Michael Smerechniak

Michael Smerechniak, of Corrales, N.M., beloved husband to Marie Jo Miera Smerechniak; exceptional father to Michael, Paul, Elise and Elena; and proud Pop-Pop to eight cherished grandchildren, peacefully transitioned to the afterlife to join his mother, Lillian; father, Paul; brother Emil and cousin Dorothy in the heavenly skies on Aug. 19, 2021.
Michael was born June 2, 1927, and grew up in the South Bronx. He met his sweetheart, MJ, through her cousin Eduardo Gallegos and married at the University of New Mexico Thomas Aquinas Newman Center.
With the lure of the Big Apple and Jones Beach’s shores, he then convinced her to raise a family in Bayside, Queens.
His family was always his priority with his whole head and heart. He knew everyone’s birthday, calculating their days and years alive precisely, handcrafting customized cards with an engineer’s eye. He personally enjoyed 34,412 earthly days.
An avid stock market investor, he recommended Apple stock (AAPL) to anyone he met. He became a jigsaw puzzle enthusiast during his golden years to help keep his mind sharp. It worked!
He printed out articles that he thought were of interest to his family, and quizzed us often with current events, sports news and advances in engineering and science.
Michael never resisted an impulse to give generously. He gave to inspire travel, education and general happiness. His joyful mantra was “The more I give, the more I receive.”
Motivated by a genuine curiosity and compassion for others, he was known as a social instigator in the many community spaces he was a part of. He would never shy away from an opportunity to share wisdom, knowledge, and humor with his community members.
A regular attendee for Sunday Mass at San Ysidro Catholic Church, the pandemic altered his routine to virtual mass on TV. He enjoyed Turner Classic Movies, PBS and sports.
He brought family and friends together by organizing sports betting pools and small wagers on baseball games. March Madness was a favorite.
He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Engineering at New York University and parlayed his education into a career building renowned aircraft like the still-in-service A-10 Warthog, B-1 Lancer and the space shuttle.
His time-efficiency expertise served all of us, as he was a DIY fix-it, problem-solving guy. His “Work smarter, not harder,” ethos permeated the family home, with a garage filled with a tinkerer’s treasures.
His witty commentary, wry takes on the news, family antics and expansive approach to life made playing hours of consecutive gin rummy games fly by in what seemed like minutes. Known for prolific and perpetual punning, he was the father of all dad jokes.
Michael loved plants, animals and all of nature. His Manalucie tomatoes were the envy of the neighborhood.
He’d agree with A.A. Milne’s quote, “Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them,” as his Corrales garden was a colorful, living example. His dog, Penny, was his loyal companion.
He had the gift of gab and loved wordplay, the Daily Jumble and dictionaries. He was a lifelong learner who loved sharing the beauty and ironies of life.
His hearty, appreciative laugh and sense of humor will be missed by everyone, including friends at the Meadowlark Senior Center who enjoyed his sharing the “Word-of-the-Day” calendar at lunchtime.
Before he left for his new plane, he made sure to tell everyone he loved them and reminded us, “what a wonderful world,” we have. His spirit is here, with us, with his 101-year-old cousin Olga and in the laughter of his grandchildren: Richie, Lauren, Stephanie Marie, Sean-Paul, Emily, Samantha, Allyson and his favorite, Sydney Rae.