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Raymond S. Chmieleski
July 4, 1930 ~ November 6, 2023 (age 93) 93 Years Old
2 Trees, Flowers, or Condolences have been shared with support of Raymond's family - View on Tribute Wall
Raymond Stanley Chmieleski was born on July 4, 1930 at Christ Hospital in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was the first born son of Charles and Cecilia Chmieleski and older brother to Francis.
Growing up in Jersey City, Raymond attended St. Anthony’s Grammar School where he was very active in the church and school communities serving as an altar boy at 12 years old, playing the drums as a boy scout in Troop 33 in their Drum and Bugle Corps.
In high school Raymond studied woodworking and architectural drawing as part of an industrial course of study. He continued to be an active member of the student body and community becoming stage manager for 3 high school productions and joining the Sea Scouts at age 15. During this time he worked part time at Nedick’s hot dog stand, later becoming manager of 3 stores, prior to joining the U.S. Navy. While in boot camp he played the drum in the Great Lakes Navy band. In Tennessee, Raymond was trained in Cooks & Bakers School as well as Fire Fighters School. While in the Navy, he served on board 4 different ships, the USS Portsmouth CL102 in the North Atlantic, the USS Rochester CA124 which sailed through the Panama Canal to the South Pacific and Hawaii and through the Philippine and Japanese occupations. While on board, he saw combat during the invasion of Inchon while providing fire power along the coast. This marked the beginning of the Korean War Conflict. He was then transferred to the USS McDermut DD667 and the USS Rochester CA124 where he returned to Korea for patrol duty along its coast. For his outstanding service in the Navy, Raymond was awarded the distinguished US Korean Service Military Medal with 3 Battle Stars.
Upon returning to civilian life, Raymond took advantage of the G.I. Bill and attended school at Newark College of Engineering in Newark, New Jersey where he studied Mechanical Engineering. He began as a design apprentice at Worthington Corporation and later became a free-lance designer for various oil and pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and major hotel chains. In 1952, while attending college part-time and working full time, he married Joan Weist. They raised 3 children, Constance, Stephen and Wayne. Raymond later became grandfather to Gina, Matthew and Michelle, then great-grandfather to Aiden, Violet and Dominick.
During this time, the family lived in New Jersey moving from Jersey City to Kearny, then to Fords. Raymond was very active and enjoyed volunteering in both church and community programs. He was a Boy Scout Leader for Boy’s Town, church usher at Our Lady of Peace in Fords, where was CYO director, high school dance chaperone, and director of 3 plays. He organized the first parish carnival and established the Saints, the first Drum and Bugle Corps and winner of many state competitions. In 1963 Ray joined the Knight of Columbus Council #299 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He was proud to follow in the footsteps of so many of his cousins and uncles. While in the Knights he held all officer positions in both 3rd and 4th Degrees, PGK, PFN, FDD & Color Corps Commander. He holds Honorary Lifetime membership in the Knights of Columbus 3rd and 4th Degree Council #2505 and Assembly #154 in Lakeland. Ray’s wife Joan, always at his side, joined the Columbiettes in 1964 where she held several officer positions as well.
In 1990, Raymond and Joan retired to Lakeland, Florida. Still quite active, Ray held many part-time positions in real estate, security, and retail. In the community, he was a school crossing guard and Event Supervisor at the Lakeland Center. His faith and love of volunteerism found him on the Building, Liturgy, and Sacristan Committees at St. Joseph’s Church in Lakeland. This was in addition to his role as Altar Server, Extra-Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion and Minister to the Sick. He served as Commander of the Catholic War Veterans, past VAVS (Veterans Administration Volunteer Service) representative at the Veterans Hospital in Tampa. As past National VAVS representative, he holds lifetime membership in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #4549, Auburndale, American Legion Post #4, and Catholic War Veterans Post #1917 both in Lakeland. His other achievements include lifetime certified swimming pool operator, and membership in both the National Power and National Hospital Engineers.
Raymond still called Lakeland, Florida his home but sadly, Joan, his wife of 62 years passed away in 2014. As a man who had lived his life in service to his fellow man in the military, the community and his church, Raymond enjoyed his later days painting Easter eggs and doing jigsaw puzzles as well as playing with his beloved cat, Danny.
Services will be held at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Wednesday, November 15, 2023. Visitation from 1 PM - 2 PM, service at 2 PM.
In lieu of flowers, the family request that memorial donation be made to st. Joseph Catholic Church, 201 W. Lemon St. Lakeland, FL 33815. stjosephlakeland.org.