March 15, 1920 - December 20, 2014

 

Sylvester Joseph (S.J.) Tomporowski, age 94, of Foley, died naturally and peacefully Saturday December 20, 2014 at St. Benedict's Senior Community, St. Cloud. Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:00 AM Saturday, December 27, 2014 at St. John's Catholic Church, Foley. The Rev. Dan Walz will officiate. Burial will be in the parish cemetery with full military honors provided by the Foley American Legion Post 298. Visitation will be from 9:30 am - 11:00 am Saturday at the church. Fr. Pierz Assembly of the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus will stand honor guard Saturday at church. Memorials preferred in lieu of flowers. Service with Dignity provided by Foley Funeral Home.

S.J. was born in 1920 in Gilman, MN to Vina Krawiecki and Paul Tomporowski. Growing up in the time of the Great Depression, his family owned and operated a country store and gas station in Morrill, MN. After high school in Foley and two years of college in St. Cloud, WWII intervened and S.J. enlisted in the Army Air Corps, eventually piloting a B-25 bomber and flying 70 missions in the European theater. A Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart were a few of the medals awarded as a result of that service to the United States of America.

After the war, S.J. married (in 1945) Mary Margaret Bettendorf of Foley and was selected as the Benton County Veterans’ Service Officer. In 1952 he became the Benton County Courts Administrator and served in that position for many years until retirement in 1984.

As an active life-long member of St. John’s Catholic Parish in Foley, S.J. served in such capacities as financial trustee, parish council member, Eucharistic minister, and lector. Also, as an active third and fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus, Bishop Marty Council 3603, he served, among other capacities, as Grand Knight and was honored by being inducted into the Minnesota Knights of Columbus Hall of Fame.

S.J.’s service in World War II continued in the form of the Air Force Reserve until he fully retired from the Air Force with a rank of Lt. Colonel. A member of Foley’s Earl James Howe American Legion Post No. 298, and the Gilman Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1558, S.J. served in various capacities including commander of both Posts. He was a long-time presence at local military funerals and was master of ceremonies at the annual Foley Memorial Day service for over 50 years.

Other community activities included managing the Foley town baseball team for many years, active membership in the Foley Athletic Commission, Booster Club, Sportsman Club, and Better Business Bureau, Wapicada Board of Directors, Eagles, Reserve Officers Association and Benton County Red Cross. S.J. also volunteered with the Selective Service System, Foley area Home Meal Delivery Program and the Benton County Council on Aging.

Recreation for S.J. consisted of football and baseball in his younger years and segued into spring, summer and autumn golf along with winter bowling. In 1960, S.J. earned the individual club championship trophy at the Wapicada Golf Club and one year in the 1970s he and his bowling buddies earned the Knights of Columbus State Bowling Championship.

In summary, S.J. was emblematic of America in that he enjoyed recreation, faithfully served God and Country, and loved his family and his wife’s apple pie.

S.J. was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Margaret in 2005. They had been married for 60 years. Also preceded in death by brothers Daniel and Lawrence, and sister Lucille Everson. Remaining family include daughter Mary Alice Tomporowski, son Thomas Neil Tomporowski, along with his wife Alyce (Tomita) and their son David Paul Tomporowski.