“E J” Knapik, 93, formerly of Amsterdam and Glenville, passed away peacefully in his sleep on May 27th, 2020 at the Kingsway Arms Nursing Home in Schenectady.
Mr. Knapik was born Edward Joseph Knapik on July 10th,1926 to the late Andrej and Anna (Watrobski) Knapik of Widow Susan Road in Amsterdam, NY.
“E J” was a 1941 graduate of St. Stanislaus Elementary School and a 1945 graduate of Wilbur H. Lynch High School in Amsterdam.
After graduation, “E J” served in the U.S. Navy as a Yeoman 3rd class aboard the USS Miami (CL-89). Upon the completion of his service, he enrolled in Troy’s Veteran’s Vocational School (today’s Hudson Valley Community College). After graduation in 1950, he was hired as a draftsman at Schenectady General Electric. He advanced to a Designer in the Steam Turbine and Gas Turbine design departments, retiring in 1983 after a 33 year career.
Beginning in 1951 and for next 68 years, “E J” became involved in dedicated service to our military veterans via active participation in AMVETS. He co-founded AMVETS Post 21 in Amsterdam, and by 1954 it was the largest post in New York State. In 1983 he was elected State Commander for the Department of New York for the 1983-1984 term. He was a delegate for 62 consecutive years to the AMVETS state conventions. He served as AMVETS State Legislative Chairman for over 40 years. He also served as District Adjutant, Alternate National Executive Committeeman, and Chaplin. He was a popular presenter of ROTC awards at colleges and universities. In 2012, he co-founded AMVETS Post 35 in Schenectady. In 2009, he was recognized by the national AMVETS organization as “AMVET OF THE YEAR” at a ceremony in Baltimore MD. This award, known as the “Silver Helmet Award”, is given annually to only one individual and is commonly known as the “Veteran’s Oscar”. This award prompted State Senator Hugh Farley to recognize his years of dedicated service with a Senate Citation and State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara to recognize him with Assembly resolution K733. “E J” was a member of American Legion Post 701 in Amsterdam and Polish American Veterans of Schenectady.
“E J” had a long history of volunteer service at the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany. For over 50 years he served as the AMVETS VA Volunteer Services Representative. In 2007 he was recognized with the AMVETS National VA Volunteer Services Leadership Award. He regularly visited the VA to distribute craft kits, personal care packages and spend time with veterans. He spearheaded a $50,000 fund raising campaign to renovate the VA Medical Center’s rooms, outfitting them with new furniture, wallpaper and window treatments.
“E J” also served for 11 years as a trustee for the Saratoga National VA Cemetery Support Group, which helped build the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery, and on committees for the New York State Vietnam Memorial, Korean Memorial and World War II Memorial. On Veterans Day 2013, he received the City of Amsterdam Veteran Service Medal and was honored as the Grand Marshal in the Amsterdam and Schenectady Veterans Day parades.
“E J” was a decades long member of the Knights of Columbus and rose to the rank of 4th Degree. He held the position of “Faithfull Navigator” in the Lt. Gov. Thomas W. Wallace Assembly #708 in Schenectady.
“E J” was an active member of the General Electric Retiree’s Association and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 147 Gold Card Club.
“E J” was predeceased by his wife, Rose, his twin sister Justina (Knapik) Kulbako and her husband Walter, his sister Agnes (Knapik) Lomnicki and her husband Stanley, his niece Annemarie (Kulbako) Keil and his dear friend Dorothy L. Bossert.
He is survived by one niece, Terry (Lomnicki) Melervey of Coplay, PA and three nephews; Victor Lomnicki of Oak Ridge, TN, Joseph Kulbako and his wife Elaine of University Park, FL and James Kulbako and his wife Cathy of Rotterdam, NY. He is also survived by 4 grand nieces and their children.
The family would like to express their sincere appreciation to the staff at the Kingsway Manor Assisted Living Facility for their care during “E J”’s 5 year residence there.
Funeral services will be held at the Glenville Funeral Home. Burial at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville, NY. In lieu of flowers, contributions in “E J”’s name may be made to the NY AMVETS Service Foundation, 442 Campbell Ave Buffalo, NY 14216
Online condolences may be made at glenvillefuneralhome.com