Joseph Chrzanowski, 91, spent his early years in Chicago before moving to the country and farming in Roselawn, Ind.
As a member of the Greatest Generation, Chrzanowski honorably served his country as a combat infantryman in the U.S. Army during WWII, serving in the Pacific under General Douglas MacArthur. He participated in the Battle of Leyete Island and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received on Leyete Island in November 1944. He also received a Philippine Liberation Ribbon and a Bronze Star for Good Conduct.
Chrzanowski spent about three decades working at Hammond Valve Corp. in Hammond, which was where he met his wife, Lois Kemp. The couple married in 1954 and relocated to Lansing, where his daughter, Donna Bashore, of Valparaiso, said he was loved by his neighbors. “If anyone in the neighborhood needed help, he would help them out,” she said.
After his retirement from Hammond Valve Corp., Chrzanowski worked as a bagger at Strack and Van Til.
“He was honest and true and just the best dad in the whole world,” Bashore said. “He always, always played with us. We were very close. If he was painting the house, he would show us how. He would play baseball with us. He would work 10 hours a day and come to the Lan-Oak Pool and jump in with us for 15 minutes. He was very involved with his children.” Chrzanowski also had a son, Toby of Orland Park.
Among his hobbies were reading Westerns and science fiction, including "Star Trek." “He liked to water ski back in his day,” Bashore said. She said he also liked to swim and bike and they enjoyed yearly family vacations as they were growing up. Some memorable vacations including camping trips in Michigan and a trip to Hawaii.
Chrzanowski was a member of St. Ann Parish in Lansing.
“He was a really great father-in-law and a lot of fun,” said Dave Bashore. “I considered him a good friend. He was one of those unforgettable characters, just an average guy who tried to do what he could to help anyone.”