This Memorial Day, let’s pause and think about Veronica Trzcinski Kilyanek. In 1944, Veronica was a 49-year-old widow living at 84 Main St. in Duryea with nine children age 10 to 26. Her husband, Joseph Kilyanek, a Polish immigrant, died in 1938.
All of Veronica’s nine children were living at home, but four of her boys were not at home in 1944. They were serving in the military in World War II.
The youngest of the four, Jospeh, was only 19 when he won a Bronze Star for heroic action near Stein, Germany, for directing mortar fire onto an enemy sniper position which had pinned down his platoon. The next youngest of the four, Anthony, was in the Pacific with the Army Air Corps. Casimir was in the infantry in the Philippines. They all survived.
The oldest, Stanley, did not come home. He was killed in action on Saipan on June 6, 1944. He was awarded a Silver Star posthumously. He was 26. He was one of 23 soldiers from Duryea killed in World War II. Before the war, he worked in road construction for Martin Quinn. He is buried in Holy Rosary Cemetery.
Two of Veronica’s sons who were too young to serve in World War II joined after the war. Francis, or Frank, served in the Army in Germany. Adam served in the Navy during the Korean War.
After their service, Joesph, Casimir, Anthony and Edward all moved to Michigan to work. Joseph’s son, Stanley, named for his uncle who was killed on Saipan, is 67 and lives in Michigan, where he was born and raised. He said he didn’t know much about his namesake hero, except that he had been killed in action. He said his father moved to Michigan to “get out of the mines.” Joesph died in 2001. Casimir lived until age 93. He died in Michigan in 2013. Anthony passed in 2005 and Edward in 1986.