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Chester "Chet" Opalka Sr.

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Opalka, Chester "Chet" Sr. AMSTERDAM, N.Y. Chester "Chet" Opalka Sr. passed away peacefully on September 3, 2010 at St. Mary's Hospital in Amsterdam after a short illness. Chet was born on January 10, 1919, the son of the late Frank and Libby Kosiba Opalka of Amsterdam. A lifelong resident of Amsterdam, Chet attended St. Stanislaus Elementary School and Amsterdam High. He was a communicant of St. Stanislaus Church in the city. He was a veteran of World War II, having served in Europe with the Second Armored Infantry Division. After returning from the war, Chet was employed for over 20 years by Mohawk Carpet Mills, now Mohasco Industries, as a master weaver. When Mohawk relocated, he was employed at SUNY-Albany Dutch Quad dormitory in the maintenance department, retiring on June 3, 1983. Chet was an avid outdoorsman who hunted and fished for many years during his youth with his brothers and friends and, in his later years, with his son and nephews. Ice fishing on the Great Sacandaga Lake was a particular treat that often brought the entire family together during the winter. Helping his wife Mary with her extensive gardens became his mission in his later years that helped bring a sometimes overwhelming bounty of fruits and vegetables to family and friends through the years. Always a quick wit, Chet until his last days would always be able to come up with an unexpected comment to make us all laugh. For that and so much more, he will be missed. In addition to his parents, Chet was predeceased by his brother, Adolph "Zach"; his sister, Mary Opalka Hincman; brothers, Clement "Chick" Opalka, John "Josh" Opalka; and infant son, David. He is survived by his devoted wife of 69 years, Mary Senk Opalka; his son, Chester J. (Karen) of Averill Park, N.Y.; a daughter, Mary (Leland) Bramer of West Charlton, N.Y.; grandchildren, Jesse Opalka of Celebration, Fla., Courtney Opalka of Charlestown, Mass., Zachary and Hannah Bramer of West Charlton, N.Y.; also surviving are his nephews, John (Patricia) Opalka of Amsterdam, Robert (Shirley) Opalka of Wells, N.Y. and a niece, Joanne (John) Sierzega of Amsterdam; and cousins. The family would like to express their deepest appreciation to Dr. Michael Sheridan for the wonderful care that he provided Chet during his life. We would particularly like to thank him for his counsel and support in Chet's final days. We would also like to thank the emergency room and ICU staff at St. Mary's Hospital who were incredibly supportive and comforting during our time of need. The funeral will be held at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at Jendrzejczak Funeral Home, 200 Church Street, Amsterdam, N.Y. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m. at St. Stanislaus Church. Interment will be in St. Stanislaus Church. Interment will be in St. Stanislaus Cemetery. The family will receive relatives and friends from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a contribution to St. Stanislaus Church, 46 Cornell Street, Amsterdam, NY 12010, to the Kiwi Foundation (An Opalka family charitable foundation which supports education and the arts worldwide), 6 Heather Ridge, Averill Park, NY 12018 or American Institute for Cancer Research, 1759 R Street N.W., Washington DC, 20009. Online condolences may be submitted at: jendrzejczakfuneral.com
Published in Albany Times Union on Sept. 5, 2010
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