Florian Joseph KosmatkaFlorian Joseph Kosmatka, 92, Grand Forks, ND, beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, and friend to many passed away at Woodside Village, Grand Forks, ND on December 26th, 2009.
Florian Joseph Kosmatka
Florian Joseph Kosmatka, 92, Grand Forks, ND, beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, and friend to many passed away at Woodside Village, Grand Forks, ND on December 26th, 2009.
Florian was one of 13 children. He was born April 16, 1917, on the family farm of his father Joseph Kosmatka and mother Mary (Daucsavage) Kosmatka in Polaski Township Northeastern, ND, near Warsaw, ND and Oslo, MN. He attended the convent school of St. Stanilaus Parish in Warsaw, ND. At the time, the school taught primarily Polish but also English for the surrounding largely Polish speaking community. His schooling was interrupted due to the demands of the farm. Florian enlisted in the army at the age of 25 in early 1942. Following training at Ft. Lewis in Washington State, he was assigned to the 133rd Combat Engineering battalion. The 133rd and 120th CEB were then assigned to the 40th Combat Engineering Regiment and the Regiment and the Battalions were assigned to the 45th Infantry Division. Florian was a member of the 3rd Battalion, I Company. After going through training, he was sent overseas in June 1943. He was in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Germany and Austria. One of Florian's duties during WWII was to operate a bulldozer to clear German pill boxes that blocked the roads. He was also assigned to a motorcycle and served as a messenger, dodging sniper bullets while making his runs between units. On one messenger run, he was injured by friendly artillery fire. He was unconscious for several days while hospitalized, but later returned to his unit. He recalled getting profuse apologies from a 1st Lt who picked him up from the field hospital to take him back to his unit. Like many soldiers of his time, documentation of injuries, especially from friendly fire, was often missing. During one leave period before the campaign through Southern France, he and a few members of his unit were able to go to Rome and St. Peters. While there, he was able to see Pope Pius XII at the Vatican. Among other duties with the regiment, he helped build bridges and worked in the motor pool. Florian was honorably discharged from active service on October 29, 1945. After the war in 1945, he went back to the family farm to work. He played in a band (piano, accordion, violin---all by ear). When he was 17, Lawrence Welk asked him to join his band. Due to demands of the family, he could not accept the offer. He worked in a variety of jobs including the railroad, International Harvester, McMenamy's, and Whitey's Café. He later worked as a heavy equipment mechanic and a welder at the North Dakota State Highway Department for 34 years. His hobbies included carpentry, restoring vintage cars, playing cards, bowling, making jewelry, playing bingo and watching All-Star Wrestling. He enjoyed all his friends and has many friends of all ages. His favorite meal was breakfast, and he would join friends and family at Darcy's Café years, both before and after retirement. Florian was a devoted member of St. Michael's Parish for many years, often attending mass daily. He also took care of the Devotion Candles at St. Michael's Parish. He had a real sense of humor and could make people laugh. He also was very caring to his friends and will be truly missed.
Florian is survived by his sons, Robert (Bob) of Tempe, Arizona, Daniel (Danny) and his daughters Lorraine (Lori) Jensen (Ben) of Grand Forks and Kathleen (Kathy) Ward (Jim) of Bothell, WA. Sister, Marian Bancroft (Dallas) of Lakeland, Florida, brother John Kosmatka (Madeline) of Medford, Oregon. In addition there are 3 grandchildren, Eric and Chad Jensen of Grand Forks and Bristol (Ward) Clarkson (Dustin) of Kenmore, WA. Also, Florian has 2 great-grandchildren--Meadow and Logan Clarkson of Kenmore, WA and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Mary Kosmatka, wife Lorraine (Wraa) Kosmatka, five brothers--Charlie, Barney, Ray, Dick, Ambrose, four half-brothers--Michael, Frank, John, Joseph, Jr. and sisters--Frances, Reggie, Adeline, Bernice, Dickie and half-sister, Isabel. He also will be greatly missed by his little dog, Princess, who he loved very much.
Mass of Christian Burial: 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 30, 2009 in St. Michael's Catholic Church, 520 North 6th Street, Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Visitation: 5:00 to 6:30 with a 6:30 p.m. Prayer Service and a 7:00 p.m. Rosary on Tuesday, December 29, 2009 in Stennes Funeral Home, 2029 Central Ave. NW, East Grand Forks, MN.
Memorials may be sent to St. Michael's Church at: 520 North 6th Street, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58203.
Interment: Calvary Cemetery, Grand Forks, North Dakota in the Spring.
Online Guestbook: www.stennesfuneralhome.com
Arrangements by Stennes Funeral Home, East Grand Forks, Minnesota