Northborough – John Paul Karpuk, 92, died at home Saturday, June 2, 2018, surrounded by his loving family.
He was born in Worcester to Catherine Gladys and Michael Karpuk, and raised at 113 Ingleside Ave. in Worcester with his sister, Jean Karpuk Glowik, who predeceased him in March 2018.
John credits his Eighth Grade math teacher, Sarah Dieter, with getting him on track to consider going to college. He was attending Grafton Street Middle School, (now East Middle School), and decided to go to Classical High School in preparation for college. At Classical High he ran track, focusing on relays, and also wore #14 as the Quarterback for their football team. Sports remained an important part of his entire life. He played semi-pro football for the Worcester Zips, and was a founding member of “Northcourt,” a tennis and pool club twenty families in Northborough built.
He became a lifeguard in 1939, and was still doing somersaults off a diving board into his 70s. He coached Northborough Youth Baseball, and played golf and tennis all his life. He was known for collecting golf balls around Juniper Hill Golf Course, and writing “Golf Sucks” on each one; he gave them to his golf buddies to tell them what he thought of their game.
As soon as he graduated from high school in June 1944, John enlisted in the United States Navy. He attained the rank of Motor Machinist Mate Second Class, and was in charge of the starboard Diesel Engine of a submarine chaser in the Pacific Theater. He worked below decks, perfecting running the engine as clean as possible to eliminate any visible smoke from exiting the chimney.
When John returned to the United States in June 1946, he got a near-perfect score on the Naval Fleet exam, earning him an appointment to Annapolis. John preferred to stay close to family in Massachusetts, so ended his career with the military, and immediately applied to the best engineering schools in New England. MIT, Brown University and UMass Amherst accepted him. Because of the enormous number of returning G.I.s at once, MIT and Brown delayed his admittance by a year. John wanted to get his career going, so chose to attend UMass in the fall of 1946 on the G.I. Bill. He graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1950.
John’s cousin, Dotty, set him up on a date with her girlfriend, Jean Scott, also of Worcester. They married in November 1950 and remained together happily for 67 years, until his death.
John leaves behind two children, and four grandchildren: his daughter, Pamela, her husband Glenn Barney of Northborough, and their children Scott and Danielle, and his son, Scott, his wife Claude, also of Northborough, and their children Michael and John.
Over the course of 35 years, John worked for defense contractors in radar systems engineering. His specialty was in how shock and vibrations affected radar installations. His work took him to various parts of the world, during which he advanced from Lab Manager to Principle Engineer to Chief Engineer, a title that he liked very much. He reveled in telling his family how all his meetings started on time. He would lock the door at the designated start time, and did not allow anyone to sit down. He ran his shop with precision and efficiency!
John loved to draw nudes and cartoons. He called his nudes, “Poor man’s Picassos.” He would draw cartoons of all his tennis and golf buddies, lampooning their fallibilities and inside jokes. At Christmas, he drew his signature “Ugly Elf” on the gift boxes of each of his grandchildren. They treasure them to this day.
Another favorite pastime was vacationing with family. Having a 32-year retirement, allowed him to reconnect with friends and family and travel widely. He and his wife Jean would vacation regularly on the island of Aruba with his sister Jean and brother-in-law, John. The two Johns and two Jeans would play cribbage.
John and his sister loved painting the beach scenery and the waves. They would also join their kids and grandkids on vacation on Block Island off the southern coast of Rhode Island nearly every summer, and twice visited his son’s family when they lived in France. The two of them also joined many fascinating Elder Hostel trips in the U.S. and abroad. He will be deeply missed by all of us! He lived a great, long life and went out exactly the way he wanted to, not that he was ever ready to leave us.
All services for John are private. Please consider a memorial contribution in his name to a charity of your choice. Hays Funeral Home, 56 Main St., Northborough is honored to assist the Karpuk family with arrangements. To view John’s Book of Memories, please visit www.HaysFuneralHome.com.