Zdzislaw John Krakowiak of Warminster, PA passed away peacefully on
To send flowers in memory of Z. John Krakowiak, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
Sunday, September 1, 2019 at Ann’s Choice, Warminster, PA. He was 94.
John was born June 29, 1925 in Belchatow, Poland to the late Józef and
Pelagia (Knul) Krakowiak. He will be sadly missed by his beloved and
devoted wife of 65 years Jane (Miczenski), son John (Cynthia), daughter
Arlene (Andrew) Cymerman, grandchildren Teresa (Gary) Roach, Joseph
(Catherine) Cymerman, Mary (Michael) King, Monica (Benjamin) Kostenbader,
Anna (Brian Ashleson) Krakowiak, Michael Cymerman, Rose (Joshua) Wood,
and 3 great grandsons Abram Kostenbader, Elliott King, and Luke Cymerman.
He was preceded in death by newborn brother Józef Krakowiak and sister
John grew up in Belchatow, Poland attending the local elementary school
until 7 th grade when schools were closed due to the Nazi German invasion on
September 1, 1939. He worked with his father making harnesses and
saddles to support the family. In January 1943 he was conscripted to the
German Post Office as a mail carrier. During this time, he became a member
of the resistance group Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK). His alias was
“Kruk” (Raven). John was among a group of Belchatow AK members arrested
on May 22, 1944. He was sentenced to slave labor and sent to the
Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria.
May 5, 1945 is the date John considered his “second birth” when the U.S. 3rd
Army under General George Patton liberated Mauthausen. He joined a U.S.
Civil Guard Company and served in Kulmbach, Bavaria until Christmas 1946.
Through German civilians who befriended him he was hired by a Mercedes-
Benz agency where he apprenticed and received his diploma as an auto
mechanic at the end of 1949.
On March 11, 1950 John arrived in the United States via Ellis Island under the
sponsorship of a Philadelphia couple. After living in the Port Richmond area
of Philadelphia he found his soul mate and married Jane on September 27,
1953 at St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church.
The newlyweds first settled in Mayfair (St. Timothy’s Parish) and then moved
in February 1970 to Rhawnhurst (Resurrection of Our Lord Parish).
Working for himself was fulfilled in 1956 when he opened JK Auto Repair on
Tilton Street in Philadelphia and then moving to Pratt Street in 1961. In 1974
John sold the shop and continued to work as an auto mechanic at Frank’s
Servicenter in Southampton, PA until his retirement in 1987.
Still keeping his hand in fixing cars, John restored a 1967 Camaro R/S S/S
Convertible in much need of repair. He completely disassembled the car, not
a nut or bolt left in place but a bare shell. After 8 years, the Camaro was
ready to show off her beauty at several car shows with the Vintage Chevrolet
Club of America, NJ Region and even the Southampton Days Parade.
In August 1969, John took Jane, John and Arlene to visit Poland and to meet
family and friends he had to leave behind because of the war. He and Jane
returned 9 more times to Poland. They enjoyed wonderful trips together
especially their trip to Italy which was highlighted with an audience with
Pope John Paul II.
In September 1993, the Polish Government honored John with the Auschwitz
Medal and the Partisan Medal recognizing what the Polish Home Army AK had
done to make Poland free, not only of German occupation, but also of
communism. He felt it also honored his friends who lost their young lives in
the fight for freedom and political independence for Poland. In 2012, John
received the Belchatow AK Medal of Honor in recognition of his distinguished
dedication to the traditions and values of the Polish Home Army.
In July 2006, John and Jane moved to Ann’s Choice in Warminster, PA and
became members of Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Warminster, PA. John was
a member of the AC Garden Club and enjoyed growing tomatoes, porzeczki
(currents), and flowers in his plot in the rear of the community.
John will be remembered for his tremendous work ethic, working on cars,
ability to fix anything, or doing home improvement projects but most
importantly for his deep love of God, family, and country.
Family visitation and viewing will be held at Decker Funeral Home, 216 York
Road, Warminster, PA 18974 on Friday, September 13 from 6-8 pm and on
Saturday, September 14 from 10-11:30 am. A Mass of Christian Burial will be
celebrated at the Cemetery Chapel at Our Lady of Czestochowa Shrine, 654
Ferry Road, Doylestown, PA 18901 on Saturday, September 14 at 1:00 pm.
John will be laid to rest at Our Lady of Czestochowa Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in John’s memory to the Ann’s
Choice Benevolent Care Fund would be greatly appreciated. Checks can be
sent to 20000 Ann’s Choice Way, Warminster, PA 18974 Attention: Philanthropy.