Monday, February 17, 2014

Chester V. Krusienski

Chester V. Krusienski of Racine passed away peacefully on Monday, February 17, 2014. He was born in Racine on August 18, 1913, and celebrated his 100th birthday this past summer.

Krusienski was married for 75 years to the former Julia Joo, the love of his life, who passed away in July 2007. The two of them operated The Camera House on Douglas Avenue, working side-by-side until they retired in 1976.  Many people continued to stop him in area stores in later years to tell him he took their wedding photos, which they continue to cherish.

In addition to being an expert photographer, Krusienski began his love of boats and sailing at a very young age as he built his first sailboat when he was nine years old. At 13 he became the youngest member of the Racine Yacht Club, and 50 years later he was honored as a Lifetime member.

Over the years he captained his sailboats to numerous victories in a variety of Lake Michigan races, such as the Mackinac and Queen’s Cup.   He loved his three children and would do anything for them. He loved his grandchildren more than life itself as he and his wife cared for them whenever needed.

He taught his grandsons how to carve wood and all the different parts of boats so they could learn how to build their own boats. They still have their creations and cherish the time they had with their grandfather.

He often said how fortunate he was to live long enough to meet his two great-grandchildren, Dylan and Emma. It was obvious how much they meant to him when they sat on his lap.

He worked for the U.S. Government during WW II, constructing specialty boats in a factory alongside the Root River where the Main Street Bridge is currently located.

Before that, he worked at the Douglas Theater, which was owned by his family until it was sold to the Fox Corporation in the early '50s. Then, he and his wife, Julia, opened The Camera  House on Douglas Avenue where they worked side-by-side until it was closed  in 1976.

Over the years he built wood models of sailboats and ships, which were purchased by people in England, France, Holland, San Francisco, Seattle, Racine, and other locations around the world.  His wood working skills extended to building doll house furniture, with extreme craftsmanship detail.

Krusienski, and his wife, will be remembered by many people, especially those in need who they helped throughout the years. He was known for his many stories about sailing. He would often comment, “There is something about water and sailing. It satisfies the inner soul.”

Krusienski had three children: Brian Krusienski of Chicago, Gale (Tom) Haakensen of Racine, and Joy (Gary) Vaillancourt of Racine. He had four grandchildren, Meghan (Jim) Edmonson of Sugar Grove, IL.; Cullen Rude of San Francisco; Casey Rude of Kenosha, and Connor Rude of Kenosha. In addition he has two great-grandchildren, Dylan and Emma Edmonson.

Relatives and friends may meet with the family at the funeral home on Friday, February 21, 2014, from 12:30 p.m. until 2 p.m. At 2 p.m. a time of sharing memories will be held followed by interment at Graceland Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests friends of Chester make donations to a charity of their choice.

The family would like to express their sincere and heartfelt appreciation to Racine Oncologist Michael Mullane for his expertise, caring personality, and his genuine love of Chester. In addition, thank you to Debbie, Connie, Lisa and Mary from Hospice Alliance, who became special friends to Chester. Special appreciation is extended to Tiffany of Hospice Alliance who often was Chester’s daily companion. Also assisting Chester on a regular basis were his friends Joan Szymczak and former crew member Ardis Cherkinian.

803 Main St., Racine    (262) 634-7888

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