As John "Jack" Hamerski often teased, "Czy rozumiesz po polsku?" So, if you don't understand Polish, you may not quite understand Jack. A man who enjoyed pizza, baseball, gambling, and putting ketchup on his ketchup, Jack lived his life as best he could, which meant that he might head out to catch a Yankees game and wind up across the country, playing the tables in Las Vegas.
Impulsive as he could sometimes be, Jack loved his two girls, Jennifer Cosenza and Theresa Hamerski dearly. From their childhood days together at their oversized ranch in Northford, Connecticut to his home with his sister Joan in Hamden, to his apartment in Wallingford, where he always enjoyed Theresa's incredible chili and Jennifer's lasagna, Jack never stopped worrying about his little girls, always cautioning them to "be careful," which was his own fatherly way of saying "I love you. And, if anything ever happened to you, my heart would break."
Although he was employed as a payroll manager at High Standard Manufacturing Company, Jack retired from the United States Postal Service after working as a letter carrier in New Haven, where he earned the nickname, The Hammer. For many years, he also operated a part-time painting business in his spare time. He helped his daughters paint their homes and also painted Jennifer's salon, The House of Hair in Meriden. Actually, Jack could often be found in the salon, where he worked the phones and greeted customers when Jennifer needed a receptionist.
Jack grew up in New Haven, attending Saint Stanislaus School and received his diploma from Saint Mary's High School, in the same area. He then went on to study at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, where he played both basketball and baseball. After leaving Ohio, Jack made his way back to the East Coast and tried out, in the catcher's position, for his beloved New York Yankees. Although baseball wasn't in the cards, the love of the game always stayed with him.
Jack and his sister Joanie's upbringing was immersed in the language and traditions of his Polish parents. Known as Jackie throughout his youth, Jack truly enjoyed his identity, blaming his forgetfulness on his Polish heritage, peppering his speech with Polish expressions, and referring to everyone by their Polish name. He was immensely proud of his background and his faith, and loved life, in all its complexities and especially, its simplicity.
For instance, Jack loved to gamble. Scratch-off lottery tickets, weekends in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, playing poker and blackjack, like most other gamblers, Jack always claimed he won. He certainly had a lot of experience: Jack grew up playing cards with his family, neighbors, and friends. And though his winnings were never big, Jack and his girls had a wish list just in case he finally hit the jackpot. He was also incredibly enthusiastic about pizza, particularly the signature pie at Grand Apizza in North Haven, which he loved to share with Jennifer's husband, Jim Cosenza, however, anyone else was lucky to get a slice. After the quarantine, Jack could not wait to visit LongHorn Steakhouse, which was another of his favorite haunts. A member of the First Independent Club of New Haven, as well as other social clubs in the area, Jack enjoyed traveling to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and also, to Dallas, to watch the Cowboys play football. He always made time for the Yankees and although he was not able to see them play in the new stadium, he and his daughter Jennifer occasionally saw them playing at their beloved original field.
Jack shared his love of murder mystery books with his daughter Theresa. The two of them would often share novels and enjoyed discussing the different characters and authors. Additionally, Jack loved spending time with Jennifer's husband, Jim, whom he greatly admired. He was also very proud of his two grandsons, Zac Cosenza and Brandon Cosenza, who both serve the public as police officers in North Branford and South Windsor. Jack was also a fan of crosswords, Neil Diamond, country western music, and watching murder mystery programs on TV. Most interesting was Jack's prolific and very humorous texting conversations with his daughters. Jack, good-natured as usual, really loved using emojis. Also, he never missed his weekly phone calls with some of his very good friends. Jack absolutely loved it when friends popped over for pizza and looked forward to visits from John and Nancy, who often delivered pizzas to him. Jack was particularly grateful for Scott and Lori, his friends and neighbors, who often brought him groceries.
Jack had been retired for about 16 years when he unexpectedly passed away. In lieu of sending flowers, Jack's daughters ask that donations be made to the Steve Heck Memorial Fund c/o Webster Bank.
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