We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Connecticut Cremations
Michael Jon Gumkowski, age 68, passed away on June 13, 2022. He was born in East Haven Connecticut on June 11, 1954 to Walter and Jean Gumkowski.
Michael loved his family, his friends, and the Connecticut shoreline. Although challenged by a series of debilitating health issues for the past 25 years, he battled every illness with relentless diligence and care, driven by the desire to see his family grow. His wife, Francine, and children, Simon Walter (Angelica) and Nina Marianne (Berk Calli), and newborn grandchild Charlotte Marie were the lights of his life and he was so proud of them all. His influence led Simon and Nina to become caring and compassionate adults. He was devoted to his mother who survives him also. She instilled in him the importance of honesty, a relationship with God, and a love of the Bible.
Growing up as an only child, Michael was close to his many cousins. Upon his marriage to Francine D’Eugenio in 1983, he gained seven D’Eugenio siblings, who harassed him lovingly and formed an incredible support system for him and Francine: Marianne (deceased), Eileen, Karen, Joanna, Michael, Franklyn, and Rosalind.
A proud graduate of East Haven High School, Michael continued his education at UConn where he was honored as a University Scholar and obtained a degree in Pharmacy. Although he was a practicing pharmacist for only a few years after graduation, he took great pride in his Connecticut pharmacy license and never let it lapse, acing each continuing education course right up until his recent hospitalization. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he earned a PhD in pharmaceutics, and accumulated lifelong friends who affectionately dubbed him ‘Mikey’ as they bonded over the card game, Setback. Although scattered across the US now, they continue to be referred to singularly as ‘The Setback Gang.’ After completing post-doctoral work at Duke University in 1987, he began a 25-year career in drug formulation research at Pfizer where he was widely respected for his integrity and expertise. In retirement, he took great joy in teaching students at Mass College of Pharmacy and Naugatuck Valley Community College.
Michael will be fondly remembered as the very tall guy who loved to sing with gusto - anything from the UCONN fight song to Broadway tunes to Chicago blues to the Great American Songbook. He had an appreciation of rainbows, moon rises, sunsets, and the first strawberries of June. The egrets, herons, ducks, and osprey visiting his backyard provided satisfactory entertainment while he read the New Yorker cover to cover with the sun at his back. A good meal and a comfortable chair always made him smile, and his chats with neighbors on his daily walks brought a smile to others. His insistence on being an adamant stickler for precision, following rules, and discarding anything that reached its expiration date was well known and not always appreciated, but he still managed to endear himself to everyone.
Michael will be greatly missed for his role as the keeper of the memories. His recall of facts and events was legendary. The personalized birthday poems he consistently and painstakingly crafted for his wife and children as a synopsis of their previous year are much loved treasures and will be missed.
A memorial service will be held in late summer by his family to honor this kind man who had such a good heart. The Cremation Society of New England has been entrusted with the final arrangements.