Chester "Chet" Felix Bukowski, of Vernon and Silverdale, Washington, and formerly of New Britain, passed away Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, at Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton, Washington. He was the loving husband of the late D. Elizabeth "Betty" (Bohn) Bukowski (died 1999).
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Chet was born in New Britain on Feb. 3, 1931, to his late parents Chester John Bukowski (died 1955) and Anne (Sokolski) Bukowski (died 1998). He was educated in local New Britain schools. As a youth, he was fond of hiking and camping, and was an Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow member in the Boy Scouts of America. He saw military duty during the Korean War and was commended as a member of the U.S. Navy's Submarine Service. Honorably discharged in 1952, he was a Connecticut Post 0062 member of the American Legion. Chet graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1958 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, and subsequently held positions with Electric Boat, Mc Donnell Douglas Aircraft, and the Corporate Systems Center for the Hamilton Standard Division of United Technologies Corporation. He often stated that he was fortunate in having varied and interesting work projects that included assignments in nuclear submarines, guided missiles, high-speed turbo powered trains, automatic cartographic scanning and digitizing equipment, as well as aircraft "black box" accident recording and diagnostic systems. In 1986, he was presented with a UTC award for "extraordinary management effectiveness."
Throughout his career he traveled frequently and extensively through Europe, the Near East, the Far East, the Orient, Africa, and North and South America. He was pleased with the opportunities travel provided him in gaining insight and exposure to many people and diverse cultures, while reinforcing his appreciation in being an American. During his travels he developed many longtime friendships with foreign airline colleagues with whom he continued to correspond after his retirement from Hamilton Standard in 1991. Chet and Betty were high school sweethearts. They married on May 5, 1951, at Holy Cross Church in New Britain and celebrated 48 happy years together. After many moves that included a short stay in California, they settled in Vernon in 1961. They raised three daughters, became communicants of the Church of St. Luke in Ellington, and were active participants in local sports/social organizations. He had a ready wit, enjoyed humor, and could get others to laugh. His addictions and passions included pipe smoking, historical novels and documentaries, bird watching, golf, making and posting lists, creative repair using electrical and duct tape, as well as a special love and pride in his daughters, his family and their traditions.
Chester is survived by his three daughters and their spouses, Deborah and Daniel Fenton of Preston, Sally-Anne Baker and Randy Metcalfe of Vernon, and Pamela and Timothy Klapproth of Ellington. He was "The DJAJ" to three grandchildren who also survive, Shawn D. Baker and wife, Niki Kjellquist, of Wethersfield, Jodi Baker and husband, Barry Hodowanic, of New Bern, North Carolina, Danielle Fenton and husband, Keith Aspinwall, of Preston; great-grandson Bradley Aiden Fenton; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and valued friends. He was predeceased by his only sister, Eleanor "Mitzi" Michalek (died 2000); and his longtime friend and "brother" E.S. "Mike" Michalek (died 2008) of Forestville and Bristol. The Bukowski and Michalek families spent many happy years vacationing and traveling together. Chester's passing also is mourned by his special and significant friend Sylvia Byron of Silverdale, who provided joy, love, and warm companionship during his life's later years. They met on a Panama Canal cruise in 2001 and subsequently traveled extensively, and alternately lived in Vernon and Silverdale for over a decade.
His funeral service will be held Saturday, Aug. 16, at 9 a.m. at Burritt Hill Funeral Home, 332 Burritt St., New Britain, followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 10 a.m. at Holy Cross Church, New Britain. He will be laid to rest beside his wife in Sacred Heart Cemetery, New Britain.
Relatives and friends are invited to call Friday evening, Aug. 15, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Burritt Hill.
Memorial donations may be made to the Indian Valley YMCA, 11 Pinney St., Ellington CT, 06029.
To share a memory with his family, please visit us at
Burritt Hill Funeral Home
332 Burritt Street New Britain, CT 06053-3613
Published in Journal Inquirer from Aug. 13 to Aug. 17, 2014