Al Kostielney was born June 18, 1924 in Bronson Michigan to Ladislaw and Francis Kostielney. He was 19 when he enlisted in the United States Army to serve his country in World War II. Al served in combat with the 34th Division in the European Theater. When WW II ended, Al returned to Bronson and married Anne, the love of his life and wife of many years.
Together they began their family and moved to Traverse City Michigan where Al began his career with the Traverse City Fire Department. Al loved fishing and in Michigan the opportunities were limitless. On his days off from the Fire Department, he owned and operated a fishing guide service. In retrospect, the family is convinced this was simply a ruse that allowed him to fish more often. Al and his father together owned the Kostielney Bait Company. Kostielney Bait produced hand carved and painted fishing lures that were sought after throughout the Midwest.
In 1960 Al moved his family to California after accepting a position with the Lockheed Fire Department at Moffit Field in Sunnyvale. He rose through the ranks quickly and soon found himself a member of the command staff. In 1962 Al applied and was offered the position of Fire Chief for the City of Hollister. Al accepted the offer and served as Hollister’s first paid, full-time Fire Chief until his retirement from the fire service in 1974. He was a fierce advocate for serving the citizens of the community and he worked tirelessly to improve that service. Through his efforts, Hollister became the only Fire Department in the area to have the equipment for vehicle extrication and rescue, they began a comprehensive fire prevention program and added modern firefighting equipment. Although these programs and efforts had humble beginnings it was the foundation for the service Hollister has today.
Al continued working well into retirement. He was a painter, property manager, and representative for a popular fishing periodical. He also worked as a greeter and support person at Black Cooper Sander Mortuary. He continued working into retirement because he was not one to sit idle. The fishing periodical job was once again viewed by the family as a ruse to keep his fingers on the pulse of the “bite” at local fishing hotspots.
He finally retired and spent his time, fishing, hunting, and engaging in his favorite activity, spending time with his family. Al was a generous and caring man and once someone got past the eyebrows, they soon learned how caring and generous he was.
Al had a very strong sense of right and wrong and things were mostly black and white. He loved his creator and he served him faithfully. His good deeds and generosity spoke volumes and he truly lived the “golden rule”. He was a man committed to serving God and he touched many lives.
Al is preceded in death by his wife, Anne, sons Mark and Brian Kostielney and his sister Janet Dixon. Al will be missed by his, sister Judy Zenobia (Frank), Daughter-in-law Marcia, sons Kevin Kostielney (Becky), Blaise Kostielney (Mary), Matthew Kostielney (Andrea) and daughter Toni Howell, his grandchildren Kristin, Brianne and Erin, Brian, Danny, Seth, Jed Luke, Nicholas, Steven, Brianna and Madilynne and eleven great grandchildren. Al was lovingly known as Super Papa by his great children, Ozzie, Kaylene and Blaise.
The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to Dr. Benedict Carota, Omar and Carina Diaz, and his caregivers, Toni, Yvette, and Victor.
The service will be on Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at Sunnyslope Christian Center. The interment will be at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, 32053 West McCabe Rd. Santa Nella,California at 2:00 p.m.