In order from most recent to most distant past, we remember our friends and fellow Chapter 60 members who have "flown West."
Filip J. "Philip" Smecko, 19, of Janesville, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, May 26, 2017 in a single engine plane crash near Sheboygan, WI. He was born in Chrzanow, Poland on October 24, 1997, the son of Marta Smecko. Philip graduated from Milton High School in 2016. He was previously employed at Famous Footwear in Janesville. His passion in life was flying. His dream was to become a commercial pilot and fly the Airbus for the airlines one day to Poland where he was born and around the world. At his young age of 19, he had already received his instrument rating and was halfway through obtaining his commercial rating when this incident happened. His passion for flying was so strong that he turned down a football scholarship to a Division 2 university.
Philip also enjoyed track and field and playing football for Milton High School, where his team was Badger Conference Champion two years in a row in 2014 and 2015. Philip had the honor of starting both years as defensive end and made some game changing plays. His favorite event in track and field was the 110 yard high hurdles. Those who saw him run always commented how he ran with such ease and stepped over the hurdles like a deer. He qualified at the WIAA sectional track meet for 2015. He was an outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing.
Spending time with family and friends was important to him, as well as being a wonderful role model to his younger siblings, Joey and Olivia. Philip will be remembered for always having a smile on his face, and flexing his muscles for all to see.
Philip is survived by his mother, Marta Smecko; father John Smecko; brother Joey; sister Olivia; step brother Johnny; grandparents Joseph and Czeslawa Antoszuk, and several aunts, uncles, cousins, other family members, and friends. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Margaret and Joseph Smecko. Funeral services were held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at New Life Assembly of God, 2416 N. Wright Rd., with Rev. Aaron White officiating.
Editor's Note: Philip had just recently joined Chapter 60 in February of this year, so we did not have the opportunity to get to know him well. But we were very impressed with his aviation knowledge and enthusiasm and his "great first impression" had us celebrating what he would no doubt have brought to our group. He will be missed.