Raymond "Speed" Hmieleski, 93, of 25 Keegan Lane, died early Monday morning, December 21, 2020 at Charlene Manor Nursing Home as a result of complications due to COVID-19.
Ray was born on September 27, 1927, the seventh of eight children born to Ignaty and Anna (Ziejka) Hmieleski of Turners Falls. He attended local schools and was a proud graduate of Turners Falls High School, Class of 1945 where he played on the football, basketball and baseball teams.
Ray honorably served his country with the United States Navy during World War II. He turned down an offer to attend the U.S. Naval Academy to return home and marry his sweetheart, Marion Godzinski of Greenfield. The couple enjoyed 61 years of marriage prior to Marion's death on December 4, 2009. They were among the first residents of the Hillcrest Homes Veterans Housing in Turners Falls and lived there for more than 40 years where they built life-long friendships. .
Ray was employed by The Town of Montague, Millers Falls Tool Company, and the University of Massachusetts during his long career that lasted into his 70s. He stayed physically active in his younger years by playing in local bowling and golf leagues.
Ray believed in doing the right thing, especially when it came to family. He was always the first to lend a helping hand, including the construction of his in-law's home in Deerfield and he could be counted on to pitch in to assist various family members through the years. He was the original Chip and Joanna Gaines of our family - the original "Fixer Upper".
Ray and Marion were able to travel, often visiting family members in Oklahoma and Colorado. They especially enjoyed a bus trip to Canada that included watching major league baseball games in both Toronto and Montreal, as well as another bus trip to Washington DC.
A devout Catholic, Ray was a life-long communicant of Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in Turners Falls.
In addition to his mastery of crossword puzzles and the enjoyment of a good book (mysteries and military novels), Ray was a dedicated New England sports fan and an avid local sports enthusiast, frequently seen at local high school and league games as well as at UMASS. Ray's local favorites were haddock from Pete's Seafood and pizza from Village Pizza and Turners Falls Pizza House.
Survivors include his son, Michael (Donna) of Crafton, Pennsylvania and his loving daughter Susan Perry (Wid) of Greenfield who was Ray's primary caregiver in recent years; five grandchildren -Christi Young (Alan), Shelly Allenby (Justin), Tessa Perry and Josh (Brittany) Hmieleski and Heather Hmieleski, five great grandchildren - Kayli, Riley, Connor, Landon and Lucas, and several nieces and nephews.
Services will be private.
Memorial contributions may be made to Life Path Meals on Wheels, 101 Munson Street, #201, Greenfield MA 01301. The family is most grateful to those essential health care professionals who gave comfort to Ray during his final days.
Ray's final days were difficult. Those who loved him ask everybody to wear masks and practice social distancing protocols so others and their families can be spared similar hardships.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Kostanski Funeral Home. For condolences, please visit www.kostanskifuneralhome.com.
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