In Memory

Andrew Kowalczyk

The Westfield Leader Thursday, April 23, 2020 Page 12

Andrew Kowalczyk, Extraordinary Man With a Heart of Service

Andrew “Andy” Kowalczyk, 63, passed away on Monday, April 6, 2020, in Coral Gables, Florida, due to Covid-19.

He was born April 1, 1957 in New Brunswick, N.J., and raised in Westfield, N.J.

He graduated from Westfield High School in 1975, where he was active in several sports but most known for being the lead singer in his band “Cadillac”.

He graduated from West Chester University in 1979. After working in Finance in New York for many years, he founded AK Capital in 1998 with offices in New York and Florida.

Andy had a heart of service, whether working with philanthropies like the Wounded Warrior Project, ALS and Wings Over Wall Street, or helping people individually. He had genuine concern for his fellow man. He believed the best way to lift oneself up was to help someone else in need. His FB posts often encouraged others to have the Best Day Ever (BDE). He was all about having fun while creating value and inspiring people to live their best lives.

One of his favorite projects was an album he produced to help aid, empower, and inspire the New Orleans recovery after Hurricane Katrina. The album,“Sing Me Back Home”, brought wonderful artists, headliners in their own right, together under the name New Orleans Social Club. Among them, Leo Nocentelli,  George Porter, Jr., Trombone Shorty, Irma Thomas, Cyril and Ivan Neville, and John Boutte, to name a few.

Andy was an avid reader, always seeking personal growth through education, prayer and meditation. He was a beautiful soul, the kindest and best of men.

He loved music, especially Rock ‘n’ Roll.

He adored his family, stating his father was his best friend.

His incredible joy for life was matched by the unquenchable fire in his belly to make a difference in people’s lives.

Although he’s gone way too soon, he lived a life full of love, purpose and service to his family, friends and community.

He is survived by his wife of 27years, Elizabeth (née Bliss); parents, Edward and Cynthia (Tuccillo) Kowalczyk; sisters, Margaret Milne and Paula Kowalczyk Jakob; broth-ers-in-law, Dave Jakob and Carl Bell, and extended family.

A memorial will be planned when the pandemic subsides.

 


While not an official obituary, I tracked down this article about Andy in the Miami Herald from 04/18/2020

Miami Herald April 18th, 2020

Who we’ve lost in South Florida: a cop, a nurse, a banker, a grandma and so many more

The rock star

Andrew Kowalczyk lived a life of big experiences.

A former rock-band singer, Kowalczyk produced a relief album for New Orleans musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina. He skydived, practiced yoga and meditation and, at one point, even owned five race horses.

Kowalczyk, an investment banker, died April 6 at Coral Gables Hospital from complications of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus that has caused a worldwide pandemic. He was 63.

“He was one of those guys who would lift up a room when he walked in,” said his widow, Elizabeth Kowalcyzk. “He was trying to squeeze the juice out of life.”

Kowalczyk was born on April 1, 1957, and raised in Westfield, New Jersey. He ran his own private investment banking firm, AK Capital, and split time between New York and South Florida.

As a young man, he was the lead singer of a group called the Cadillac Rock Band. Over the years, he also released two albums, Just Bad Enough and Rock & Roll Appetite. In 2006, he served as the executive producer for Sing Me Back Home, by the New Orleans Social Club, featuring artists such as Cyril Neville, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and the Sixth Ward All-Star Brass Band Revue. The proceeds of the album went to help musicians affected by the devastating hurricane.

Kowalczyk was involved with philanthropic organizations, such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Wings over Wall Street event, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

An avid sports fan, he also got the chance to play in a pro-am tournament in 2002 with a young budding star golfer: Tiger Woods.

Andrew Kowalcykz, above, with pro golfer Tiger Woods during a pro-am tournament in 2002. - Elizabeth Kowalyzk

Kowalczyk and his wife lived in Doral. He fell ill on March 18, two days after he returned from a trip to New York. He self-quarantined at an apartment they own on Miami Beach. A couple days later, he woke up feeling feverish and weak. Kowalczyk took an Uber to Coral Gables Hospital, where he later tested positive for COVID-19.

Kowalczyk was upbeat about recovering, his wife said. He was strong, and besides yoga and pilates, was an avid weight-lifter. “He was constantly working out,” Elizabeth Kowalczyk said. “He said he’d fine, to not worry about it.’”

But on Monday, March 30, Kowalczyk’s condition suddenly worsened. He could no longer breathe on his own. His condition was aggravated because he had chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a slow-progressing disease that can affect blood and bone marrow but has been dormant in him. Kowalczyk was intubated and spent two weeks on a ventilator before he died.

The death devastated Elizabeth Kowalczyk, who could not be by her husband’s side at the hospital. She herself remains quarantined in their Doral home, with no symptoms.

The two were married 27 years, and had been together 32. “We were lucky to have a wonderful marriage,” she said. “He was one of those amazing guys with a huge heart.”

She plans to hold memorials in New York and Miami when the viral outbreak subsides.

Kowalczyk is survived by his wife, his parents, Edward and Cynthia Kowalczyk; and two sisters, Margaret Milne, and Paula Kowalczyk Jakob.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/coronavirus/article242009786.html#storylink=cpy



 
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04/08/20 08:27 PM #1    

Daniel Dillon

I am in shock along with I'm sure all of you.  I am grateful for the last reunion and that the band was back together for a fantastic show in Garwood of all places!.  Andy will always be remembered for the fun that we had together.  It was impossible to be around him and not have a smile on your face and also a high probablity that some level of mischief was about to take place. There are no others like Andy and to lose him now is painful and leaves a hole in our world.  Love you Andy.   My heart goes out to your family and countless friends many of whom are members of this class  Love to you all. 

Dan


04/09/20 09:09 PM #2    

Michael Boyle

Can't believe Andy is gone. He was a talented and sincere person who was always the life of the party.  SAD DAY


04/09/20 09:21 PM #3    

Charles Jones (Jones)

I'm sad about Andy's passing. We need to be careful as we are vunerable. Stay safe.

04/10/20 07:01 AM #4    

Brian Brady

It is very sad about Andy! But I feel sorry for heaven because he'll be up there with his old friend Vince Gilligan and boy did they know how to party back in the day .

 

 


04/10/20 07:47 AM #5    

Will Obecny

I am saddened about Andy's passing from this dreaded virus. I have fond memories of our Franklin School days. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Will

 


04/10/20 09:27 AM #6    

Kevin Kelly

I was at one of the epic open house parties Senior year (you were probably there) when Cadillac was playing. Andy was out front singing "Sweet Jane" or "Suffragette City" I don't recall exactly which, when Mr Kowalczyk walks up. He looks up at Andy in his "hot pants", platforms and skin tight tee shirt, turns to me, shakes his head and says matter of factly, "That's my son." Yes, that was Andy! Fun and full of life, and now he is gone,

Rest in peace, friend.

 


04/10/20 09:55 AM #7    

Frank Scandale

Andy made everything better. A party. A baseball team. A softball team. Laughter followed him. His presence elevated the scene. Saw him many years ago on a subway encounter in NYC and we laughed for an hour. Fantastic human. He'll be missed by all. 


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