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Joseph J. Szymanski

August 14, 1934 ~ August 30, 2020 (age 86)

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SALEM – Mr. Joseph J. Szymanski, 86, of Salem, beloved husband of the late Barbara E. (Duffy) Szymanski for 60 years, passed away at his home on August 30, 2020.

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, he was the son of the late John and Sophie (Tokarz) Szymanski. He was raised and educated in Rhode Island and was a graduate of LaSalle Academy in 1952. He continued his education at Providence College, graduating as a member of the class of 1956. He went on to earn his PHD in Physics at Harvard University.

Professor Szymanski began his teaching career at his Alma Mater, Harvard University, where he was a member of the Physics Department for 6 years. He then moved his wife and three young daughters to Salem in order to provide them with the most wonderful of childhood experiences.  For 31 years, he was an educator in the Physics and Chemistry Department up until the time of his retirement. 

Joseph was a longtime and dedicated communicant and Eucharistic Minister at the Immaculate Conception Church in Salem. He loved his church and all the friends he made there.  He and his beloved wife, Barbara, were very active in the community volunteering monthly, as cooks, at My Brother’s Table in Lynn, serving as Chairman of the Triad Council at the Salem Council on Aging and as members of the AOH Division 18 in Salem. In his spare time, Joe enjoyed solving crossword puzzles and challenging his family with Physics questions and riddles. His wicked sense of humor would make you both laugh and groan at the same time. What he loved most of all, though, was taking care of his family. He loved his wife and daughters to the moon and back.

Joe is survived by his daughters, Maria Yonika and her husband Bruce of Enfield, CT, Lisa Ackerman and her husband Douglas of Uxbridge and Kristina Karolides and her husband Peter of West Palm Beach, FL, his grandchildren, Elise and Leah Yonika, Stephen and Bethany Ackerman and Dillion and Matthew Karolides and several nieces and nephews. He was the brother of the late Walter Szymanski, Sophie Zagroski and Mary Sweet.

ARRANGEMENTS: Relatives and friends are invited to visiting hours at O’Donnell – Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations, 84 Washington Sq., (at Salem Common) Salem, Tuesday, Sept 8th from 4 to 6 P.M.. All attendees are required to wear face coverings, practice social distancing and are respectfully asked for no physical contact with the family. His funeral Mass at the Immaculate Conception Church, Salem is private. Burial in Highland Memorial Park, RI. Expressions of sympathy may be made in Joseph's memory to the Plummer Youth Promise, 37 Winter Island Rd., Salem, MA 01970.  To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph J. Szymanski, please visit our floral store.


September 8, 2020

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
The O'Donnell Funeral Home
84 Washington Square
Salem, MA 01970


the Plummer Youth Promise
37 Winter Island Rd, Salem MA 01970

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