John Cwirko

john cwirko

February 7, 1929 ~ January 28, 2021

John R. Cwirko, a caring, compassionate man to all who knew him, passed away on Thursday, January 28, 2021. He would have been 92 on Super Bowl Sunday.

A native of New Jersey, he was born on February 7, 1929 in Jersey City. He grew up in Teaneck and attended Teaneck High School. After joining the Navy in 1946 he was deployed to Southeast Asia. John was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1949 and was awarded the WWII Victory medal. In civilian life, John worked for IBM in Manhattan while living in Harrington Park, New Jersey, all the while looking after his mother. Although never married himself, John had a deep commitment to the rest of his family and their spouses and children, always there to help them when he could. But, alas, the call to sea lured him again and John joined the Merchant Marines in 1969 and earned a degree as a Pharmacist Mate. He then subsequently embarked on a decade’s career as a Purser on the prestigious SS United States luxury ocean liner. John’s passion to serve others was fully realized in this third career move. After John satisfied his wanderlust at sea, he settled in Bergen County, initially in Dumont with his brother Stanley, and then, finally, in Fort Lee. In his last career move, still reflecting his commitment to others, John began a career as a driver, a patient transporter and the proverbial “Jack of all trades” at the Bergen County Nursing Home in Rockleigh, New Jersey at the ripe young age of 60. He served at that institution for nearly 23 more years. Even after John’s “official” retirement from BCNH, he continued to volunteer 2-3 days a week to keep in close contact with the staff and patients, who enjoyed his presence immensely, right up until COVID emerged in March 2020.

John set the bar high as a devoted son, brother, uncle, great uncle, god-father, mentor, coworker and true friend.

John was preceded in death by his father, Ignatius, his mother, Lottie, his brothers, Stanley, Richard, Joseph, his sister, Ann. He is survived by sister-in-law, Bernice, nephews, Arnold and Jeffrey, niece, Debbie and great nephew, Anthony.

John’s ashes will be interred at Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton Long Island. There he will have a service with military funeral honors at a date TBD in May 2021.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Uncle John you will be missed .You were my best man at my wedding ,we always talked about the fun times in Atlantic City and Longport .The ski trips to Vermont , the list goes on and on .I remember when you gave the speech at my wedding and you said "This is one trip I am not going on with you ! Enjoy your honeymoon" .Here is to wishing we had one more trip together, but now I have another Angel in heaven. GOD BLESS YOU UNCLE JOHN ,may you rest in peace.

  2. John, you were like a guardian angel who, by chance, appeared in my and my Mom's life almost 50 years ago. You have fulfilled that role for me ever since then. What would I have done without you? Rest in peace now in God's eternal care.
    With love and sadness,

  3. John,

    May the road rise to meet you
    May the wind always be at your back
    May the sunshine warm your face
    May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

    Oh, and…
    May you be in heaven half hour before the devil knows you're gone.
    Thank you for all your love and devotion over the years.
    You will be missed.

    Larry Sr.

  4. John,
    I wish we could have seen you one last time here at Bergen County Health Care. This was your second home and you will be truly missed. You were so sweet and always made me laugh. I will miss you John may you rest in peace.

  5. Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us everyday. Unheard but always near still loved still missed and very dear. John…the boys and I will miss seeing you out east but will cheers to you with a FULL glass of Riesling. Xoxo Alexa, Markos, Theo and Gabe

  6. Thank you for the pleasure of knowing and your friendship over the years.
    Respectfully yours,
    Matt & Claire Kane

  7. I am so sorry for the loss of such a wonderful man. John always had an infectious, upbeat attitude. He didn't let anything keep him down. He just kept on trudging along. He was greatly loved, and will be greatly missed.

  8. I am Uncle Johnny’s niece Debbie. It wasn’t until today on my own search I found his notice. He was my Mother’s brother and my God father. He was loved dearly. We spent many years together. My memories are of a loving, compassionate man that was kind to all. We spent many times reliving the past together. I’m sure he is in heaven looking down on us all with love. I will miss him

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