Chief Master Sgt. Walter J. Kolakowski, U.S. Air Force
(Ret.), 92, passed away at a local hospital on Oct. 31, 2012, with his daughter, Patty, at his side. Daddy was born on Jan. 8, 1920, in Wyandotte, Mich., to Jan and Stella Kolakowski soon after they immigrated to the U.S. from Poland.
In 1940, daddy joined the Army
Air Corp and was eventually shipped to England. While waiting in England for D-Day, daddy helped paint the white stripes on the wings of the planes to identify them as allied forces. He crossed the English Channel on a British LTS and entered France on D-Day +6. He moved all over Europe on an "appropriated" German motorcycle, never firing a shot.
Daddy was promoted to master sergeant during the war and remained at that rank until the Air Force created senior and chief. Daddy was one of the first senior master sergeants and soon after was promoted to chief. When he returned from the war he was assigned to Wright Field where he met and married my mother, Georgia, in 1946.
They had two daughters, Patty and Becky. We were assigned to Sidi Slimane in French Morocco during the Korean War
and daddy served a year in Vietnam.
Over the years we were at Pine Castle Air Force Base in Orlando, Fla., Goose Bay Air Base in Canada, Homestead Air Force Base, Fla., Misawa Air Force Base, Japan, and his final assignment was McClelland Air Force Base in Sacramento.
Daddy retired after 30 years in the Air Force and in 1970, moved the family to lovely Fort Walton Beach. After the family was settled, he bought himself a new Honda Goldwing and hit the road. He wore out several Goldwings riding all over the U.S. and Canada, months at a time, with his tent and little camp stove. He is a legacy member of the Sand Dollar Motorcycle Club here in Fort Walton Beach.
Daddy loved Michigan Football and Duke Basketball. His favorite time of year was March Madness. Unfortunately, Alzheimer's robbed him of his memory and the ability to enjoy all the things important to him.
Daddy is preceded in death by his parents; both his brothers, Paul and Frank; Georgia, his wife of 59 years; and his daughter, Becky, who left us way too soon. He is survived by his daughter, Patty, and grandson, Patrick, both of Fort Walton Beach; and sister-in-law, Millie Kolakowski, who still lives in the house where daddy was born. There are also numerous relatives in Michigan and Georgia.
I would like to thank the staff at Magnolia Manor Adult Day Care, Wellington Place Senior Living and Belvedere Commons Senior Living. They all took very good care of daddy and loved him very much. I would also like to thank the staff at Fort Walton Beach Medical for their help and kindness.
Please join us at Barrancas National Cemetery where he will rest next to mama on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, at 11:45 a.m., at Shelter B, to celebrate daddy's life with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in his name to PAWS. We have had many "pound puppies" over the years. Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at www.emeraldcoastfuneralhome.com.