NICHOLAS PAUL SZYDLEK
Born in Detroit, Michigan on September 16, 1944, Nicholas Paul Szydlek lived all of his 77 years with faith, humor, love, and friendship. He enlisted and served in the United States Navy as a radar technician/electrician’s mechanic from 1963 – 1967, stationed in the Mediterranean (“tracking the Russians” he used to say) on the “tin cans” as he put it The USS Mole and the USS Basilone. He also served as part of the United States Naval Reserve and the United States Coast Guard Reserve. He was decorated with the National Service Defense Medal.
Nick married his wife, Rosemary, in 1969 and their son, Nick, Jr. was born in 1970. After the Navy, Nick worked as an electrician’s mechanic and engineer, living in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
In the late 1990’s Nick and Rosemary moved to his hometown area in Michigan where he continued working as an engineer. He retired in 2012, joining his son and daughter-in-law in Pittsboro, North Carolina where he began to hone is orneriness. He took fashion cues from no one - his signature every day look was all his own: sensible trousers, comfortable button-up shirt, suspenders, and comfortable shoes.
He established his own small machining/prototyping business, Foxtek, Inc. where he was his own boss and worked at his own pace. He hung out in his workshop with his grand-dog, Artie, a large black lab who really loved his grandpa. At night, with grand-dog Ireland at his side, he enjoyed struggling with the TV remote and disagreeing with Rosemary on what to watch. He hated most technology, got frustrated with cell phones, and hated all the noises from his iPad, but was secretly excited every time his son gave him all the new gadgets.
Nick was especially passionate about ham radio with an amateur extra ticket and was a Founding member of Chatham AUXCOMM; a proud member of Orange County Radio Amateurs (OCRA); and Durham FM Association (DFMA). He loved to share his knowledge and get others excited about ham radio.
As a member of St. Thomas More Catholic Church he attended mass every Sunday until Covid-19 and his illness made that difficult for him. He volunteered on many occasions and served on committees including the Church Council and was head of the Friends in Faith Senior Group.
Nick is survived by his loving wife of more than 52 years, Rosemary; his son, Nicholas, Jr. (Melissa); brother, Eddie (Cynthia) Szydlek; sisters, Carol (Fred) Zirotti and Cherilyn (Don) Smith; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and peers who love and respect him.
He was preceded in death by his parents Barbara J. Eshelman Szydlek-Lawless; Edwin Joseph Rivers and stepmother Frances Rivers; and brothers Lawrence S. Szydlek and Phillip P. Szydlek.
In lieu of flowers please donate to your favorite cancer organization or St. Jude’s in Nick’s name.
A Funeral Mass will be held 10:30AM, Friday, February 18, 2022 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church - 940 Carmichael Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Rite of Committal will be scheduled at a later date.
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