McAuley Alumnae Blog

McAuley High School, Toledo, Ohio

Father of Barbara Czerniakowski Sembach ’68 and Jeanne Czerniakowski Drake ’72 passed away

Posted by mcauleyhighschool on January 31, 2016

Raymond S. Czerniakowski(1923 – 2016)

(News story) Raymond S. Czerniakowski, a longtime firefighter with the Toledo Fire Department and active member in Toledo’s Catholic and veteran communities, died Sunday in Rosary Care Center in Sylvania. He was 92.

He had been recovering from a fall and stroke, his son, Martin, said.

Mr. Czerniakowski served in the Navy from 1943 to 1946 as a motor machinist’s mate on the USS Swasey in the North Atlantic. His skills were bolstered by a technical degree from the former Macomber Vocational High School.

He served 31 years with the Toledo Fire Department starting in 1950. In three decades with the department, Mr. Czerniakowski worked for a time at Station 3 downtown, and several others across the city.

Known for his kitchen prowess learned from his own father, Mr. Czerniakowski often cooked for fellow firefighters at his station.

“They would fight to be on his shift because they knew they would be fed well,” said his daughter, Barbara Sembach. “He knew how to throw things together you’d never think of and experiment.”

Mr. Czerniakowski was in the second wave to respond to the 1961 fire and explosion on the Anthony Wayne Trail that killed four Toledo firefighters and injured 71 people, his daughter said.

He also worked part-time as a machinist for Alton Products during the 1960s and 1970s to help send his children to Catholic schools.

A life of service – first in the military and later with the fire department and fraternal organizations – was forged in part by family and faith.

“It was the way he was raised to be close to family and friends,” his son, Martin, said. “He grew up in the Depression; they all depended on each other and formed those bonds.”

That commitment was passed on, his son said, adding that Mr. Czerniakowski’s children and other relatives grew up to be teachers, police officers, and members of the military. Mr. Czerniakowski’s brother Albin worked for the Lucas County Board of Elections and his brother Joseph served on Toledo City Council in the 1960s.

Mr. Czerniakowski was an active member at St. Charles Borromeo Church, where he coached youth sports and led various groups.

He was a commander of the Catholic War Veterans Logsdon-Walla Post 639 and served in state leadership as well for the group.

He was an officer of the Union of Poles in America Fraternal Organization locally and on its parent group’s board.

While with the Catholic War Veterans, Mr. Czerniakowski strongly encouraged the then-bishop to establish the Monsignor Jerome E. Schmit Youth Endowment Fund, which provides scholarships for area Catholic students.

Born to Stanley and Sophie Czerniakowski on Aug. 28, 1923, he grew up in a central city Polish neighborhood. He married the former Dorothy Kubacki on June 14, 1947. The two had grown up two blocks apart and met as high school students. She died in 1999.

He and Barbara Hagen, spent 13 years together.

Surviving are his sons, Martin and James; daughters, Barbara Sembach and Jeanne Drake; sister, Joanne Sochacki; six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

The funeral is at 10:30 a.m. today in St. Charles Borromeo Church. W.K. Sujkowski & Son Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

The family suggests tributes to the Father John D. Kofflin Perpetual Memorial Fund or to the Monsignor Jerome E. Schmit Youth Endowment Fund.

This is a news story by Lauren Lindstrom. Contact her at, 419-724-6154, or on Twitter @lelindstrom.

Published in Toledo Blade on Jan. 29, 2016

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