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John Paul Kosinsky, born October 5th, 1941 and died April 6, 2022 with his beloved daughter by his side and best friend, Les Deanzer, nearby at Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Known as John, Jack, Jackie, and Mr. K – to the many friends and family who knew him best, but his favorite title was Dad.
Preceded in death by his father, John Paul Kosinsky; mother, Susan Roncek Kosinsky; brother-in-law, William Decken.
He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Barbara (Timm); son, James “Jim” Kosinsky (Amy); daughter, Bethany Fraser (David Pomerance); his four beautiful grandchildren, Crystal, Devin, Jonathan and Kellen; who loved “G-Pa”’s jokes, creativity, wood crafts, and boat rides. Always an educator, Grandpa always planned “field trips” to museums, musicals, the circus and historical landmarks when the grandkids were in town. John is also survived by his sister, Joyce Decken; sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, a host of nieces and nephews and dear forever friends.
Growing up on Colden Avenue in the Bronx, Jack was a New Yorker to the core. An avid Yankees fan since he was a young boy, he grew up going to the Yankee’s Stadium often and he was a permanent fixture by his dad’s side, who was a New York City Police Officer and worked on the stadium security team. He often talked of the good old days, loved his oldies but goodies music and of course, Billy Joel. He attended elementary school at Our Savior Lutheran and Christopher Columbus High School, both in the Bronx, followed by Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, Illinois, (now known as Concordia University) where he got his Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education and met his sweet, beautiful, calm and smart future bride. After graduating in 1963, he answered the call to serve as a Lutheran school teacher and later princiPAL – which he liked to say was a “Pal for all” when teaching kids the difference between principles and principals. His teaching took him and the family from Western New York (Niagara Falls and West Seneca) to Naperville, Illinois, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Ft. Smith, Arkansas where he finally retired after 42 years of teaching.
What we know for sure and what brings us so much joy during this time are the many students, teachers, pastors, families and congregations over the decades who all were still very much a part of him, especially because he finally figured out how to use “the Facebook”! He delighted in telling stories of all the kids he taught along the way and found joy in writing his annual Christmas cards to keep in touch with so many friends and families accumulated over the years. Some even received his handmade woodcraft gifts too. He lit up in memories of the past as he always took great pleasure in teaching and prided himself on the opportunity to instill strong Christian values and be a source of inspiration for all of “his” kids, even commenting from time to time of the “knuckleheads” that held an extra special place in his heart (you know who you are) – because deep down, at the start of it all he was just a silly knucklehead too. We knew long ago we had to share dad, mom had to share her husband, and we remain proud of his service and counsel to countless people he met along the way. We saw his inner educator come out when he’d encourage his grandkids through the woes of middle school and was always so proud of their achievements.
Moving far away from his Bronx roots and the rush of life, the Kosinsky’s retired in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia in 2005 and enjoyed the quiet serenity of “Lake Life'' near their best friends. Our memories of family gatherings at the lake include the grandkids engaged in arts and crafts in Grandpa’s workshop, watching him and his bestie plot what they would build together next while outwitting each other, his Dale Earnhardt driving on country roads and his inability to actually “retire” because he couldn’t sit still. To that end, he took pride in his time spent and new friends found while working part time at the Woodcraft store in Roanoke, one of the nation’s oldest and largest suppliers of quality woodworking tools and supplies. This way he could spend gobs of money on every kind of wood and tool imaginable, assuring Barb it was at a discount (!!) to feed his creativity and fidgety nature and give him a good reason to fill his free time with all his many projects completed in his happy place - his workshop. He was so proud to welcome visitors to the house where he could share a glimpse of his beautiful retirement.
When he’d emerge from the workshop, or wasn’t at Woodcraft, he spent retired life on the lake with Barb and their friends trying to fish, drinking beers, attending game night, touring the Blue Ridge Mountains, going to Salem Red Sox (yuk!) games and relaxing at local vineyards. Soon after arriving on the lake, they joined Trinity Ecumenical Parish and volunteered at the Lake Christian Ministries to assist with clothing donations, provide food assistance and help with other services that helped accomplish the vision of a poverty-free Smith Mountain Lake community where each individual is valued, is connected, and lives in hope.
Memorial donations can be sent to Lake Christian Ministries, P.O. Box 695, Moneta, VA 24121 or submitted online through the organization's website, www.lakechristianministries.org.
Family members will be notified of the memorial donation.