Mr. Benjamin Ignatius Wyeroski, age 99 of Amelia Island, FL passed away on Saturday, August 25, 2018.
He was born on October 6, 1918 in Brooklyn, New York to the late Ignatius and Victoria (Zolmieski) Wyeroski who immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1902.
When he was a young teenager, he met his childhood sweetheart, Mary Competelli in the neighborhood and was so smitten with her that he gave her a cross necklace. After 78 years of marriage, she still wears that cross. Growing up during the depression, he was a member of the “Greatest Generation” which carried him through his long and illustrious life. His family tells stories of him at twelve years old walking the train tracks in Brooklyn with his brother, picking up coal that the trains would drop to heat his family’s cold-water flat. He loved to build model airplanes, making each piece by hand. He would also sell the balsa wood to other children in the neighborhood to make money for his family.
Mr. Wyeroski was attending school to train as an aviation mechanic before being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943 where he served honorably and with distinction as a photographer in World War II. While stationed in the Philippines, his unit was scheduled to invade Japan but were called back because President Truman made the decision to drop the atomic bombs. As part of the occupying forces after the war, he documented the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombs fell. Amazingly, he was not affected by the radiation! He and his fellow soldiers were so moved by the suffering, starving children, they offered them part of their rations.
After returning home from the war, he worked as the manager for a graphic arts supply company for 47 years.
Mr. Wyeroski was known as an honest man; a man who would help anyone and quite a good singer, breaking into a rousing rendition of “Let me call you sweetheart” at the birthday parties in Osprey Village. He was a man who could build anything, including the electric and plumbing, which is evident in the finished basement of his house. He enjoyed attending Air Shows and was a member of the Knights of Columbus.
He is preceded in death by his siblings, Sophia Wyeroski, Marion Wyeroski, Sigfried Wyeroski and Stanley Wyeroski.
He leaves behind his wife of 78 years, Mary Wyeroski of Amelia Island, Florida; his children, Carolyn Strunk and her husband Brian, Richard Wyeroski and his wife Elba; granddaughters, Karen Riley and her husband Mike, Lisa Quig and her husband Joseph; and great-grandsons, Aidan and Austin Quig.
A Funeral Mass will be at 11:00 am on Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at St. Michael’s Catholic Church with Father Jose Kallukalam, Celebrant.
He will be laid to rest at 11:30 am on Thursday, August 30, 2018 at Jacksonville National Cemetery with Military Honors.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations may be made in his memory to the charity of one’s choice.