Obituary of John Kemak
WATERLOO – John Kemak of Waterloo, NY died Sunday (April 7, 2019) at Geneva General Hospital, after a brief illness. He was 95, the son of Andrew and Ekaterina Stephanok Kemak.
Friends may call from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday (April 18) at Coe-Genung Funeral Home in Waterloo. The memorial service will immediately follow at the funeral home. Interment will be in Maple Grove Cemetery in Waterloo.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Waterloo Library & Historical Society, 31 E. Williams St., Waterloo, NY, 13165 or First Presbyterian Church of Waterloo, 42 E. Main St., Waterloo, NY, 13165.
A member of the Greatest Generation, John was the second-youngest of seven children born to immigrant parents. He grew up in Seneca Falls during the Depression and graduated from Mynderse Academy in 1942. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946, in the 226th field artillery battalion in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater.
Thanks was not required for his service, John said later. He considered it a way to repay the U.S. for all that the country had done for his family.
When John was 7, his mother died of tuberculosis. He and his younger brother, Joe, were raised by their father and older siblings.
After the war, John earned a Bachelor's degree in Accounting on the G. I. Bill. His hometown friend George Cumm, talked him into enrolling at Rider College in Trenton, N.J., where the two pledged Phi Sigma Nu fraternity and played on the golf team. John met Rider coed Betty Lou Holter and the two married in 1949. After John completed his coursework, the family moved to the Finger Lakes and eventually settled in Waterloo. John was hired in the accounting department at Goulds Pumps, where he worked for 30 years.
As a boy, John hitched rides to Seneca Falls Country Club (SFCC) each weekend where he earned money as a caddy. With castoff clubs and a wood he made out of a hickory limb, John learned the game and enjoyed it throughout his life. He won the SFCC club championship seven time between 1946 and 1964, and continued to play until he was 90.
In addition to serving on the executive committee of the Finger Lakes Golf Association for many years, John volunteered for the American Heart Association, Meals on Wheels, the House of Concern, Seneca County ARC and the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery program, driving cancer patients from Seneca County to Rochester for treatment. In addition, he held various offices at the First Presbyterian Church of Waterloo.
John will be remembered by his family and friends as a giver, a helper, a planner, a manager, and a quiet counselor.
John leaves behind his loving wife of 70 years, Betty Lou ("Nikki"); his daughters, Lisa Kemak of Rochester, NY, Tina (Brian Green) Manzer of Canandaigua, NY and Lora (Scott) Hammaker of Camp Hill, PA; grandchildren, Jordan (Hannah Zon) Manzer of Loveland, CO and Krystian Hammaker of Camp Hill, PA; great-granddaughter, Layana Manzer; and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents, his brothers, Andrew, Michael and Joseph; sisters, Mary, Ann and Helen; granddaughter, Kallan Hammaker and grandson, Aaron Manzer.
Condolences for the family may be sent to www.coegenungfuneralhome.com.
46 West Main Street
Waterloo, New York