Clement "Clem" J. Wiekrykas finally, "bought the farm," something that he had talked about for much of his life. He will undoubtedly be working that farm today, somewhere in Heaven, along with his favorite uncle, his Uncle Eddie.
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As those who knew him or loved him, he went out talking. Even in the end, it was often nearly impossible for anyone to keep up. Clem was widely known for embellishing a story, sharing his Boilo, saying inappropriate things at awkward times, and laughing out loud.
To be sure, Clem was blessed with the ability to strike up a conversation with nearly anybody – regardless of whether they actually wanted to converse or not. You see, Clem liked people, irrespective of whether he knew them or not. Indeed, unlike so many dads, Clem never retired his ability to embarrass his sons in public. Clem was a bit like an onion, though. You had to peel back the layers to see his kind heart. He wasn't a particularly worldly man, but he somehow found a way to make friends with people from numerous countries, nationalities, cultures, and races.
Clem had a keen understanding of loneliness after his wife passed many years before. His loss gave him a unique perspective and perhaps even a gift – a gift of caring. Many folks are likely unaware of how, for many years, Clem regularly visited and supported his older shut-in friends and relatives in their homes, hospitals, and assisted living facilities. And even fewer are likely aware of those who he literally talked off the ledge. If you needed to talk to someone, all you had to do is call. And if you needed his help, all you had to do was ask. More often, however, you didn't even need to do that.
Clem was incredibly proud of his 42-year career at Pratt & Whitney, as well as his deployment to Ethiopia and Eritrea while serving in the United States Army. He was, however, most proud of his two sons. Recently he said to his son Clemmy, "I don't think any father ever had better sons than you two."
Clem was a great father and an unbelievable grandfather, with a commitment to his wife, sons, and grandsons, especially his grandson and best friend Bryce, which you just had to see to appreciate. Clem continued to tease Bryce right up until the end, snickering the entire time with a twinkle in his eye. Even at the end of his illness, Clem would light up whenever he spoke to his newest grandson, Leonardo. Even when Clem could not remember the names of others, somehow, he often recalled, "Leo…Leonardo." With a smile on his face, he would often point at the phone screen and comment, "What a good-looking little guy."
Give Clem a hoe for his garden, a maul to split firewood, a pole for fishing, a kayak and paddle, a bicycle, or take him hunting, and you would see what genuine passion can do for the soul. Clem was an outdoorsman, and he loved being outdoors throughout his entire life. He will undoubtedly be present when his family and friends are gardening, tending beehives, walking or biking the backroads of East Windsor, or fishing and hunting. While he may have left this world, it's impossible to believe that he would end these passions or miss a fishing trip in the next.
Clem was predeceased by his wife Mary "Snookie" Pierce Wiekrykas in 1996, and he remained committed and in love for the remainder of his years.
Clem leaves his son Clement D. Wiekrykas, daughter-in-law, Monica Wiekrykas, and grandson Bryce Clement Wiekrykas, and the small farm that he helped them to build in Portland, CT. He also leaves his
son Michael G. Wiekrykas, daughter-in-law, Preeyanan Wiekrykas, and newest grandson Leonardo P. Wiekrykas of Berlin, Germany. Clem also leaves his "adopted" daughter Anna Wasik and her husband Paul of East Windsor, CT, as well as his many friends and family members, too numerous to list.
Clem will be missed by his sister Helen Zukauskas and brother-in-law Joe of South Windsor, CT; his brother Billy Wiekrykas and sister-in-law Ellie of Harrisburg, PA; his sister Ann McAndrew and brother-in-law Jim of Shenandoah, PA; his brother-in-law, Bob Burrows and his wife Gale of Burlington, VT; his sister-in-law, Sandy Darna of Punta Gorda, FL; and sister-in-law Heidi White and her husband Dan of Stafford, CT; as well as his many nieces and nephews. Clem had a special connection with Dan and will inevitably show up at the White's next BBQ for a Bud and Chef Dan's "heavenly" ribs.
Clem's family would like to thank the friends and family members who helped him through his often-lonely final years. In lieu of flowers, his family requests that each person seek out an older person living in their community, perhaps someone else living with dementia, share a coffee or a meal, and tell them a funny story about their friend Clem. And, be sure to laugh out loud in Clem's memory. There will likely never be another like him.
Relatives and friends may join the family on Sunday, February 9, 2020 between 1pm-4pm at the Bassinger & Dowd Funeral Home, 37 Gardner Street, East Windsor, CT. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Monday, February 10, 2020 at 10am at St. Mary’s Church, 42 Spring Street, Windsor Locks, CT. Burial will follow at St. Catherine Cemetery in East Windsor. For online condolences please visit www.pietrasfuneralhome.com.