HOLYOKE - Joseph "Joe" Czeropowicz, 94, a resident of the Holyoke Soldier's Home, passed away Thursday, May 16, 2013, with his step-daughter and caretaker Michelle and her husband Jim Finley by his side.
Joe was born Aug. 26, 1918, in Northampton, a son of the late Mary (Cysz) and Wladyslaw Czerapowicz.
He was educated in Northampton schools, while working his family's farm.
Upon graduation he entered the Army. He was a veteran of World War II serving in the 7th Field Artillery in the European theater. During his eight years of service he received numerous medals and commendations while reaching the rank of first lieutenant. After discharge he continued to be active in the 7th Field Artillery Association where he received the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.
A man of many talents, Joe worked in several professions including knitter for the Northampton Hosiery, service station owner and lobster broker. He was a decorated police officer for the city of Medford and a longtime security officer for the V.A. Medical Center in Leeds, from which he retired in 1983.
He was a founding member of the Young at Heart Chorus, his specialty being their Elvis impersonator. In his 1970s and 1980s, Joe was active in the St. John's Episcopal Church and spent many hours collecting, preparing and delivering flowers to sick parishioners. His hobbies were watching the Red Sox, the Patriots and golf (especially when Tiger Woods was in the field), and completing crossword puzzles.
Joe is survived by his brother Myron of New York; his sisters Eva Pope and Carol Czerapowicz, both of Northampton; his daughter Sally DeFilippo of New Hampshire; three step-children; several nieces and nephews; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; along with extended family.
Four months prior to his death, Joe lost his dear wife Rose Griffin to cancer which affected him deeply. He was also predeceased by his previous wife Avis, his brothers Stephen, Chester and Edward, his sister Helen Pressler and his beloved son Joseph "Jay" of Wayland.
Joe's family wishes to sincerely thank the staff at the Holyoke Soldier's Home for the tremendous care and respect shown to him. They truly live their motto "Care with Honor and Dignity." The family would also like to say thank you to the Center for Extended Care in Amherst.
To all who knew him, Joe was the embodiment of patience, gentleness and kind-heartedness. He always put others' needs before his own and treated everyone with respect. Ever the gentleman, who never wanted a "fuss" made over him, Joe has requested there be no services. He has generously donated his body to Tufts Medical School.
Those wishing, may make a contribution in Joe's memory to The Friends of the Soldier's Home in Holyoke, 110 Cherry St., Holyoke, MA 01040.
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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on May 22, 2013