Herman Joseph Kuklenski, a former resident of San Juan Island, died at his home in Chehalis, Washington on December 16, 2010.
He was seventy-three.
Joe, as he was called by many, was born in Kansas City, Kansas, on March 19, 1937 to Helen and Michael Kuklenski.
The third of the couple’s three sons, Joe like his brothers, grew up in a Polish commumity, surrounded by the language, customs, and protection of caring neighbors. He attended nearby parochial schools before going to Wyandotte High where he graduated in 1954.
After a year of college Joe left the Midwest to join the U.S. Navy, serving from 1955 until 1959, in part aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, specializing in Aviation Electronics.
Twice during his tour of duty Joe was awarded Good Conduct medals.
Following his Navy years, Joe settled in the Los Angeles area and hired on with Univac as a manger in the Field Engineering Division of this pioneering computer company.
He married and bought a home in north San Fernando Valley. It was here that his daughters, Lisa Ann and Lori Jean were born.
After this first marriage ended in divorce, Joe wed his second wife, Patricia Halliday, a supervisor with Peterson Publishing of Hollywood, one of Univac’s customers.
The couple resided in North Hollywood for the next twenty years.
With Joe’s two daughters they vacationed by car, travelling extensively throughout western states and the Pacific Northwest in particular.
Close to home in Southern California, Lisa and Lori fondly recall their dad’s love for sailing and his efforts to teach them boating skills. First they practiced in an 8-foot Sabot on Lake Castaic, then a 21-foot Santana off Catalina Island. The girls also enjoyed yearly ski trips to Lake Tahoe or Mammoth Mountain where Joe’s attentive coaching and supervision kept them on their feet.
For several years Joe took evening classes and acquired both BS and MS degrees in Finanace from the University of California at Northridge. This enabled him to move from field engineering to financial planning, forecasting and administration within his company.
He became Financial Manager for the Orange County Branch, a position he held untill retirement.
Always an avid sailor, Joe joined the San Fernando Valley Sailing Club. He and his wife Pat enjoyed many racing and crising events. Getting involved in the club’s activities, Joe became first Race Committee Chairman then Vice Commodore and, finally in 1984, Commodore of the club. During the Los Angeles Olympics of that year, Joe as club commodore was invited by the Olympic Committee to attend the Sailboat Racing Event at Long Beach Harbor.
Joe retired and left California in 1988.
He and Pat moved north to Friday Harbor, Washington where they bought a “fixer-upper” on one acre with a view. Accepting the challenge, Joe took on the daunting task of changing the place into a lovely home overlooking San Juan Valley. In his spare time, Joe attended master gardening classes then established a large organic vegetable garden on his land.
Busy, yet not entirely comfortable in retirement, Joe took a teller’s job at Interwest Bank (now Wells Fargo) in downtown Friday Harbor. Later he moved to a position at the nearby liquor store. In 1999, Joe retired from the liquor store.
Needing a new project, he bought ten acres on the other side of the island and proceeded with house plans. Beginning in 2002, he worked daily on clearing land then putting up a garage and a cabin.
By 2004 he and Pat had sold their home overlooking San Juan Valley and moved to the building site. For the next two years they lived in a trailer while constructing their new house on acreage facing Cady Mountain. In 2007 the couple moved in.
But by this time, Joe’s health had begun to fail. Needing qualified medical help, Joe and Pat knew they’d have to relocate to the mainland.
In 2009, the Kuklenskis moved to Chehalis, a place close to necessary doctors, specialists, and facilities.
Joe is survivied by his wife, Patricia Marie Kuklenski, daughter, Lisa Ann Loos of Edmond, Oklahoma, daughter, Lori Jean Ross of Simi Valley, three grandsons and two granddaughters.
In lieu of services the family asks that donations be given in Joe’s name to leukemia research.
— The Kuklenski Family