Chester John "Chet" Kowalski, 74, Logan Township, Altoona, died Monday morning at his son's residence of an apparent heart attack.
He was born in Altoona, son of the late Chester John Sr. and Helena Victoria (Tomchek) Kowalski. He married Mary C. Silvia on May 25, 1963, in St. Rita's Catholic Church, Warwick, R.I.
Surviving are his wife of 50 years, Mary C.; five daughters: Mary Elizabeth of Hollidaysburg, Catherine Chirdon and husband, Michael, of Duncansville, Christina M. Sprouse and husband, Lawrence, of Elkton, Md., and their children, Maggie, Abby, Larry, John and Emma, Francesca M. Montenegro and husband, Andres, of Pittsburgh and Patricia M. Burke and husband, Shawn, of Altoona and their sons, Evan and Andrew and Baby Burke; and three sons: Chester J. III and wife, Barbara, of Altoona and their children, C.J., Nathan, Nick, Ben, Elizabeth and Anthony, Joseph A. of Altoona and Michael James and wife, Pamela, of Altoona and their children, Christina and Brendan.
He is also survived by two brothers: Paul and wife, Emma, and Thaddeus "Ted," all of Altoona.
Chet was a 1957 graduate of Altoona High School and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He retired from the Navy Reserve in 1999 as a chief petty officer. He retired from the maintenance department of PPG Industries, Tipton, in 1998 as a welder and machinist.
He was a member of Holy Rosary Catholic Church, where he was a lector, CCD teacher and altar server and helped Monsignor Michael Servinsky with jobs around the church. He was a recipient of the Prince Gallitzin Cross Award.
Chet was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Our Lady of Lourdes Counsel and Cursillo, St. Stanislaus Kostka Brotherhood and Jubilate Deo Choir. He served as an officer for Citizens Concerned for Human Life, Homer's Gap Civic Association, the Navy League and the Naval Enlisted Reserve Association. He volunteered for the pastoral ministry at Altoona Hospital and HIM missions in Honduras and sponsored children in Guatemala. He was also a volunteer water tester for the Altoona City Authority.
Chet enjoyed organic gardening, hunting, running, being a metal recycling specialist (scrapper), polka dancing with his wife and spending time with his family and grandchildren at sporting events, sailing and especially Sunday breakfasts.
Friends will be received from 1 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. today at Stanley J. Krish Funeral Home Inc., 1204 17th St., Altoona. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Altoona, by Monsignor Michael Servinsky and other priests. Committal will be at SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be sent to St. Vincent De Paul Food for Families Soup Kitchen, 2201 Union Ave., Altoona, PA 16601; Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, 1300 12th Ave., P.O. Box 1349, Altoona, PA 16603; or Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 900 N. Fourth St., Altoona, PA 16601.