A great man died Memorial Day weekend on the Catholic Church Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ.
“Joe” will be fondly remembered not as a celebrity entertainer although he could spin wonderful stories, or a noted politician although he could illuminate current issues with common sense; but as a loving husband, exemplary father, enthusiastic home-schooling grandfather, wholehearted Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, commendable golfer, zealous lifelong learner, proud Marine and dedicated patriot.
Joe Chmelik, 89, lived his life with a strong Catholic faith, alongside his wife, Pat, of 62 years rearing, directing, educating and loving his close-knit family.
Born in Oak Park, Illinois, on June 28, 1930 to Arthur Francis and Belle Chmelik, Joe was one of three children in a home of faith and hard work and love during the Depression.
A 1955 U.S. Naval Academy graduate with a major in Electrical Engineering, Joe served 20 years as a Marine including two tours of Vietnam as an infantry officer. As a captain with the 3rd Marine Division he was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor. At great personal risk he participated in numerous reconnaissance patrols to gather intelligence information on hostile forces confronting his unit which minimized casualties in the assigned mission. Once stateside and while on active duty he earned a MBA (Accounting) from University of Chicago and a MPA (Computer Sciences) from American Univ. Later, he served for 18 years at the Smithsonian Institution and retired in 1993 as the business manager.
Survivors include: wife, Patricia Ann; daughter, Rosemarie (Gregory) Kinney; and sons, William (Lee Ann), James (Colleen), Joseph (Julie, deceased), Thomas (JillJoyce), Edward (Kelly), Anthony (Rebecca); 37 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren.
Viewing is from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday June 5, 2020, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Barnesville, MD.
Mass of Christian burial will be held at the outdoor altar at 11 a.m. on June 6, 2020, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Barnesville, MD.