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William Kulhanek's Online Memorial Photo

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Memorial Biography

William David Kulhanek, born February 15, 1934 to Henry and Margaret Kulhanek in Rockville Centre, New York, passed away June 22, 2020 in San Diego. Survived by his brother John (Caroline), son, William (Shelly), and daughter, Suzanne (Steve), wife Laura, as well as grandchildren Jonathan (Lauren), Kelly, Christopher, Charles, Kyle, and Jill, and great-grandchildren Kaelyn, Emersyn and Jack. Preceded in death by his parents Henry and Margaret. As a young man he began his engineering career repairing televisions. After a stint in the US Army, Bill worked his way up in the engineering field, first for Cutler-Hammer on Long Island, then a 35+ year career with AIL Systems Inc., finishing his career in management. He loved to tell stories of his work on the LEM module for the space program. Most of his career he worked on the AN/ALQ-161 Electronic Countermeasures System for the B-1 Bomber program. Throughout his life he passionately enjoyed physical fitness, hiking, camping, sailing and scuba diving, all of which he shared with his son and daughter and later, grandchildren. He loved spending time with his children, doing anything he could to make their lives rich and full, and above all, happy. When the children were small, he loved taking them camping all around the New York area, teaching them to fish, hike, and enjoy nature. He loved scuba diving and mountain biking with his son, William. Wanting his daughter, Suzanne, to have a passion of her own he introduced her to equestrian sports, which he later joked turned out to be an expensive choice! He taught himself how to haul a horse trailer, and learned (not by choice) how to load a reluctant show horse into a trailer in thick fog at 5 am. He was always there by the side of the arena, coffee in one hand, boot-wiping rag in the other cheering her on. It is unlikely there ever was a man who loved the sea as much as he did. He spent as much time as possible on, in, or near the ocean, and loved sharing his passion with anyone he met. He had many adventures, including crewing on boat deliveries, crossing many oceans in the process, visiting the Marquesas and other island nations. He volunteered as a Captain for the National Parks Service, giving educational tours of the Channel Islands National Park, and also proudly held a Coast Guard Master certification. In his later years he worked repairing electric boats – anything to stay near the sea. This was a man who was salt-of-the-Earth, shirt-off-his-back to his core. He never had a cross word or negative thing to say. He was always thrilled to see his friends and family, and made sure they knew it. His joyful enthusiasm and positive outlook made it impossible not to smile, and quickly brushed away any bad mood. Never was this more apparent than when someone had a birthday. He absolutely loved singing Happy Birthday to anyone, anywhere. His was always the loudest, most joyful voice in the room. He firmly believed that no problem was so great that it couldn’t be solved with a bottle (or 2) of a nice Merlot! He never met a salad bar he didn’t like – he joked that he was personally responsible for several places changing their all-you-can-eat policy. He firmly believed you should never pay someone to do something you could do yourself. It seemed he knew a little about everything, and a lot about some things, and he always took the time to share what he knew, even if it meant stopping what he was doing to talk to anyone he thought he could help. Even at 5 foot 4, he was a giant among men, and all the special, unique and amazing things he shared with those he loved, will live on forever. You can shed tears that he is gone or you can smile because he has lived. You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left us. Your heart can be empty because you can't see him or you can be full of the love you shared. You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday. You can remember him and only that he’s gone or you can cherish his memory and let it live on. You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back or you can do what he’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on. -Anonymous