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Published: Wednesday, 1/2/2013

Daniel Kwiatkowski 1926-2012

Libbey-Owens-Ford retiree bore 44 days of POW camp

TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Daniel Kwiatkowski, a World War II veteran who spent 44 days as a prisoner of war and worked for more than 30 years for Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company, died at the Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky on Saturday. He was 86.

Mr. Kwiatkowski had Alzheimer's disease and died of natural causes, said his daughter Janet Woods, 51, of Sylvania Township.

“He had a really good life,” Mrs. Woods said.

Mr. Kwiatkowski, who was born in Toledo on April 1, 1926, skipped his graduation from Irving E. Macomber Vocational Technical High School and went straight to war, Mrs. Woods said.

His daughters did not know how long he served, but said their father was an Army combat infantryman with the 3rd Division in France and Germany.

Two of his three brothers – one being his twin – also served in the Army during World War II. They were both killed in combat about a month apart.

“My dad was wounded in the hospital when he saw the Chaplin coming and he siad, 'I bet Dominic got killed.' He saw him coming and had that feeling,” said Chris Kwiatkowski, 53, of Rossford.

Mr. Kwiatkowski probably served less than a year in the Army before the war ended in 1945. But during that time, he spent 44 days as a prisoner of war in a German camp, said his  daughter, Kathy Allen, 53, of Sylvania.

“There were days you wouldn't get fed, days he just had soup,” Mrs. Allen said. “I know he said when he got out, 'My uniform just hung on me when I got out.' ”

Mr. Kwiatkowski earned the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart medals for his service.

In Toledo, as a member of the Tony Wroblewski Post 18 American Legion, he met a man who would eventually become his brother-in-law.

He married Genevieve Konicki in 1953. The couple had four children.

During his life he worked for 33 years for Libbey Owens as a glass grinder. Not long before he retired, he was asked to work on a special project, grinding glass for a car-of-the-future to be on display at EPCOT Center – now Epcot – which opened in Florida in 1982. Mr. Kwiatkowski retired in 1983.

Mrs. Woods said her father was a diehard University of Toledo Rockets fan. He and his wife had season tickets for basketball and football. One year, during the 1980s, they made a pact to travel to every Mid-American Conference game.

“Whether it was via a bus trip or if he had to drive, that was one of his proudest moments. He made it to all the MAC games,” Mrs. Woods said.

Mr. Kwiatkowski was always involved with something, his children said.

Starting in 1966 he was the sergeant of the Honor Guard for the Legion's Post 18 and he led military services on Memorial Day at Calvary Cemetery.

“He was so proud of it,” Mrs. Woods said.

He also gardened, did calligraphy, and was a handyman – he'd build stands and china cabinets without being asked twice. Sometimes without even having to be being asked.

Mr. Kwiatkowski was preceeded in death by his parents, Casimier and Anna Kwiatkowski; his son, Terry; brothers Ted, Ray, and Dominic; and sisters Irene Nowak and Esther Jankowski.

Mr. Kwiatkowski is survived by his wife; his daughters, daughter-in-law Tina Duran, and seven grandchildren.

Visitations are to be today from 2 to 8 p.m. at the W.K. Sujkowski & Son Funeral Home; a Rosary reading is scheduled for 7 p.m. A second visitation is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday in Little Flower Catholic Church; a burial mass will begin at 11 a.m. with interment – with military honors – to follow at Calvary Cemetery.

The family suggests tributes to the Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky, Little Flower Catholic Church, or Central Catholic High School.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.



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