John J Kozak

January 7, 1924September 6, 2020

John Kozak Obituary

John J. Kozak 96, long-time resident of Norwich, passed away on September 6, 2020. Born at home on January 7, 1924 in the Greeneville section of Norwich to Anna (Byczkowska) and Nicholas Kozak, Golden Street was the center of his world.

He graduated from the Norwich Free Academy then enlisted in the US Navy where he served in the North Atlantic and Pacific as a signalman aboard numerous merchant ships during World War II. Upon his return home after the War, John matriculated at Eastern CT State Teachers College. He later went on to earn a Masters degree from Columbia University in New York City. John had a long career in education as both a teacher and principal in the Montville, Bozrah and Norwich school systems managing his classrooms with what one former student described as a firm but kind presence that was encouraging to all. His career culminated at the Greeneville School on Golden Street where he was principal from 1969 to 1984.

John married his Golden Street neighbor, Helen Ustaseski in November 1955. They had three children, Mark (wife Nancy) of Palm Beach, FL, Cindy (husband Tom Buckley) of Avon CT and David (wife Elizabeth) of West Hartford CT . He will also be missed by his grandchildren, Grant, Hilary, John and Collin Kozak, as well as his niece and nephews.

John was a lifetime member of the Divine Providence Church where he was baptized, confirmed and married. There he served as president of the parish committee and on the kitchen crew for countless church dinners which he greatly enjoyed.

He is pre-deceased by his wife and his two sisters, Jennie Kozak and Marion Little.

A private burial service will be held at the Divine Providence Cemetery in Norwich. A memorial service will be held at the Divine Providence Church on a future date when the family believes it is safe to gather in larger numbers. Such date will likely be following the release of an effective COVID vaccine.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s memory to Divine Providence Church, 11 Silver Street, Norwich CT 06360. Please visit to leave an online tribute or condolence.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


John J Kozak

have a memory or condolence to add?

Carol (Gwiazdowski) Russell

September 13, 2020

Dear Mark, Cindy, and David,

Please accept my condolences for your loss. Your Dad was a good man who epitomized what made Golden Street such a special place to grow up. To live on Golden Street was to be part of an extended family, and your Dad was a deeply respected member of that family. I remember the excitement in the neighborhood when your Mom and Dad became engaged. I was just seven years old when I attended their wedding with my parents. I felt like I was sharing in a fairy tale...the beautiful bride...the handsome groom...And then, when they moved into the house across the street from ours...well, that was perfect. I remember the joy as each of you were born. Now, in your sadness, I hope you will find comfort in your own cherished memories from Golden Street and in the sure knowledge that your Dad’s life was a life well-lived.

With love,

Carol (Gwiazdowski) Russell

Leonora Szruba

September 11, 2020

On behalf of the Parish Committee of the Divine Providence Parish we extend our sincere condolences to John's family. It was always a pleasure to see John at our parish functions over the past years since he moved away from the Norwich area. He will be sadly missed and his devotion to the parish will not be forgotten.

Anne Roberts-Pierson

September 11, 2020

My most sincere condolences to you and your entire family on the passing of your dear father. I had no idea that your roots are bound up in the rich tapestry of the fair Rose City of Norwich!

Your father certainly embodied the exemplary qualities of his generation: bravery, patriotism, resilience, dedication to community, longevity, all connected by a strong love for and sense of place. He lead by example and I now see where your dedication to your work protecting our state's natural resources got its start.

May your father now truly rest in peace as lives that extend to almost a century (!) are sometimes not the easiest in the later years. While your father may be gone, his love and memory will live on in all the hearts he left behind.

Thank you for sharing his story publicly with all of us. Our community was much enriched by having him among us for so long.

Yours sincerely,
Anne Roberts-Pierson
Gales Ferry, CT

Joan Jakiela

September 10, 2020

My condolences to Cindy, Mark and David. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with your Dad. He was always a gentleman and well loved by everyone. My prayers and thoughts are with all of you at this time.

stephan urban

September 10, 2020

My condolences to his family especially Mark, Cindy and David. He was a fine man who will be missed at the church that he loved so much. I will miss seeing him at the Harvest Festivals every year when Cindy would bring him. God bless him and his family.

Bob and Mary Cikatz

September 9, 2020

Slow by little, popsicles, Beep the cat, on the plus side....these are phrases that will always bring a smile to our faces. He was the most genuinely kind and optimistic man and a true, good soul. We will miss you and your smiling face. “Do widzenia, Wujek Jasio ”, or until we meet again, Uncle Johnny.


Learn more about the Kozak name