Services are planned Tuesday for Clement John “Chelly” Chelminiak, 96. Here’s the remembrance his family is sharing with the community:
Clement John Chelminiak – July 17, 1920 to March 17, 2017
C.J. Chelminiak lived a remarkably American life. He loved his family, his community, and he had a deep faith in God.
Born in South Bend, Indiana, he ran outside to watch the Spirit of St. Louis fly over. That inspired a young man and he worked 42 years at Boeing and was one of Joe Sutter’s “Incredibles” who designed the 747. He enjoyed the Boeing retirees lunch in Renton on Thursdays.
“Chelly” was all about family. He is survived by his children, Paul, Kathy, and John (Lynn Semler). There are four grandchildren, Mindy Simmons, Kelsy Ausland (Aaron), Morgan Tuff, and Megan Chelminiak, and a great-grandchild, William Ausland. His youngest sister Antoinette (Angie) Claxton survives him. He was preceded in death by his parents Leo and Theresa Chelminiak, brothers Ted and John, and sisters Gertrude McKiel and Sr. Helen Marie C.R.
The greatest commitment of his life was to his wife Gertrude Kroll, who left us much too soon. He wore his wedding ring through more than 30 years of grieving. And now, they are dancing a polka in heaven.
Dad and Mom moved to Seattle toward the end of World War II. They came with son Paul, and soon daughter Kathy arrived; son John arrived at West Seattle Hospital in 1952. They lived in apartments along California Ave. SW, not far from West Seattle High School. They made lifelong friends in those apartments – other families, most of whom worked at Boeing. We spent our major holidays together with those families for several decades.
In 1949, Dad built the family home on Genesee Hill. He remained in the home until days before his death. The neighborhood was his closest family. Growing up, we had water fights, picnics, parties, touch football games and incredible Fourth of July celebrations. Those families grew up and moved out and new families came. Dad made fast and lifelong friends with those families, and they became part of our celebrations. West Seattle was his true home.
His rock was Holy Rosary Church, and he used his engineering skills on many building projects there. His neighbors on Genesee Hill were often his best friends. He loved the mountains, golfing, and Hawaii.
Chelly followed traditions. One of those passed down to all family members is making Polish sausage. It is the heart of all family celebrations. Dad was the master mixer. All of us were the grinders and stuffers.
Services will be Tuesday, March 28, at Holy Rosary Church – West Seattle. Rosary will be at 9:45 a.m., Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. with a reception to follow. A donation to the American Cancer Society is requested in lieu of flowers. Aloha!!
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