James Kuszewski
James Kuszewski

Obituary of James Kuszewski

James Robert Kuszewski August 10, 1936 – September 4, 2017

With great sadness, the family announce the death of James Kuszewski, at home following a short illness. His first wife Marie pre-deceased him in 2008, and he is survived by his brother, wife, three children and six grandchildren.

James Kuszewski was born in Milwaukee in 1936. He completed the family of Joseph and Anna, being a younger brother to Joseph and Rosemarie.

Mirroring Jim’s own later interest in science and technology, his father had been fascinated by electrical inventions, but the economic necessities of the late 1930s meant that he wasn’t able to develop this interest professionally. He provided for his family through the steady income of a mailman. Like many children of the Depression, Jim and his brother and sister grew up valuing hard work and with a strong sense not to take anything for granted.

Following a successful high school career, which he paid for himself with money he raised on his paper route, Jim went to Marquette University as a chemistry major. In the labs and lecture theatres Jim made some life long friends. He also met Marie Krinner, a fellow chemist, with whom he was to spend the next five decades.

Both Marie and Jim earned graduate degrees – an MS in physical chemistry for her and a PhD in organic chemistry for him. Once they had finished graduate school they married in 1962 and started work at DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware together.

Their children John, Judy and Bob were born in 1968, 1970 and 1971. In 1974 they relocated to New Jersey, where they spent 22 years.

Jim’s focus was always to provide for his family through hard work and dedication to his career. He was enormously proud of his children’s achievements. After his children had finished college, he accepted a new appointment at Firestone Building Products in Indianapolis, and he and Marie settled in Carmel, Indiana.

They started their new life with characteristic determination and gusto, joining local community groups, making new friends and becoming part of the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Around this time all three of their children married and had children. John married Diane Lilley in 1997. They settled in Maryland, now living in Damascus, and were joined by Matthew, Stephen and Rosemarie. In 2000 Judy moved to the UK, and she married Ian Welsh in Scotland in 2002. They now live in Buckinghamshire, England, with their son Cameron. Bob and Laurel Grady married in 2001, and they now live in Winchester Massachusetts with Molly and Theodore.

While in Carmel, Jim joined the Knights of Columbus, eventually achieving the rank of Fourth Degree, a highly deserved position reflecting the dedication and energy he had put into the Knights and their work.

Jim’s life took a significant and sad turn in 2008, when Marie died suddenly. Her loss was very hard to bear, but Jim’s faith and the strength he drew from that, along with the devoted support of his children, helped him come to terms with his new life.

Over time, Jim decided that he wanted a new wife, and soon met – via an online introduction – Mary Fisher, also widowed, from Cincinnati. Jim and Mary married in 2012 in a wonderfully happy ceremony held in Cincinnati with all their combined eight children and 15 grandchildren. The newlyweds embarked on a series of exciting adventures together over the next few years travelling widely, regularly to Europe and beyond, and enjoying each other’s company. They both maintained their homes and social lives and in Carmel and Cincinnati, travelling the short distance between both cities.

In 2016, all of Jim’s family gathered at his house Carmel to celebrate his 80th birthday. He took great pleasure in marking this milestone. Over the months that followed, however, his health declined, and in early 2017 he was diagnosed with cancer. As he had throughout his life, Jim found strength from his faith, and his family and friends, to help him deal with this final challenge. He bravely went through a number of courses of treatment that enabled him to spend as much time as possible with Mary, his children and grandchildren over his last few months.

Jim passed away, with Mary and his children at his side, on the evening of September 4th, in his 82nd year.

Funeral services will take place on Friday, September 8th at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church. In lieu of flowers, donations are gratefully accepted to the Marie and James Kuszewski Memorial Scholarship Fund.