RED LION Henry "Hank" Kowalczyk, 82, passed peacefully into the arms of the Lord on Thursday, May 1, 2014, at Misericor-dia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, York. Hank was a cherished family man, U.S. Army veteran, police officer, and business executive. Blessed with the "gift of gab," a larger-than-life personality, infectious charm, unmatched wit, and a story for all occasions, Hank was a consummate source of joy and love to all those around him and he lived to serve others before himself. He will continue to live on in the hearts, minds, words, and deeds of his loved ones. Born the fourth son of Polish immigrants, Jan and Rose Kowalczyk in Philadelphia, on September 20, 1931, Hank learned early the value of integrity and hard work. He enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 17 in 1948, completing a tour of duty in Berlin, Germany, at the height of the Berlin Airlift. Upon returning, he met and married the love of his life, Catherine Schneider, and joined the Philadelphia Police Department, rising to the position of Detective-Sergeant Homicide under legendary Commissioner Frank Rizzo. Hank retired from the force in 1972 after 15 years of decorated service and moved his wife and six children to Mechanicsburg, after accepting the position of Vice President of Security for Rite Aid Corporation. Following 10 successful years working with mutual respect and admiration under president Lew Lehrman, and helping to grow Rite Aid into one of the largest drug store chains in America, Hank left the company to pursue other interests, including working for the conservative political action committee, and Citizens for America, supporting Ronald Reagan and the GOP. Hank is survived by his devoted wife of 58 years, Catherine, and their six children, Mike (Lisa) Kowalczyk of Laguna Hills, Calif., Steve (Francine) Kowalczyk of Roebling, N.J., Bernadette Kowalczyk of New Cumberland, Joe (JoAnn) Kowalczyk of Lewisberry, Mary (Jack) Elliott of York, and John (Kelly) Kowalczyk of Yorktown, Va. Also surviving are 13 loving grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He is predeceased by his parents, three brothers, and four sisters. A memorial mass in Hank's honor will be held on Saturday, May 24, 2014, at 10:05 a.m. at St. John Cantius Parish, 4415 Almond St., Philadelphia, PA 19137.
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Published in York Daily Record & York Dispatch on May 18, 2014