Paul E. Okarski

1925 - 2015

HARTWICK - Paul Edward Okarski, 89, a retired defense contractor employed for 37 years with Sperry Gyroscope Corporation, passed away Sunday evening, August 30, 2015, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, just three days shy of his 90th birthday.

Born September 2, 1925, in Peabody, Massachusetts, Paul was a son of Frank Joseph Okarski and Anna née Krusciewicz Okarski and resided in Lynn and later Newton, Massacusetts.

On August 11, 1942, Paul entered into active service in the United States Navy and proudly served his country during World War II as a Naval Aviator. Ensign Okarski received his Honorable Discharge from the US Navy on October 22, 1945. Following his military service, Paul attended Middlebury College in Vermont, and graduated with the Class of 1951 with a degree in physics.

In July of 1951, he joined the Industrial X-Ray Division of Westinghouse as an Applications Engineer, but in September 1952 he began a career with the Sperry Gyroscope Company that would span four decades. Starting as a Field Engineer, he became involved with the Sparrow I missile program. Paul did on-site installation, checkout, calibration and operational activation of missile associated radar and ground support equipment, as well as in-plant contracts. He also served as a technical liaison between engineering and field support personnel.

In June 1956, he became a Representative Associate for the Air Armament Division, and in August 1957, Paul was promoted to the Counter Measures Division of Sperry Gyroscope where as a Marketing Representative he was responsible for the contract administration of the $100 million B-52 airborne integrated countermeasures system. This equipment utilized high accuracy multiple jamming techniques, sophisticated receivers and flight test equipment and provided a new measure of protection for our superbombers of the era. In 1960 Paul advanced to Senior Marketing Representative of the Radiation Division where he was responsible for marketing and contract administration of the US Navy's TALOS missile program. In 1963, Paul became the Senior Marketing Representative for the Information and Communications Division of Sperry Gyroscope. He had overall responsibility for sales and contract administration of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Systems including submarine fire controls and state-of-the-art sonar systems, as well as the preparation and execution of market plans for sophisticated intelligence equipment.

Through the 1970s and 1980s as Sperry Gyroscope became, though acquisitions and mergers, Sperry Rand, Sperry Univac, then simply the Sperry Corporation, Paul's responsibilities continued to grow. Elevated to Senior Overseas Contract Manager he travelled extensively world-wide, and was considered by his peers to be one of Sperry's top contract negotiators. He retired in 1989.

Throughout, Paul was a dedicated and loving family man. Married in 1957 to Barbara E. Okarski, also employed by Sperry Gyroscope, they had four children, all of whom have fond memories of vacationing in Florida where many now reside, as well as learning to ski and sharing may fun times on the slopes at Scotch Valley Ski Area in Stamford. Paul loved to be outdoors and enjoyed designing and building tree houses, doll houses, go-karts and even a backyard ice skating rink for his children and grandchildren. He loved a long road trip by car, a good grilled steak, and growing the best tomatoes. He paid attention to detail and believed any job worth doing was worth doing well. He imparted much wisdom to his family including having pride in our country, being happy, not worrying, and being brave. He was a man of science, who valued education, and was happy to share his knowledge with his family. He cared for us, participated in our lives, and made us better people. In his retirement, Paul built his dream house in Stamford, and enjoyed a relaxed lifestyle while skiing throughout New York and New England until the age of 82. Most recently, he made his home with his youngest son, Steven, in Hartwick for the past five years, and enjoyed all of the comforts of home and the benefits of the life he worked so hard to build.

Paul is survived by his four children; Lawrence Paul, Carol Ellen, and Scott Edward and his wife, Kristen, all of Ormond Beach, Florida, and Steven Edward of Hartwick; their mother, Barbara, of Port Orange, Florida; four grandchildren, Brian, Jason, Kelli and Abby; two nieces, Christie Lyons-Otto and her husband, Luther, of Athol, Massachusetts, and Mary Lyons of Paris, France; and two nephews, Joseph Lyons of Boston, Massachusetts, and David Okarski and his wife, Diane, of Los Angeles, California.

He was preceded in death by a granddaughter, Anna Elizabeth Okarski, and all of his siblings; Edward Okarski, Helen née Okarski Lyons and Joseph Okarski.

The Okarski family received friends on Saturday, September 5, 2015, from 1 until 3 p.m. at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut Street, Cooperstown. A brief prayer service concluded the visitation, with the Rev'd Paul R. Messner, pastor of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hartwick Seminary, officiating.

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.