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Gary J. Kurowski
Gary Kurowski, much beloved husband and father, passed away peacefully in his Davis home on July 26th.
Born on March 22, 1931 to John and Adele Kurowski in North Dakota, Gary grew up in Fargo, graduating from Ford High school in 1949. He attended University of Minnesota, majoring in mathematics and graduated in 1954. His first job was with North American airlines where he briefly worked on airplane wing calculations. He was only there 10 days before being drafted into the army for the Korean War.
He often reflected that during boot camp in Missouri he had to peel mountains of potatoes. After two years in the army, he attended graduate school through the GI bill at Carnegie Mellon.
Upon graduation, he followed his advisor to Duke University, where he worked on IBM computers. He got the amazing opportunity to visit the Pentagon and present calculations for arming helicopters with machine guns.
He met his wife Hilda, who also attended Duke University, on a blind date. Apparently, their friends at school felt they must meet because they were both from the uncivilized wild-west (which they defined as anything East of the Mississippi River).
Gary and Hilda married in 1963 and moved to Davis, California where they celebrated 58 years of marriage. Gary started teaching in the UC Davis Mathematics department. He briefly worked with early computers before transferring focus to instructing graduate level mathematics. Gary and Hilda started their family and had three children, Holly, Lisa and Laurie.
At home Gary could often be found reading or watching TV in his recliner chair. He valued his quiet time but always was available to help his children with their homework. Besides being an excellent instructor, he was a skilled crafter, building beautiful cabinetry and other home improvement projects. He learned woodworking helping his father build the family lake cabin in Minnesota.
He didn’t like to travel much, but loved being near water. As a child, vacations consisted of summer visits to his parents’ lake cabin. As an adult he took yearly trips with his family to the Pacific coast.
As a father and a friend, Gary was a very thoughtful, gentle and unpretentious man with an excellent dry sense of humor. His faith was his guiding light in how he lived a life of high integrity and he remained strong in his faith even when he was no longer able to attend church in-person due to health issues. He and Hilda equally instilled in their children the value that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to it.
Gary is survived by his daughters Holly (Michael Fell), Lisa (Joseph Victoria), Laurie. He will be dearly missed.
There will be a celebration of life to remember Gary on August 24 at 10 am at the Davis Cemetery and a reception to follow at the Davis Lutheran Church. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Yolo Hospice.
When I started my PhD program and UCD I had the honor of taking some math classes from Prof Kurowski (he was always Prof Kurowski to me). We developed a special bond when I had to miss one of his lectures the morning my middle daughter was born. During PhD studies and subsequent lecturing at UCD, whenever I bumped into him he would jab me with that "lame" excuse for missing one of his lectures!
Joe Holland Aug 24 2022 4:17 PM
A candle was lit in memory of Gary Kurowski
Peter and Nina van Bronkhorst Aug 23 2022 7:54 PM
A great obituary, filled with memories some of which I remembered from conversations with Gary and Hilda (and their daughters) during our years at Davis Lutheran.
Recollections with a wonderful and loving touch by their daughters.
Pastor Dick and Jean Smith
Pastor Dick Smith Aug 16 2022 1:47 PM