Greenfield- Henry A. Kostanski, 86, of 220 Federal Street died Friday 3/7/14 at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke. He was born in Turners Falls on August 8, 1927, the son of Walter and Jennie (Samorajski) Kostanski. He attended Highland School in Millers Falls and Turners Falls High School. When he was 17 he joined the United States Navy and served aboard the U.S.S. St. Paul CA73 which was a heavy cruiser with Admiral William “Bull” Halsey’s Third Fleet during World War II and attained the rank of seaman second class. His ship fired the last Naval Gun Salvo against the Japanese Mainland. The U.S.S. St. Paul was the heaviest “Man of War” to navigate the Wangpoo River into Shanghai, China. Henry was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Theatre of War Campaign Ribbon with one battle star, Occupation of Japan Medal, American Theatre Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. Following his honorable discharge, he returned to Turners Falls High School and graduated in 1947. He continued his education and was a graduate of the New England Institute of Anatomy, Sanitary Science and Embalming in Boston. He married the former Irene R. Czuj on July 17, 1948 in Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in Turners Falls. Henry established the Kostanski Funeral Home in Greenfield in 1951 and with his brother Walter, opened the Kostanski Funeral Home in Turners Falls in 1952. He was a registered embalmer and funeral director until his retirement in 1991. Henry was a member of the Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association serving on the Board of Directors, a member of the National Funeral Directors Association and a certified National Disaster Coordinator. Henry was a life member of the Loyal Order of the Moose and a life member of the Bishop Garrigan Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus. He was a former member of the Greenfield Lions Club, the Greenfield Lodge of Elks and the Board of Overseers at the Franklin Medical Center. Henry was a former commander of the Hale Clapp VFW Post in South Deerfield. Also he was a member of the former Coutu-Murphy VFW Post in Millers Falls. He was a member of the Polish National Alliance. He was a Greenfield Finance Committee member and a Democratic Town Committee member. Henry was a communicant of Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in Turners Falls and a communicant of the former Sacred Heart Church in Greenfield. In earlier years, he and his wife Irene loved to travel taking many trips throughout the U.S. and spending time in Vero Beach, FL. They especially enjoyed connecting with their heritage on their trip to Poland in 2001. Henry played semi-professional football for the Greenfield Lions. He loved playing cards, golfing, hunting, ice fishing and sitting on the porch enjoying his home. Henry was especially proud of serving his country and proud of all his children’s and grandchildren’s accomplishments. He especially enjoyed attending all their sporting events. Besides his beloved wife of 66 years, Irene, Henry leaves his children, Michael H. and his wife Bette Ann of Gill, Karen I. Larabee and her husband Michael of Greenfield, Jay P. and his wife Pam of Vero Beach, FL, William “Billy” R. and his wife Mary of Greenfield, five grandchildren, Michael Jon, Kyle , Brent, Matthew and Britney Gioules and her husband George, two great grandchildren, Tristian and Ty, a brother, Walter T. and his wife Virginia of Turners Falls and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Gill- Michael H. Kostanski, 65, of Mountain Road died Thursday 2/19/15 in Vero Beach, FL. He was born in Montague on May 12, 1949, the son of Henry and Irene (Czuj) Kostanski. Mike graduated from Greenfield High School Class of 1967, where he excelled in football and basketball, making All Western Mass and received a full football scholarship to the University of Massachusetts. He later enlisted in the United States Army and served two tours in Vietnam, obtaining the rank of Sergeant. He received the Bronze Star. Michael married the former Bette Anne Warren in 1972. Mike was a graduate of the New England Institute. He was President, owner and licensed funeral director of the Kostanski Funeral Home for over 25 years. He dedicated his life to serving those at their time of need. Previously, Michael was employed by Bendix Corp as a salesman. He served on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association. Mike was a member of the VFW and Turners Falls Athletic Club. Michael loved March Madness and was an avid Patriots and Red Sox fan. He enjoyed so much watching sunsets from the back deck of their home and playing cribbage with his friend, Frank. As an outdoorsman, his favorite pastimes were hunting, fishing and ice fishing with his family and taking rides observing deer. Michael loved watching his sons, grandsons and nephews sporting events. Mike and his wife loved spending time at the ocean especially in Newport. Most of all, he loved his family. An inspiration to him was a quote by Coach Jimmy Valvano “Don’t give up” – “Don’t ever give up”. As a devoted husband, son, father, grandfather, brother and uncle, Michael leaves his loving wife of 43 years, Bette Anne Kostanski, three sons, Michael Jon and Melissa of Buckland, Kyle W. and Michelle of Granby, MA, and Brent M. of Gill, his mother, Irene R. Kostanski, a sister, Karen Larabee and her husband Michael, all of Greenfield, two brothers, Jay and his wife Pam of Vero Beach, FL, and Bill and his wife Mary of Greenfield, grandchildren, Tristan, Alivia and Ty, and several nieces, nephews and cousins. He also leaves his in-laws, Ginger Hunt, Gail and Dan Gabrielli and Chip Warren. Michael was predeceased by his father Henry A. Kostanski on March 7, 2014.
Turners Falls- Walter T. Kostanski, Jr., 91, of 8 Davis Street, died Monday 6/15/2015 at home with his family by his side. He was born in Erving on December 10, 1923, the son of Walter and Jennie (Samorajski) Kostanski. He attended grade school in Millers Falls and graduated from Turners Falls High School in 1943. His education continued at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. Walter was a graduate of the New England Institute of Funeral Directing and Embalming. He served in the United States Naval Armed Guard as a Gunner’s Mate Third Class from 1943-1946. He was aboard the ESSO Rochester. His military medals included: WWII Victory Medal, American Area Campaign Ribbon, European – African Area Campaign Ribbon, Asiatic – Pacific Area Ribbon and the Phillipine Liberation Medal. Walter, in conjunction with his brother Henry, established the Kostanski Funeral Home in Greenfield (1951) and the Kostanski Funeral Home in Turners Falls (1952). Walter was a generous public servant and he worked tirelessly to improve the community at-large for the people who resided there. He was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a Republican delegate from Franklin County in 1956, serving for fourteen years. He belonged to the Natural Resources, Public Health, Public Safety and Public Service Commissions. Walter’s legacy in the Massachusetts House of Representatives brought Franklin County and Western Massachusetts a bounty of projects and initiatives. His most notable accomplishments included: Secured $17 million dollars in funding for Silvio O. Conte Fish Research Laboratory in Turners Falls, Established first boat ramp on the Connecticut River in Gill, MA, Funding for the Sunrise Terrace elderly housing complex, Set-up of Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Office in Greenfield, Legislation to establish Greenfield Community College and Franklin County Technical School, Acquired funding for the first nursing program in the Commonwealth at GCC. After serving in the legislature, he returned to Franklin County and was elected Register of Deeds. He served in that role from 1971-1995, where he fostered a sense of professionalism while providing the general public with exemplary customer service. He retired at age 72. He was a member of numerous local organizations, American Legion, Turners Falls Athletic Club, Turners Falls Elks, St. Stanislaus Society, St. Kazmierz Society, YMCA, Turners Falls High School Booster Club, Montague Civic Center Commission (Shea Theater), and the Turners Falls Rod & Gun Club. Walter spent countless hours serving as the Director of the Silvio O. Conte Scholarship Foundation. He was named an Honorary Chairman for the re-dedication of the French King Bridge. Walter was a founder of the Newt Guilbault Little League baseball program in Turners Falls; they were certainly lucky to have him as a strong advocate, fundraiser and mentor. In 2009, Walter was an integral member of the committee to bring the new Public Safety Complex to the Town of Montague. The community room in the facility was dedicated to Walter for his extraordinary contributions to the town. Sports always played an extremely important role in his life. He was most successful on the football and baseball fields where he received multiple honors including “Most Valuable Football Player in Western Massachusetts” as voted by the Interscholastic Sports Writers Association. Walter’s storied baseball career included his favorite highlight – being the ace pitcher for the undefeated state championship Turners Falls High School baseball team, where the team mounted a 5-4 win against Arlington High School at Fenway Park. Family and friends loved hearing him talk about this game and Walter celebrated each anniversary of this win with extreme pride and joy. In 1942 he tried out for the Chicago Cubs, and in 1946 he tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers. His other passions included fishing, ice fishing and celebrating his Polish heritage. Every Sunday for years, he and the family would load up to ice fish out on Leverett Pond. It was here that he taught everyone how to bait a hook, set a tip-up, catch the fish and of course tell the accompanying story. Walter valued the outdoors and wanted to share it as much as he could. He was an avid Red Sox fan, watching every game possible. The TV or radio was always on because he had to know the score and all of the game details. It was a ritual every Sunday throughout the fall and winter that Walter watch his beloved New England Patriots. He could usually be found gathered with a group waiting to celebrate the next touchdown. The next day, he would have to analyze the game statistics in his favorite newspaper, the Boston Herald. Above all, his family was of the utmost importance. Walter married Virginia Geraghty in 1947 and they enjoyed 68 years together. Besides his wife, Walter leaves his four children, Barry and his wife Patty of Turners Falls, Richard and his wife Amy-Jo of South Deerfield, Marilyn, and her partner Monica Bartolucci of Millers Falls, and Mary and her husband Dan Brost of Tucson, Arizona. Walter leaves five grandchildren, Jennifer Davenport and her husband Clayton, Katharine Tiedemann and her husband Craig, Joshua Fuller, Nicholas Martin and Elizabeth Geraghty Brost. “Grampa Kachoo” also thoroughly enjoyed his time with his three great-grandchildren, Lindsay Davenport, Caitlyn Davenport and Emma Tiedemann. Walter was predeceased by his brother, Henry A. Kostanski on March 7, 2014.