Edward J. Kouneski, 73, trucker

January 28, 1994|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,Staff Writer

Edward J. Kouneski, a retired trucker known for his gentle nature and devotion to his grandchildren, died from a stroke early yesterday at Franklin Square Hospital. He was 73.

In 33 years on the road -- most of them with the now-defunct R. C. Motors freight company -- Mr. Kouneski never had an accident.

"No one was more courteous. He was from the old school of truckers, back in the days when truck drivers were looked up to," said his son Al Kouneski of Clarksburg. "When he was driving his own car, he always made sure to give trucks plenty of room on the road. He had his own language with them."

One of 13 children born on South Paca Street in an old Lithuanian neighborhood near Camden Yards, to an immigrant tailor, Mr. Kouneski spoke Lithuanian as a child. He went to Southern High School through the 11th grade before leaving to work. His first job was as a trucker's helper. Soon, he was behind the wheel and a member of the Teamsters.

"He drove for the rest of his life," said his son. In 1952, Mr. Kouneski won first prize at a "truckers rodeo" in Florida for handling his rig through a series of obstacles and other contests of driving skill.

Perhaps because he was away from home so often when his own children were growing up, Mr. Kouneski doted on his grandchildren. He lived with his daughter, Veronica, and her family in Overlea for the past 15 years. And although he enjoyed taking in a ballgame and reading history, his greatest love was participating in the lives of his grandchildren.

"He just lit up when they came in a room. Dad would tease them and call them funny names, and they'd laugh and giggle," said his daughter, Amelia Adornato of Baltimore.

Of her father's spirit, Mrs. Adornato said: "He wasn't boisterous or loud, but you knew his presence from his kindness. He was TC very humble, appreciative man. If you just gave him a mint in a box, he made you feel like you had given him the world."

When the weather was good, Mr. Kouneski enjoyed walking about two miles every morning. Before moving to Overlea, he was a longtime resident of Chapel Street in Fells Point and the Herring Run Park area. He was married for more than 50 years to the former Kathryn Cerko, who survives him.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church, 4414 Frankford Ave., Baltimore.

He is also survived by three other sons, Carol Kouneski and Dominick Kouneski, both of Baltimore, and Anthony Kouneski of Newark, N.J.; two brothers, Jules and Charles Kouneski, both of Baltimore; two sisters, Lillian Faggio and Amelia Macabee, both of Baltimore; 13 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to a favorite charity.

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