Earlier this week cancer took from the world one of the smartest men our family has ever known, Eugene Pelczarski. Though he beat his doctors figures by 2 years, he was a fighter to the end and passed at 90 years old. Gene wasn't just a face in the crowd, he was a quintessential engineer, chemist, father, a lightning rod of innovation for the world and our family, and most importantly, a friend.
Graduating at the top of his class Summa Cum Laude with a PhD in chemistry, he went on to create many inventions and products. He beat out industry giants, such as MSA, and even Jacques Cousteau for a self contained rebreathing apparatus, that to this day is the defacto standard for underground mining 30 minute rescue rebreathing apparatus.
After being a veteran of the Korean War, Gene even stuck his finger in the eye of government oppression on more than one occasion in Poland before the fall of communism in 1989, and caused great consternation of party hardliners, even forcing some removals.
Throughout the years growing up Gene mentored many of us in the family in some way or another and is one of the main driving forces to why many of us are engineers today. Many will remember going to his manufacturing facility in Monroeville. Gene started many businesses, importing leather goods for tool belts (think like Klein tools) and even commissioned Swarovski crystal cutters to create a line of 24% leaded crystal stemware. If you've ever seen Cazlor crystal vases, punch bowls, and decorative glasses in the store, yep, that had Gene’s fingerprints on it. The name Cazlor were the combination of my family members names. Gene included everybody in his adventures.
Gene was the impetus for so many things and activities in our family, losing him will be a difficult adjustment, but I know that he has joined his brothers, sisters, and our other family members who have passed, still watching over us now.
He's free to explore unencumbered, and will finally fully understand quantum physics. Though we will miss hearing his comical trademark statement 'What's your problem?', we know even though his “carbon based” body is not here, (donated to a medical school in hopes of a cure for his cancer) he will never be gone and will live on forever in his contributions to the world, and in our hearts.
Eugene was preceded in death by his wife, Jane, brothers Stanley, and Henry, sisters, Pauline, Helen, Catherine, Adelle, and will be missed by his three sons Tony and wife Thelma, Daniel, Martin and grandchildren Max and Nick, sister Blanche, niece Lorene and greatnephew Kevin Kellerman, nephew Mark Homnick and wife Aksana.
We love and miss you Eugene.
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