WEST HATFIELD – Alphonse J. "Al" "Ajax" Jackowski, 94, of Linseed Road, West Hatfield, passed away peacefully Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, after a brief illness.
Al was born April 21, 1920, in the family home on Chestnut Street, Hatfield. He was the son of the late John and Antonina (Rogalewski) Jackowski. He was a lifelong resident of Hatfield, educated in local schools and graduated from Smith Academy.
He began active duty with the U.S. Army in 1943, serving with the 367th Combat Engineers Battalion. The 367th was involved in the campaigns in Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, Rhineland, and the Central European Theatre of Combat. Al received the European African Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon with five battle stars, the World War II Victory Medal, and the American Campaign Medal. Among the ranks and positions he held were, chief warrant officer, master gunner, and second lieutenant reconnaissance officer and combat engineer unit commander. He was honorably discharged, returning home in January of 1946.
Taking advantage of the G.I. Bill, he furthered his education, graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics.
He married Genevieve Kot in 1946 and after living briefly in Holyoke, they settled back in Hatfield, with their growing family.
Al began his career teaching in Orange, for the local high school, then later at Springfield Technical High School for 13 years. He also taught summers at Holy Cross College in Worcester. Ajax, as he was known by students and colleagues, finished his teaching career as a professor of mathematics at Westfield State College, where he was hired to start and develop the mathematics department and major. Ajax taught at Westfield for 26 years, retiring in 1990. He authored and published a mathematics textbook in the early 1970's and was a Fellow in mathematics at the University of Massachusetts and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Al had a passion for teaching and could be found helping students whenever he could.
He was a devoted communicant of the former Holy Trinity Church in Hatfield, and was a member of the choir for many years. Al was a member of the Hatfield American Legion Post 344 for over 50 years. He was an avid outdoors man and had many interests and hobbies. He enjoyed fishing, canoeing, hunting, hiking, and gardening. Al was also an amateur "ham" radio operator and had contacted people in over 150 countries. He was also involved for many years with Hatfield Boy Scout Troop 104 as an assistant scoutmaster.
His beloved wife Genevieve V. Jackowski passed away in 2009. Al was predeceased by his siblings Vaga Kugler, Antonina Neilson, John Jackowski, Maryanne Doktor and Veronica Jackowski.
He leaves his children James and his wife Karen of Hatfield, John and his wife Laurie of West Springfield, and Janice D'Addamio and her husband John of Longbranch, Wash., his three beloved grandchildren, Kristen, Ashley and Allison, and many nieces and nephews.
Calling hours at the Czelusniak Funeral Home of Northampton will be Monday from 4 to 7 p.m. Funeral service will be Tuesday at 9 a.m. from the Czelusniak Funeral Home with a Liturgy of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Grace Parish (Holy Trinity location) on Main Street in Hatfield. Burial with military honors will follow in Calvary Cemetery in Hatfield.
Donations in Al's memory may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
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Czelusniak Funeral Home
173 North Street
Northampton, MA 01060
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on May 9, 2014