|Garden Grove, California (Christmas 1968)
|Joseph Stephen Karpinski (1927-1998)
|Joe was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois; hence, within the family he was known as "Chicago Joe," as distinguished
|from the other Uncle Joe who hailed from Eureka, California, and received, quite logically, the moniker of "Eureka Joe."
|Chicago Joe entered World War II in 1944, as a seventeen-year-old, and served as an infantryman on the Italian front.
|At war's end, he wore the stripes of a corporal and was offered a promotion to the rank of sergeant, if he would reenlist
|in the army: but he declined. Joe had a jovial demeanor with seemingly little ambition, satisfied with a modest lifestyle,
|and he never married; but once, in a rare moment of candor, he mentioned that there had been a woman in Italy -- no
|details, just the inference of a wartime romance that fate and circumstance had crushed in the bud. As his main line of
|employment, Joe installed aluminum patio roofs and screened-in porches. In early 1961, he drove out to California and
|applied his trade there -- where a warm climate encouraged a lucrative market. Joe remained in southern California for
|nearly twenty years, renting an inexpensive bungalow in the city of Buena Park, six miles from the residence of his older
|brother, Edward, and family. In approximately 1967, Joe fathered a child with a longtime companion named "Jean." The
|child, a daughter named "Paula Jean Karpinski," had no contact with Joe's family, and her current whereabouts remain
|unknown. Eventually, Joe returned to his hometown of Chicago where he died from lung cancer in 1998 at age seventy.