Southampton native David J. Kulesa of Patchogue and Copake, an artist who showed his paintings at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Southampton and at the Westhampton Art Show for many years, died on April 6 at his home in Patchogue, of cardiac arrest. He was 61.
Born in Southampton on January 6, 1947, to Sabina and Julius Kulesa, both of whom predeceased him, he graduated from Southampton High School in 1966. Upon graduation he attended the Long Island Technical School in Hicksville and began a long career in the design and supervision of commercial facilities.
He retired as the director of facilities for Nassau County in 2002. After retirement, he became involved with the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts and also served on its board.
An artist member of the Salmagundi Art Club in New York, Mr. Kulesa was well known for his watercolor landscapes. He taught at the National Art League in Douglaston, with many of his students achieving local and national recognition. He also painted and taught on Monhegan Island, Maine, where he vacationed annually.
Mr. Kulesa met his future wife, Marjorie “Marj” Gibson, in Southampton as she was graduating from the Suffolk School of Nursing at Southampton Hospital. The couple lived for 30 years in Garden City, where they attended the Cathedral of the Incarnation before moving in 2000 to Patchogue, where they attended St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
A life member of the Men’s Association of Garden City, he was responsible for fund-raising for the Garden City teams, although his passion for sports was really for his children. According to the family, he was that dad who was at all the games, both high school and collegiate, rooting for the team and most proud of his children’s accomplishments.
One of Mr. Kulesa’s grandnephews said last week, “God needed an Uncle Dave.”
Survivors said last week that Mr. Kulesa was always proud that he had been a ham radio operator since his early teens, with stations both in Patchogue and Copake, and that he was looking forward to the continuation of the tradition by teaching his granddaughter Eleanor to be a ham operator. As an avid golfer, he was highly anticipating this year’s golf season, survivors said.
In addition to his wife of 39 years, Marjorie, he is survived by three daughters, Jennifer and her husband George Kast of Westhampton Beach, and Meredith and Jessica Kulesa, both of Patchogue; a son, Gregory Kulesa and his wife Jesseca of Shirley; three grandchildren, Eleanor and Campbell Kast, and Hailey Kulesa; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
He was predeceased by a sister, Teresa Jewell.
The family received visitors at the O’Connell Funeral Home in Southampton on April 9. A funeral mass was held on April 10 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Westhampton Beach, with the Rev. Ronald Wickey officiating. Cremation followed.
In lieu of flowers, donations to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church renovation fund, 31 Rider Lane, Patchogue, NY or Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, 71 E. Main Street, Patchogue, NY 11772 would be appreciated by the family.