Cover photo for John J. Gawronski's Obituary
John J. Gawronski Profile Photo
1967 John 2024

John J. Gawronski

April 23, 1967 — April 19, 2024

John Joseph Gawronski, proud owner of the Wilson Funeral Home, 56, of Norwich, died on Friday, April 19, 2024 with his loving family by his side after succumbing to ALS.

Born on April 23, 1967, in Erie, PA, John was son of Gerald and Madonna (Murray) Gawronski and the sixth of their seven children. Along with his family, and in addition to Erie, John previously lived in Durham, NC, Stamford, CT, Fort Wayne, IN, and Washington, DC. After graduating high school, John earned a bachelor’s degree from the George Washington University (GWU), in Washington, DC.

Soon after graduating college, John began work on the legislative staff for a US Congresswoman, then as a congressional relations director for a national non-profit association. John loved this work but left it to focus on his family. He also worked in the newsprint, wireless communication, and banking industries. John completed graduate studies in secondary education at GWU. It was not until 2009 when he found the career he would find most rewarding of all — that of a funeral director. John was offered a position by Douglas Wilson, owner of the Wilson Funeral Home, in Norwich. He attended mortuary school soon thereafter, graduated magna cum laude, and was licensed as a funeral director in 2012. After a few years, John bought the business from Doug, which he was grateful to own until his death and to have worked alongside John Antonowicz since 2014. John was passionate about helping the families he served to overcome their grief and loss. He called such work his “vocation.”

While working in Washington, DC, John was hurting for cash and decided to sell his Honda 650 motorcycle. The person who ended up purchasing the bike would become his beloved wife, Shannon (Heath) Gawronski, who survives. The two were wed on September 2, 1995, and spent the next 28 years devoted to one another and to raising the three children they adored.

There was nothing in the world John enjoyed more than spending time with his wife and children. While his kids were younger, he could always be found at the sidelines or pool side cheering on his very talented and athletic children, as well as attending their concerts, plays, and other events. John was the type of father who made his kids’ school lunches every day before school. He also placed a very high premium on education, and was very pleased to see each of his children graduate college. He loved each of his children so dearly and encouraged them always.

Other activities John enjoyed included riding his 1300cc motorcycle next to his wife on her 650cc, traveling when he was able, spending time with his parents, siblings, and in-laws, each of whom he loved, and watching sunsets out on the back deck of his home. He also was an insatiable reader and lover of many genres of music, but especially the blues. It was typical to ride in John’s car and hear the Allman Brothers Band or Stevie Ray Vaughan. John was a fan of craft beers, was a die-hard Tarheel basketball fan, dabbled with guitar playing, and followed politics closely. His longtime wish was that politicians and Americans would get away from divisiveness and more toward compromise. John repeatedly promoted the virtue of humility to his family, friends, and workmates. He was self-deprecating and liked to make people laugh.

In addition to his wife, Shannon, John is survived by his wonderful children, Erin (Rich Droser), Gabriel, and Katie Gawronski; grandson and namesake, Miles John; father, Gerald Gawronski; siblings and their spouses, each of whom John loved deeply, Tom (Alice) Gawronski, Mary (Chris) Kelly, Jim (Daron) Gawronski, Bob Gawronski, and Joe (Nicole) Gawronski; sixteen amazing nieces and nephews, and their families; cherished aunt, Geraldine Murray; kind and loving in-laws, Faith and Tom Neal, and Cheryl Heath, and their families; and fourteen cousins and their families.

John was predeceased at a young age by his brother, Bill, in 1979, and by his mother, Madonna Gawronski, in May 2022, the funeral of which John oversaw to honor his mother. He was also predeceased by his loving and supportive father-in-law, Larry Heath.

John’s family is deeply grateful for the unwavering support of John’s caregivers. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Cheryl Heath, John’s nursing staff, and personnel at Hospice – where John served on the Board – he was able to remain at home for the duration of his illness. John’s family also appreciates the community’s constant displays of love and support, including the car-parade in John’s final days.

A Mass of Christian Burial for John will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, 2024, at St. Paul's Church, 30 Pleasant Street, Norwich, where the Rev. Ralph A. Bove will officiate. Friends are invited to call at the Wilson Funeral Home, 68 South Broad Street, Norwich, on Friday, April 26, from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. A private burial will be held at St. Paul's Cemetery.

Contributions in John’s memory may be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Chenango County, 33-39 Court Street, Norwich, NY 13815, the Norwich Family YMCA, 68 North Broad Street, Norwich, NY 13815, or the ALS Association, 1300 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 600, Arlington, VA 22209.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted with the Wilson Funeral Home.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John J. Gawronski, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

First Visitation

Friday, April 26, 2024

2:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Second Visitation

Friday, April 26, 2024

6:00 - 9:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Saturday, April 27, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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