Kenneth Paul Stokowski, 65, of Middletown, CT passed away peacefully on January 20, 2023 surrounded by his loving family after a courageous 21-month battle with glioblastoma brain cancer. Ken was born December 12, 1957 in Chicopee, MA to the late Leopold and Genevieve (Zakrzewski) Stokowski. Ken attended St. Stanislaus Catholic School and was an altar server at St. Stanislaus Basilica. He went on to graduate from Chicopee High School and later earned a bachelor's degree from Southeastern Massachusetts University. Ken enjoyed a long and successful career in the insurance industry. He worked in various positions at Mass Mutual, Travelers, and United Health Group/Optum, where he retired as an IT Director in 2017.
Ken was an avid golfer and bowler. In his retirement, Ken golfed often in various leagues and tournaments and had recently passed down the sport to his daughters so they could enjoy it together. He loved his weekly “boys’ nights” with his friends where he could enjoy a cold Bud Light and warm conversation. He also looked forward to his monthly poker games with his buddies and participated in multiple fantasy sports leagues. Ken was a lifelong fan of the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins, and UConn men’s and women’s basketball. One of the highlights of his life was attending the Kentucky Derby in 2000.
But most important to Ken was his family. He met his wife Maureen (Adams) Stokowski in 1987 while both playing in the Travelers recreational softball league. They were married on August 5, 1989 and settled in Middletown, CT where they enjoyed 33 loving years of marriage. Along with his wife, Ken had two daughters, Kelly and Sarah, of whom he was so proud and loved more than anything. Kelly and Sarah looked up to their dad with great pride and admiration. Ken was overjoyed to be able to walk Kelly down the aisle at her wedding last summer, despite his ongoing cancer battle. He loved both of his daughters’ significant others greatly and enjoyed sharing a friendly sports rivalry with them.
Ken was the patriarch of his family and took care of his girls every day. They often referred to Ken as “the smartest man they would ever meet” and he truly was. He was the financial advisor, cheerleader, advice giver, voice of reason, and master vacation planner for his family. Ken’s family looked forward to their “Stokowski Family Vacation” every year where they traveled to many wonderful places. But his favorite vacations involved visiting the beautiful United States, where the Stokowski’s traveled to 47 states together in their quest to hit all 50. Ken enjoyed putting together detailed itineraries and mapping out routes, ensuring we would get to the right place because he said we had “KPS”, his version of GPS. Ken made some of his best memories on his family vacations and his family will always carry him with them on future journeys.
Ken greatly loved his brother, Dennis, and took pride in Dennis’s service in the US Navy for our country. Ken delighted in any opportunity to come aboard Dennis’s naval ships, private cruise ships that he captained, and his sailboat. The brothers often enjoyed lively conversations about the world of politics and were proud American patriots. Ken and Dennis grew up with a close bond as brothers and friends, and have fond memories of their childhood vacations to Wildwood, NJ.
Ken was a wonderful cook and his family was the beneficiary of his delicious meals. He was proud to share his Polish heritage through the food he made including his mother’s golombkis and his cousin, Debbie Tencza’s, pierogi recipe.
Ken was also an active member of his church and community. In his lifetime, Ken had the honor to be in the presence of two Catholic Popes as they celebrated mass in the United States. He served on the St. Paul Pastoral Council, chaired the St. Paul School golf outing, coached his daughters’ sports teams, and was even the cookie dad for his daughters’ Girl Scout troops.
In addition to his beloved wife Maureen, Ken is survived by his daughters, Kelly Stokowski Russo and her husband, Timothy Russo, of West Hartford, CT, and Sarah Stokowski and her significant other, Timothy Garrity, of Rocky Hill, CT. Ken is also survived by his brother, retired US Navy Captain Dennis Stokowski, and his wife, Kathy, of Jacksonville, FL, his mother-in-law, Rita Adams, whom he adored, of Collegeville, PA. Also surviving are his sister-in-law Michelle O’Reilly (Matthew) of Collegeville, PA, and brother-in-law Martin Adams (Cathi) of Edwardsville, IL, and many special nieces, nephews, cousins, and beloved friends. Besides his parents, Ken was preceded in death by his father-in-law, Martin Adams, and numerous aunts and uncles.
Calling hours will be at Erickson-Hansen Funeral Home located at 111 Chamberlain Highway, Berlin, CT from 4-7pm on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. Funeral mass will be held at St. Paul Catholic Church at 461 Alling Street, Kensington, CT at 10am on Thursday, January 26, 2023. Everyone is asked to meet directly at the church on the day of the funeral. Burial will be at the convenience of the family.
The family would like to extend their deep gratitude to family and friends for their love and support during Ken’s illness. They would also like to thank the entire Hartford HealthCare at Home Hospice team and the Neuro-Oncology team at the Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center for their compassion and care. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: Saint Paul Parish (461 Alling Street, Kensington, CT), Hartford HealthCare at Home Hospice (www.hartfordhealthcareathome.org), or the Connecticut Brain Tumor Alliance (www.ctbta.org).
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