One of Original "Band of Brothers" Joseph A. Lesniewski, age 91, passed away Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He was born in Erie on August 29, 1920, son of the late Joseph and Rose Ciechacki Lesniewski. Joseph attended St. Stanislaus Parochial School, where he learned to speak the Polish language fluently. After graduating from grade school, he attended Erie Technical High School, from which he graduated in 1940. Joseph spent one year in the Civilian Conservation Crops and went on to work at General Electric after completing his service in the C.C.C. He was a tool & die maker at G.E. until he volunteered for the military in 1942. His military career began with the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942. He attended school at Chanute Field, Illinois where they taught him sheet metal work for repairs on airplanes. From there he went to Detroit, Michigan to yet another school at U.S. Rubber Co. to learn the process of repairing self-sealing fuel tanks. Upon completion of this course, he was transferred to Hunter Field in Savannah, Ga. It was at this point he volunteered for the Paratroops. He received his wings after eight weeks of training and completion of his required jumps. Joseph had more training at Camp Mackall, N.C. From there he was sent to Helen's Bay, Northern Ireland, where he was interviewed by a Polish General and tested on his ability to speak Polish. Joseph was then told he was a member of the OSS. It was after this he was sent to the 101st Airborne Division; and became one of the original Band of Brothers. Joseph was invited by U.S. Senator John Kerry to accompany him at the dedication of the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. He was proud to be a part of the dedication as well as serving his country proudly. Upon his return to Erie he went back to work at G.E. for a few years, and then went to work for the U.S. Postal Service in 1946. He retired from the Postal Service in 1983. John was a member of St. Stanislaus R.C. Church, a member of American Legion Carl Neff Post #571, and the Moniuszko Club. Joseph is survived by his wife of 38 years, Phyllis Schindley Lesniewski; four daughters, Patty Elmi of Teapack, N.J., Janet Fowler (Bill), Elaine Winslow, and Jeanne Vollentine (Ken) all of Erie; two sons, Joe Lesniewski and John Lesniewski (Melissa) all of Erie; two sisters, Phyllis Kiklinski and Florence Forish both of Erie; six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother, Stanley Lesniewski; one sister, Sophie Wienczkowski, and a grandson, Jeremy G. Fowler. Friends may call at the Dusckas Funeral Home, Inc., East, 2607 Buffalo Road on Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. and are invited to attend a Prayer Service there on Saturday at 9:15 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass at St. Stanislaus R.C. Church at 10 a.m. American Legion Carl Neff post #571 will conducted a Prayer Service at the funeral home Friday evening at 7 p.m. Interment, Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery. A full military service will be conducted by American Legion Carl Neff Post #571 at the cemetery. To send condolences, visit www.dusckasfuneralhome.com.
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Dusckas Funeral Home - East Side
2607 Buffalo Road Erie, PA 16510
Published in the Erie Times-News on May 25, 2012