Michael Anthony Wiwczar, loving husband, father, grandfather and recent great-grandfather — as well as teacher, fireman, barber and joke teller — died July 29, 2017.
Mike loved life and was always helping others. Whether delivering homemade pickles or telling a joke, he always made people feel good. It was often said he wanted to make people smile. Michael and his late wife, Barbara, would spend summers at their favorite place, Camp Camelot II on Morrill Pond in Hartland, Maine. They always enjoyed hosting family and friends at the camp.
In his earlier days Mike enjoyed lobstering, fishing and clamming. He was an avid gardener and for many years would put up 50-plus gallons of dill pickles and sauerkraut.
If you ever needed a haircut, you could always count on Mike. For many year he worked at George’s Barber Shop in Rocky Point in the summer and on weekends. When not at George’s, he’d cut the children’s hair at Little Flower in Wading River.
Mike was a great athlete, who played football and pole vaulted in high school and college. He also was a softball pitcher in the Riverhead Town League, first with Rolle Brothers and then with the Riverhead Polish Independent Club.
Michael was born in 1933 in Wading River, the son of Michael and Stella (Shwonik) Wiwczar. He attended Port Jefferson High School, Class of 1950, and continued his education at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. He served in the U.S. Army as a medic at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas. His career started in 1957 as a teacher at Joseph A. Edgar Elementary School, continued on and ended at Rocky Point High School when he retired in 1988. He was an avid member of St. John the Baptist R.C. Church in Wading River.
Mike was an honorary fire chief with the Wading River Fire Department, serving as an active volunteer for over 59 years, and was its most senior active member. He could be found driving the ambulance, helping those in need on a call and, at times, providing photography support. He was named Fireman of the Year in 1994 and 2002.
Mike loved to tell stories and had a remarkable memory for people, activities and so many aspects of Wading River. If you knew “Uncle Mike,” he knew many new and “old” jokes. He loved people and they loved him back. Over the past 15 years, he liked to frequent “The Deli” in morning and “Phil’s” at night, where he was a regular, surrounded by familiar faces of both friends and family.
He is survived by his son Michael (Deborah), of Calverton, and grandson Michael John; his son Donald (Donna), of North Stonington, Conn., and grandchildren Matthew and his fiancée, Sarah, and Jessica (Randall Specht); great-grandsons Elliott and Roland; brothers Daniel (Elizabeth), of Wading River, and Walter (Marilyn), of Spring Hills, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews. Mike was preceded in death by his loving wife, Barbara, and his brothers Raymond and Bernie, as well as his sisters, Stella Havens and Mary Doroski.
The family will receive visitors Thursday, Aug. 3, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. and Friday, Aug. 4, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Alexander Rothwell Funeral Home in Wading River, where a fireman’s memorial service will be held during the Friday evening hours. A funeral Mass will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, at St. John the Baptist R.C. Church. Interment will follow at Wading River Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to the Wading River Fire Department Scholarship Fund.
This is a paid notice.