MANVILLE: Lifelong giver Bukovecky dies at age 88

He was longtime member of fire company, World War II veteran, VFW member

By Mary Ellen Day, Special to the News
   Manville lost a lifelong active member of the community Sunday when former fire chief and veteran John “Bucky” Bukovecky died at age 88.
   ”John was an important member of our community for many years,” Mayor Angelo Corradino said. “How do you measure someone who served for over 60 years? It is impossible. When he stopped fighting fires, he was always there looking to help, whether it was directing traffic or just giving advice.”
   The mayor said Mr. Bukovecky volunteered for both the VFW and the American Legion in Manville.
   ”Words cannot explain what John meant to our borough,” the mayor said. “Not only was he a leader in all aspects of his life, he was also a gentleman; a nicer person you could not meet. He was always willing to help and always striving to make this town a better place to live. He will be missed by all, but the legacy he left behind will never be forgotten.”
   Fire Chief Dave Mroz credited Mr. Bukovecky for helping him as a fireman and friend.
   ”He was a good fireman to me and he taught me a lot,” he said. “He helped everybody out — he was that type of guy. He was a good personal friend, and he will be missed.”
   Chief Mroz said Mr. Bukovecky will take his last ride on the firetruck Friday morning from the church to the cemetery.
   Mr. Bukovecky started in the Fire Department in 1949 as a member of Company No. 2, serving as fire chief in 1977 and 1978. He was the oldest active member in the department.
   ”John was always there to help with new members as they came into the company,” said Ken Skirkanish. assistant chief and fireman at Fire Company No. 2. “He would tell them how he used to do things when he put out fires. Everyone in the Fire Department knew him and was liked by all of them. He was the person who kept the Company 2 building going. If anything was broken, he would fix or repair it.”
   Mr. Bukovecky was instrumental in the initiation of American Legion Post 304 and was a charter member. The post began in 1947, and Mr. Bukovecky was a member for more than 50 years, serving as commander for a time.
   His friends at the Legion all said they will miss him dearly.
   ”He was a very loving, kind man who was very generous, always happy and looked at the bright side of things. I just loved him; he was a great guy,” Jeanne Mastrull said.
   Bartender Sandy Huntley said he always brought them “wonderful presents and thought of us girls, and he loved his O’Doul’s and his baseball.”
   Past Commander Carl Zujkowski said Mr. Bukovecky was “the greatest man ever for all he did for this American Legion. Everything we see here, we all owe it to his efforts.”
   At The Closet shop on South Main Street, where Mr. Bukovecky helped out, his nephew, Victor Bukovecky Jr., said he was lucky to have an uncle like Mr. Bukovecky.
   ”He was a sweetheart,” he said. “He was just a good guy to everybody, and a lot of people are going to miss him. He was just a giving person. He liked giving to the community, and he liked giving to his family. He loved the American Legion. It was like his home away from home.”
   Victor Bukovecky Sr. couldn’t say enough about his brother.
   ”He loved to help the public out,” he said. “If anybody ever asked him to do something, he would very seldom refuse. If he was arguing with somebody, he was glad with them the next minute.”
   Mr. Bukovecky served on the board of directors of the Manville Area Federal Credit Union for more than 50 years.
   ”He contributed greatly not only to the credit union but the community,” CEO Bill Warren said. “The one thing that I would say about Bucky is that he was a World War II hero. He dedicated his life to serving his country, and then he dedicated his life to serving Manville.”
   Mr. Bukovecky worked at the Johns-Manville Corporation for 42 years as a pipefitter, retiring in 1986. He was a longtime member of the JM Quarter-Century Club.
   Mr. Bukovecky was a fire marshal in town since 1980.
   Mr. Bukovecky was a longtime communicant of St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Hillsborough, was an usher at Mass and a member of the Holy Name Society.
   Born in Manville on June 27, 1924, he was the son of the Metro and Anna Papavecz Bukovecky.
   Mr. Bukovecky attended Bound Brook High School, and in February 1943, he enlisted in the Army where he served as a private 1st class in the 90th Infantry Division. Mr. Bukovecky was in Gen. George Patton’s Third Army in the European-African-Middle Eastern theater and was the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal for achievement in ground combat. He was honorably discharged in January 1946.
   He is predeceased by his wife, Helen P. Suchocki) Bukovecky, who died in 1972; five siblings; a daughter and son-in-law; two grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; a brother; and four sisters.
   Visitation will be at Fucillo & Warren Funeral Home, 205 S. Main St., today, Thursday, June 20, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. with a 7:30 p.m. parastas service.
   Visitation also is tomorrow, Friday, from 8:30 to 9 a.m. with funeral services at 9 a.m. followed by a 10 a.m. funeral liturgy at St. Mary’s Byzantine Church.
   Mr. Bukovecky will be buried beside his wife at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Hillsborough.
   Memorial donations may be sent to the American Legion Post 304, 429 S. Main St., Manville, 08835, or Manville Fire Company 2, South 13th Avenue, Manville.