HADLEY - John J. Pipczynski, 74, died Thursday, April 25, 2013, at Cooley Dickinson Hospital after a courageous battle against Parkinson's disease.
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He was born in October, 1938, in Manhassett, N.Y., to Adolph and Mary (Koncick) Pipczynski. In 1942, they moved to North Hadley.
John graduated from Hopkins Academy in 1956. As a sophomore, he made the Hopkins' basketball team, and for the next three years was a member of the team that went on to win three straight Hampshire League Championships with a winning streak of 42 consecutive wins to set a Western Mass. record. John was the first Hopkins player to score over 1,000 points.
John attended the University of Connecticut and was a forward for the UConn Huskies from 1957 to 1960. He was a two-time All-Yankee Conference First Team selection during two seasons and a member of the UConn Basketball All Century Ballot. In an interview posted on UCONNHoopLegends.com, he was quoted as saying, "(Basketball) sort of gave me the inclination that if you work hard at something you can succeed." John graduated from UConn in 1960 with a degree in accounting.
After graduation, John worked in accounting, first for Mass Mutual in Springfield, and then for Montgomery Ward in New Jersey. Also during this time, he spent six months of active duty in the National Guard and remained in the reserves for five-and-a-half years.
Upon returning to North Hadley in 1965, with his wife Patty, whom he had married in June of 1962, he became head basketball coach, teacher and athletic director at his alma mater, Hopkins Academy. In 1972, John earned a master's degree in administration from Western New England College and certification to become a principal. He had a successful career as a high school principal at Hopkins Academy for 16 years, and then at North Brookfield High School until he retired in October of 2000.
Throughout his life, John remained close to his roots and raised tobacco and asparagus. Whenever possible, he and Patty loved to retreat to their house in Harwich, or Hutchinson Island, Fla. His greatest passion, in his later years, was his grandchildren and supporting them in all their endeavors.
John will be deeply missed by his wife of 50 years, Patricia (Kusek) Pipczynski; his son, Jim, and wife Christine, and their sons Matthew, Gregory and John of Hadley; and his daughter Jill (Pipczynski) Ninteau, her husband Steve and their children Kacy and Tucker of Orange. John is survived by nine siblings and their families, his brothers, Adolph Pipczynski and his wife Clara of Hadley, Joseph Pipczynski and his companion Patricia Cotton of Westhampton, Anthony Pipczynski and his wife Debbie of Canton, Conn., Francis Pipczynski and his companion Janet Winter of Clifton Park, N.Y., sisters June Suleski Waido and her husband Richard of Woodstock, Conn., Bernadette Wyman and her husband Warren of Greenfield, Martha Boisvert and her husband John of Hadley, Yadja Bacher and her husband Robert of Fort Collins, Colo., Benjie Tessier and her husband John of Lyndonville, Vt., as well as many nieces, nephews, extended family members and friends.
Visiting hours will be held Sunday, April 28, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Czelusniak Funeral Home of Northampton, 173 North St., Northampton.
The funeral service will be held Monday, April 29, at 9 a.m. at Czelusniak Funeral Home of Northampton followed by a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated at 10 a.m. at Most Holy Redeemer, Route 9, Hadley.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the John Pipczynski Scholarship Fund, 157 River Drive, Hadley, MA 01035 or the Dakin Pioneer Valley Animal Shelter, 163 Montague Road, Leverett, MA 01054.
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Czelusniak Funeral Home
173 North Street Northampton, MA 01060
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Apr. 27, 2013