Obituary of Joel A. Kazmierski
Joel Alan Kazmierski was born July 28, 1939, to Louella (Raby) and Joseph W. Kazmierski, in Plattsburgh, New York. He graduated from Ashby High School (Ashby, Massachusetts) in 1957, Fitchburg State College in 1961, The University of South Dakota in 1966, and Idaho State University in 1973, as their first candidate for Doctor of Arts in the Teaching of Biology. He taught Biology at East High School in Sioux City, Iowa for two years while Ruth was completing work for her M.A. in Botany.
In 1963 Joel was a graduate student at The University of South Dakota and Ruth was a senior. They were in three of the same classes and ended up spending a lot of time together in the Botany labs. On December 27, 1963, a lovely snowy evening in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, they were married. Joel was Jeffrey and Jennifer’s dad, Sharon’s father-in-law, Madelyn and Sophia’s grandpa, brother to Karen and Deborah, and uncle to many nieces and nephews. He was a biology professor, wood carver, wild-flower photographer, tree-planter, bird-watcher and science fiction fan. He was a quiet guy who liked to spend time in his workshop creating art. He played board games and put together jigsaw puzzles with his family. He wrote his life story and shared copies with loved ones. Friends and family were precious to Joel. We made many summertime trips to visit loved ones, and enjoyed camping with friends, including one especially memorable cross-country camping trip with the Onasch family.
Joel’s love for the natural world, nurtured first by his mother and later by a favorite professor at Fitchburg State College, was reflected in every area of his life. He enjoyed leading his students on field trips around the area. Always a teacher, he loved finding things to share with whoever was around him - wild strawberries, ripe mulberries, wild leeks, tiny flowers and mushrooms. He would pick berries from trees he passed by in neighborhoods or in the woods and hand them to you for a snack. He planted every tree, fern and wildflower in our yard at 20 Prospect Street in Delhi. He wrote a lab manual for his Botany classes, which came to the attention of a publisher who encouraged him to make it more widely available. Exercises for the Botany Laboratory is now in its second edition. In retirement he spent many hours in his shop creating lovely art out of wood gathered wherever we went. Every piece he created was accompanied by a card describing the wood and the tree(s) from which it came.
Soon after we moved to Delhi, we became members of what became, in 1976, The United Ministry of Delhi. Joel served on many committees, but he most enjoyed inviting children to participate in worship as ushers or acolytes. In later years he and his buddy Jim could be found in the back of the church during worship services, making sure all was going well. Young learners were an important part of Joel’s life. Donations in Joel’s memory to benefit the Play School program at The United Ministry of Delhi will be welcomed and appreciated.
Joel passed away Thursday, January 19, 2023, at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, New York, after suffering complications from a fall at home. Joel is survived by his wife Ruth; son Jeffrey (Sharon) Kazmierski of Bellevue, Nebraska; daughter Jennifer Kazmierski; granddaughters Madelyn and Sophia; sisters Karen Crandall of Salem, New Hampshire, and Deborah (Neil) Kaplan of Campton, New Hampshire; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Joel's life will be held at 11AM on Saturday, June 17, 2023 at the United Ministry of Delhi, Church Street, Delhi, NY 13753 with the Rev. Catherine Schuyler. Burial will take place at Glenwood Cemetery in Ashby, MA.
Please visit www.macarthurfh.com to share a condolence with the Kazmierski Family.