Never one to run from danger, Joe Kowalski joined the Navy at age 17, serving three years in the Pacific Ocean during the Vietnam War before returning to his hometown of Camden, NJ, where he would meet his wife and begin his own family. With his big, infectious smile right from the beginning, Joe was born in Camden, NJ, to Edward, a WWII veteran himself, and Wanda Bednarczyk Kowalski, with brother John and the late Edward Jr. A brief stint as a firefighter led to a decades-long Camden Police career replete with countless commendations and accolades, including coming to the aid of a fallen officer under fire. A meeting after a holiday wedding on December 20, 1968, blossomed into a yearlong courtship, and on February 7, 1970, Joe married Dorothy Elizabeth Tulini, of Collingswood, NJ. Over the next decades they would build a loving home and raise three devoted children.
A magnetic personality and always the life of the party (unless brother John was there!), Joe was full of amazing stories and big laughs. He was always generous with his time and experiences, and would never let anyone remain in need of anything if he could help in any way. After retiring from the police force in 1996, there was little he enjoyed more than time with his grandchildren or playing a sunny round of golf with his wife and friends. His two holes-in-one will remain a family record and legend for generations to come.
This lifelong protector of everyone he loved is survived by Dorothy, his wife of 52 years, his brother John, his sister-in-law Donna, his sister-in-law Sandy, his children Joseph Jr, James, and Jennifer, his son-in-law Michael, his daughter-in-law Michelle, his grandchildren Trey, Raegan, and Zoe, and his many cherished nephews and nieces, cousins, and more. He was predeceased by his infant son, John Matthew, Jennifer’s twin. He had deep bonds beyond blood with his Brothers In Blue as well as his many loved, loving, and exceedingly supportive neighbors and friends. “Hit ‘em long & straight!”
To honor his lifetime of helping others, in lieu of flowers please make donations to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Tunnels 2 Towers, the Special Olympics, or any charity of your choice in Joe’s name.