Leo John Kowalski III
September 8, 1950 - April 2, 2014
Leo John Kowalski III passed away on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 1:15 AM after having been diagnosed with cancer on February 14, 2014. While his battle was short, he fought with stoic courage and grace until he peacefully passed away surrounded by those he loved most.
Leo was born on September 8, 1950 in Columbus, Nebraska to Leo John Kowalski II and Marcella Marie Kowalski. He was raised in a devout Catholic family as one of seven children. Leo has lived in Salem since he was eight years old and attended St. Joseph's Catholic School, South Salem High School, and graduated from Oregon State University in 1972.
Leo loved the outdoors; he was a true sportsman and enjoyed hunting, fishing, golf, crabbing and firewood. His passion was to be on the water with a fishing rod in hand luring in wily salmon during a beautiful late summer day at the coast. He also loved whiskey, chainsaws, boats and fireworks. During his college years he fished summers in the wild Alaskan waters. He owned Leo's Landing Fish Market in Salem where one could also buy the world famous Kowalski Polish Sausage.
In the mid 1980's Leo became a successful life insurance agent for Standard Insurance Company and was named Oregon Life Underwriters Agent of the Year several times. His prowess and consummate understanding of insurance and advanced planning techniques propelled him to a position of leadership as the long time owner of the Cascade Pacific Financial Group.
Leo was also an integral part of the Catholic community in Salem. His faith was strong, unwavering, and admired by many. It carried him through struggles and tremendous successes.
Leo married Diane McLaughlin in 1972 and together they raised their three children in Salem. Leo married Mary Paulette Kowalski in 2005. Leo and Mary spent their time between Pacific City and Salem. They enjoyed fishing, walking their dogs, and the presence of their grandchildren.
Leo is survived by his wife, Mary Kowalski; three children, Leo John Kowalski IV, Kristine Ann Cox, and Lesleigh Ann Kowalski Frank; four grandchildren, Carter James Cox, Calvin Corbin Cox, Paige Ann Kowalski, Waverley Marcella Frank; three brothers, Michael Leo Kowalski, Donald Louis Kowalski, and Richard William Kowalski; three sisters, Carol Ann Biagianti, Marcella Ann Davis, and Patricia Ann Ledford; and fourteen nieces and nephews.
Recitation of the Rosary will be at 7:00 PM on Thursday, April 10 at Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service. Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for 11:00 AM on Friday, April 11 at Queen of Peace Catholic Church followed by a luncheon. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Leo's name to Queen of Peace Catholic Church.
Arrangements are by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.