Francis M. "Hank" Palczynski


HERKIMER - Francis (Hank) M. Palczynski passed away peacefully with his wife of 59 years, Maxine, by his side November 25, 2018. Hank was born November 17, 1928, in Little Falls, the son of the late Michael and Rose (Bindas) Palczynski who immigrated from Ukraine and Poland, respectively. He was united in marriage to D. Maxine Smith in Ilion United Methodist Church, March 21, 1959.

Hank graduated from Little Falls High School and Brockport State University where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. He credited the late George Cummings of Little Falls HS with encouraging him to attend college. After high school he worked locally for 2 years to save funds for college, becoming the first member of his family to earn a college degree. He was a multi-sport letterman, and a member of the choir and band in both high school and college. After Brockport he was drafted and served as a member of the 10th Mountain Division of the US Army stationed in Germany.  During his Army time he coached the base’s basketball team that travelled all around Europe and ultimately won the European championship against future NBA Hall of Famer, Larry Costello.

Hank conveyed his embrace of education, athletics, and the arts and the difference they make in lives to his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews in addition to the numerous students he taught and coached. 

Hank began his 32-year career as the Physical Ed teacher, coach of multiple sports including wrestling and Director of Physical Education, Health and Recreation for the Herkimer school system in 1956. He felt privileged to be able to teach and coach students in this community for over three decades, and found fulfillment in seeing their accomplishments and successes. His family is frequently reminded of Hank’s positive impact thanks to the appreciation so many former students have expressed over the years.

Hank was inducted into the NYSPHSAA Section 3 Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2000. At his induction he said "I feel very fortunate that somehow my life and career got me involved in wrestling....and at helping young men at a formative time in their lives." He was a Section 3 member and state delegate for many years, promoting boys and girls’ sports and extracurricular activities to the students of Herkimer and central New York.

After retirement Hank and Maxine literally travelled around the world, visiting Europe, the Middle East, and China. They loved their RV and spent many winters visiting their fellow “snowbirds” in Florida.

Surviving Hank are his wife, Maxine; son, Francis Palczynski II and daughter-in-law, Letha, of Coral Springs, Florida; daughter, Judy DeWitt and son-in-law, Paul, of Whitefish, Montana; granddaughter, Alexa Palczynski; grandson, Francis (Trey) Palczynski III; nieces, Julie Poetto and husband, Paul, of Scotia, Joan Guild and husband, Don, of Virginia and Carol Venezio and husband, Jim, of Guilderland; and many great-nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Joseph Palczynski; and sister, Catherine Jackamorch.

The family would like to extend special thanks to the caring and loving nurses and staff at Valley Health Services in Herkimer.

Calling hours will be held on Saturday, December 8, 2018 from 9:30  a.m. to 11:00 a.m., at the Enea Family Funeral Home, 220 North Washington Street, Herkimer.  A Memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. following the calling hours, with Rev. Joelle Faulks, officiating.

For those wishing to do so, please consider memorial contributions to the United Methodist Church of Herkimer. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Funeral Directors Harry and Kevin Enea and Martin Ciaccia.

Online condolences may be left at on the Internet.