In Memoriam – Joseph F. Zielinski (1909-1944), of Harrison, NJ – Lest We Forget

Joseph Frank Zielinksi2

From: In Memoriam; published by the town of Harrison, NJ in 1947.  Joseph F. Zielinski (1909-1944):

“A veteran of action in the invasion of Normandy and the Battle of Cherbourg, Machinist Mate 2nd Class Zielinski was inducted into the naval service on August 23, 1943.  He trained at Lido Beach, New York, and Norfolk, Virginia.

Assigned to the USS Wasp, he served on that vessel in the actions of Normandy and Cherbourg.  Falling ill as a result of smoke poisoning, he was evacuated to the States as a patient and died on October 24, 1944, at the San Diego Naval Hospital, California.  His burial and final internment were at Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington, New Jersey.

Machinist Mate Zielinski was born in Passaic, New Jersey, August 9, 1909.  He was educated in Harrison and was last employed in Newark, New Jersey, by the Firemen’s Insurance company.

The son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Frank Zielinski, he is survived by two sisters, Mrs. Sophie Phelan and Mrs. Mary Mahoney; and a brother, Thomas Zielinski.”

Americans today on Memorial Day honor our fallen military service members. Here at Genealogy Sisters we honor our family members, friends of family, and our ancestors – the war dead of all wars – not to glorify warfare and conflict, but to take a moment to pay tribute. My tribute today is for Joseph Frank Zielinski, who was the brother of our great-aunt Mary Zielinski Mahoney.

From researching on I found out that his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Zielinski, had both been born in Poland. The family lived on Harrison Avenue, in Harrison, Hudson County, New Jersey, during the 1930s and 1940s. In the 1930 Federal Census, Frank Zielinski was listed as widowed, age48, occupation station fireman. With him were his children: Joseph, single, age 24, occupation chauffeur; Thomas, age 15; and Sophia, age 11. In the next apartment were his daughter Mary (Zielinski) Mahoney, age 24, and her husband, Peter Mahoney, occupation chauffeur, age 26. From a Harrison Directory in 1938 Frank Zielinski was listed as living at 46 Harrison Ave., and he was a station fireman. Living with him were his son, Joseph F. Zielinski (also listed as a station fireman), and his daughter, Sophie.  [Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Harrison, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: 1348; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 246; Image: 557.0; FHL microfilm: 2341083.]

Except for this beautifully written memorial, copied out above, published after World War Two in Harrison, New Jersey, I wouldn’t even know this much about this brave young man. I have since found Joseph Frank Zielinski’s name listed in the U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949, with the Service Number 813-32-22, and that he enlisted 23 August 1943, and he was first received on board on 6 February 1944. His ship was listed as “L”, LCF Group, in the Atlantic Fleet for the quarter ending 30 June 1944. [Source Information: U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2011. Original data:  Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 01/01/1939-01/01/1949; A-1 Entry 135, 10230 rolls, ARC ID: 594996. Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Record Group Number 24. National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD.]

When doing research into my uncle John Doran’s death during WWII, I had heard from another uncle that a book had been published with a photograph and a short biography of all the service members from Harrison, Hudson County, that had perished during the war. Our family had no knowledge as to what happened to the copy given to our grandmother, Mary Mahoney Doran, after the death of her son.  In 1999 I decided to write to the Town of Harrison’s historian, Anthony Comprelli, to ask if he had a copy, and if so, would he please make a copy of the section pertaining to my uncle.  Shortly afterwards I received a packet back from Mr. Comprelli, with one of the original memorial booklets, with this short note enclosed, “Dear Mrs. Barnes, Enclosed is a copy of Harrison – WWII. It is yours to enjoy and keep. Sincerely, Anthony Comprelli.” I was flabbergasted by this kind man’s generosity in sending an original copy to me. Talk about acts of genealogical kindness!

Here is the original page about Joseph F. Zielinski:


Each of the 64 men listed in this photo below have a memorial page:

RollOfHonorHarrisonIncluded in the back section are the names of all those who served the town of Harrison during World War Two, listing their last names, and initials of their first and middle names. There is one more person with the surname Zielinski, with the first initial E. There are three listed with the surname Comprelli, most likely relations to the kind town historian Anthony Comprelli. There is also this patriotic quote printed in the front section:

Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid.  They have earned our undying gratitude . . .  America will never forget their sacrifices.  Because of these sacrifices the dawn of justice and freedom throughout the world slowly casts its gleam across the horizon. ~ Harry S Truman, April 16, 1945

Memorial Day blog postings are being gathered through GeneaBloggers, to preserve the stories and memories of those fallen military service members who sadly died all too young.

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