Michael Kupec, Sr., 86, of Garfield, passed away on June 8, 2020. Michael was born at home in Wallington, NJ on April 8, 1934 to Mary (Stepen) Kupec and Samuel Kupec immigrants from the Galicia Region of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire (today southeastern Poland).
Upon completion of elementary school in Wallington, Michael chose to attend East Rutherford High School, as Wallington had no high school at the time.
Competing in football, baseball and basketball, sports were always in his blood, and he did everything from playing on, to reporting about, his teams as a writer for "The Triangle," the ERHS paper.
A 1984 inductee into the Wildcat Hall of Fame, Michael was a standout performer in baseball and football. As a blocking guard, he was selected “2nd Team All 50's Decade” by the local press in football. A determined and skilled hitter, he led the baseball team in batting average for three straight seasons and played 1st base on the team that defeated Clifton to win the prestigious Passaic Valley Conference Championship in a runoff game at Hasbrouck Heights High School Field.
Always a leader, he served on the student council for three years and was the President of his 1952 high school graduating class. He later did course work at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
He played “sand lot baseball” for the Wallington Panthers and Wallington Hillsides. When not on the baseball diamond, he could be found on the basketball court playing for the Wallington Cardinal Blues at the Crystal Ballroom in the City of Passaic.
A Korean War army veteran, he proudly served his country in the 420th Ammunition Supply Company Ordinance in Trios Fontaine, France. Michael was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.
He was married to the late Margaret Cocula for 56 years. He is survived by his two children, Michael Jr. at home and Susan of Fair Lawn, NJ, her husband Jeffrey Burek and grandsons Adam (of Melbourne, FL) and John at home. Michael is predeceased by his parents and three sisters: Anna Witkowski, Olga Miskiv and Julia VanEss.
Michael was always involved in the lives of his children helping with their Science Fair projects, attending their sporting events (armed with banners and camera), band competitions, concerts, plays and musicals. He and his wife, along with other parents, Theo and Lou Garbus, founded the Garfield HS Band Parents Association which raised funds to cover out-of-state travel expenses and purchases of needed equipment. Michael and his wife were avid supporters of the women’s basketball program at Seton Hall University where their daughter Susan played, and were also loyal fans of Seton Hall University’s men’s basketball as season ticket holders for 25+ years.
A life-long parishioner of SS. Peter & Paul Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Passaic NJ, he was a member of the committee that oversaw the parish's Cub Scout Troop in the 1970's. Michael was one of the original members of the “Kitchen Gang," a group of men who cooked for parish events for several decades.
Michael retired from Garden State Paper Company after 25 years and a was member of Local #68 Union of Operating Engineers.
Family and friends are invited to attend graveside services at Ss. Peter & Paul R.O. Cemetery, 127 Westminster Place, Saddle Brook on Saturday, June 13, 2020 at 11:15 am. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to Ss. Peter & Paul R.O. Cathedral, 200 Third Street, Passaic. Arrangements are by Bizub-Quinlan Funeral Home, 1313 Van Houten Avenue, Clifton. Please visit www.bizubquinlan.com for online condolences.
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Ss. Peter & Paul R.O. Cathedral
200 Third Street, Passaic NJ 07055