Charles Wasil Kohanowski, 88, of Poinciana, Fla., formerly of Shelton, former Shelton police officer, passed away on Sunday, October 11, 2015.
Charlie was born to John and Pauline (Sabowicz) Kohanowski on June 27, 1927 in Kingston, Pennsylvania.
He is survived by his daughter, Kerry Ann Hrabstock (Wally) and son, Chuck Kohanowski (Judy) and grandsons, Matthew, Kyle and Thomas. He also leaves behind his sister, Sophie Washenko of Shelton, and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his wife of 34 years, Evelyn (Boyko), and his sisters Vera Yarosh, Esther Kohanowski, Ann Matejek, and Mecca Falcha.
After graduating from Ansonia’s Pine High School in 1945, Charlie served in the U.S. Army in the Panama Canal Zone. He received an Honorable Discharge with an American Campaign Decoration. Upon his return home, he was employed at the Waterbury Lock Company and the Waterman Pen Company until he found his true calling as a policeman in Shelton.
He was appointed a supernumary officer in 1960, and on July 1, 1963 began a 33-year career as a patrolman, helping to train many of the officers who came through the department, including outgoing Chief Joel Hurliman. Along with fellow officer George Anthony, Charlie also maintained and repaired the police cars in the small tandem garage at the old police station on Howe Avenue. During his career, he was first on the scene for the arrival of five babies who couldn’t wait to be born at a hospital. He gave more warnings than tickets. And his common sense lectures and good humor kept many Shelton teenagers from escalating beyond adolescent pranks.
Charlie retired on October 12, 1996 at the age of 68, after spending his last few working years as the designated downtown cop and Shelton’s goodwill ambassador with the number one badge. Still not willing to leave the downtown area after retiring, he serviced the parking meters and maintained signs and Christmas decorations along Howe Avenue, while stopping in and trying his luck at the many Shelton establishments which sold lottery tickets. He won a little, a lot, but he never won a lot. However, it was enough to reinvest on his weekly trip to pay his respects to the Native Americans at the Mohegan Sun Casino where the girls at the ice cream shop always had his maple walnut waiting for him.
Charlie lived with his son’s family in Oxford for several years, sharing his love of ice cream with his grandsons at Rich’s Farm, where his black truck claimed a regular parking space. As he got older, he moved out on his own to Wesley Heights to enjoy the caring staff and the company of “those old people.” He had his own apartment with a great big t.v. for his two favorite seasons: Yankees and UConn women’s basketball. Promised that he wouldn’t miss a game because Florida also has cable t.v., he eventually followed many of his fellow Shelton officers to the sunshine state to retire, at his daughter’s home. She was able to drag him away from t.v. for trips to Disney World, Weeki Wachee, Yankees spring training games and UConn women’s hoops at USF in Tampa. He also enjoyed meeting up with other old SPD alumni, Al Cislo, Neil O’Donoghue and John Zegsdryn.
Friends may greet the family at Riverview Funeral Home, 390 River Road in Shelton on Thursday, November 19 from 4 to 6 p.m. A gathering to share Charlie stories will immediately follow at the Russian Club on 333 Howe Ave. Burial will be private at Mt. St. Peter’s Cemetery, on November 20.