Walter W. Kowalczyk
Walter W. Kowalczyk, 88, of County Highway 107, Perth, passed suddenly on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at St. Mary’s Hospital, after being stricken at home.
He was born on the family farm in Perth on June 7, 1930, a son of Vincent and Antonia (Edna) Niemiec Kowalczyk and was educated locally at Pinewood School. Walt was a lifelong Perth resident.
In addition to working the family farm, he was employed at the former Olbrycht’s Dairy and later at H & M Equipment Co. A self-taught master mechanic, Mr. Kowalczyk joined the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 106 in 1965 and worked for Asphalt Stone Products in Schenectady. The company was later acquired by Callanan Industries, where he worked as foreman of the Rexford shop before retiring in 1992. He was awarded a company truck as a retirement gift, something he was very proud of (even though it was a Chevy).
Walt also owned and operated K Bros Sno Jet of Perth, selling the most sleds of any dealer in 1971 and was awarded a cruise to the Bahamas. He was an accomplished snowmobile racer/mechanic, earning the title “Wild Bill,” and he rode snowmobiles every year since 1965, including this past winter.
At the time of his death, Mr. Kowalczyk was a councilman for the town of Perth, having served more than five decades in office. Elected in 1965, he was the longest-serving elected official in New York state and was a fixture at the town office complex. He was instrumental in several important town projects, including securing better equipment for the highway department as well as a new garage. Walt also enjoyed mowing the ballfields at the town complex and servicing the mowers every spring. He cared deeply for the town and its residents.
Walt was a former member of the Perth Volunteer Fire Department, member of the Perth Democratic Club, member of Perth Seniors, and the Fulton County Democratic Committee. He was also the oldest member of the Long Hill Lodge Hunting Club of Speculator since joining in 1947.
He was a member of St. Joseph’s Church in Broadalbin and was very active in fundraising efforts. Walt was a co-chairman of the annual polka dances at the church, with his good friend, David Walendziak.
In his spare time, Walt enjoyed snowmobiling, countless trips to hunting camp in Speculator, gardening, and working in his garage. He was a Ford, Sno Jet, and John Deere man, through and through. Walt was an avid Boston Red Sox fan. There was nothing that Walt couldn’t fix, and did so for anyone who needed help. He loved having coffee at the Perth Stewart’s every morning with his buddies. He enjoyed supporting his grandchildren by attending all events. Grampy was always there, and very proud.
He was married to Sophie Korona Kowalczyk on November 17, 1951. She died on May 4, 2009. In addition to his wife and parents, he was predeceased by his siblings, Leo, Edmund, Bernard, Clara, Violet, Pearl, Theodore, and Edward “Bob.”
Survivors include three daughters, Linda (Ted) Bubniak of Rock City Falls, Diane (Erny) Davis of Ballston Spa, and Gayle (Jeffrey) Hertik of Perth; a son, Mark (Robyn) Kowalczyk of Amsterdam; a sister, Delores (Peter) DePasquale of Perth; six grandchildren, Michelle (Matthew) Richardson, Mike Davis (Jen Studt), Justin and Ryan Hertik, and Kathryn and Kevin Kowalczyk; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was anxiously awaiting the arrival of his first great-grandchild in two weeks.
Calling hours will be held on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Robert M. Halgas Funeral Home Inc., 111 County Highway 106 (corner of Route 29 and Black Street), Johnstown. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Monday at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Church, 7 North Street, Broadalbin, with the Rev. Jun Segura officiating. Burial will follow in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Amsterdam. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Baldrick’s Foundation or to the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center, both in care of the funeral home.
The family would like to thank Jamie Bauer, for the wonderful care provided.