James F. Czepiel “I’m dead”
AUSTIN, Pa.---James “Jim” F. Czepiel, 75, of Austin, Pennsylvania passed away suddenly on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 with his loving wife of 49 years, Carol J. (Walsh) Czepiel, by his side.
Born Sept. 22, 1946 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic, New Jersey, he was a son of the late John S. and Helena M. (Wangrycht) Czepiel, and raised in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, where he spent most of his life. Jim had a successful career as an information technology director, putting in more than two decades alone at Tishman Realty & Construction Co. on Park Avenue in New York City. He also worked at Standard Chlorine Chemical Co. in Kearny, New Jersey before starting his own business, CPL’s Landscaping, which Jim maintained and then handed over to his son after he retired and relocated to Austin in 2007, where he was surrounded by wildlife, the Allegheny Mountains, and the First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek.
A bird enthusiast and active member of the American Budgerigar Society in his younger years, Jim raised a variety of parakeets and showed them across the country. He also enjoyed keeping a coop of Canadian pigeons in his backyard and growing a garden that was always too big to manage. However, Jim was perhaps more well-known among his friends for his love of hunting and fishing, and particularly, fly fishing.
He had a passion for fly fishing that rivaled that of Robert Redford directing “A River Runs Through It”, which was also a movie that he enjoyed immensely. Jim had an entire ‘man cave’ of a room off the side of his garage, complete with a reclining chair, that became his dedicated fly tying space, where he spent hours teaching himself patterns and flipping through The Hook & Hackle Company catalogs, plotting his next purchase of supplies.
Surviving in addition to his wife are his three children, Kathleen L. Czepiel, of New Jersey; Lisa A. (Czepiel) Keith (Robert), of Williamston, Michigan; and, James B. Czepiel of Austin, as well as two grandchildren, Devin and Lucy Keith, of Williamston. Jim was immensely proud of his family and always willing to go out of his way to lend a helping hand to a friend. He loved nothing more than pouring a glass of scotch on the rocks and sitting on his front porch swing, chatting casually with his friends and neighbors.
Jim had a heart as big, if not bigger, than the mountain ranges across the street from his Gunsmoke-inspired home. Sadly, Type 2 diabetes took its toll over time and he underwent heart surgery a decade ago to repair some of the damage. The doctors predicted a maximum 10-year new lease on life after that procedure, but true to his stubborn style and need to make sure he got every minute he was owed back from when his failing heart slowed him down, Jim ended up exceeding their estimate by more than a week.
Per his request, Jim was buried on Monday, June 6, 2022, with his fishing hat, wearing a flannel shirt with six fly ties pinned to it, a crocheted scarf that Carol made for him, along with an afghan that she also made, and a pair of well-loved and worn jeans, with pictures of his family in his pocket and his fly fishing rod by his side.
The best husband, father, friend, neighbor, and fishing buddy anyone could ever hope to find, Jim’s family will miss him infinitely, and remember him fondly, every time they look at a river.
Jim’s family entrusted his care to Kevin J. Dusenbury, funeral director/owner of the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, Shinglehouse.
To express condolences, light a candle, or share a fond memory of Jim, please visit www.virgillhowardfuneralhome.com or the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home Facebook page.
“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It