, of Easthampton and their children and families. This includes Matthew (Stacey) of Swansea and their children, Ethan, Hannah and Emily; Peter (Jaime) of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and their children, Samantha, James, Ben, Bridget and Phoebe; Joseph Michael and Kitty Wu, his fiancé, of San Francisco, California and Elizabeth Kielec-Johnson (Doug) of Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

Calling hours will be at 9 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish on King Street, Northampton, Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10 a.m. Burial with military honors will follow at Holy Rosary Cemetery in Hadley.

In lieu of flowers, friends may make donations in his memory to the Northampton Survival Center.

Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Sept. 28, 2017