James Herbert ‘Jim’ Chmielinski

Jim Chmielinski

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.

James Herbert “Jim” Chmielinski, formerly of Berne, died on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. He was 73.

“Jim was surrounded by family and passed peacefully at home in Cape Cod after a brave battle with cancer,” his children wrote in a tribute. 

He was born in Albany, the son of Mark and Agnes Chmielinski and the brother of Mark and Paul Chmielinski.

He was a United States Marine from 1967 to 1970, receiving the following honors: Good Conduct Medal 1st, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Medal of Honor, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Expert Rifle Badge.

He was known for always wearing his signature boonie hat. Following his service, he completed his bachelor’s degree in English and journalism at the University of Albany.

“Jim was a postal carrier and school-bus driver, seen all around our community, by many as a humble, kind, and helpful man,” his children wrote. “He was well read and wrote a few manuscripts. He thoroughly enjoyed teaching his kids about gardening, hard work, embracing differences, working on cars, and even yoga and meditation.

“Listening to Bob Dylan, hunting, fishing and camping with his boys were favorite pastimes. A vacation to Jim was escaping to Camp Sylvan Joys, a family home on Lake Sacandaga that he built alongside his dad.

“He always enjoyed meeting friends at the Hofbrau at Warners Lake for discussion ranging from politics to philosophy. At one time, he created a Lost Boys Club, a bunch of mountain men who met regularly.

“His selflessness was the pillar by which many measure themselves. When distraught, he would assure anyone that ‘this too shall pass’ and any time you needed to smile in a picture Jim would say, “That’s easy’ just say ‘29.’ Try it out; it works!”


James Herbert “Jim” Chmielinski is survived by his four children, Sara Piper and her husband, Timothy, of North Truro, Massachusetts; Laura Chmielinski and Derek of Albany; Jamey Chmielinski and his wife, Amanda, of Monterey, Massachusetts; and Luke Chmielinski and his wife, Katie, of Loudonville.

He is also survived by his grandchildren, Greyson, London, Jackson, Hudson, and Jordan; by his brother, Paul Chmielinski of Florida; and by several nieces, nephews and their families.

His brother, Mark Chmielinski, died before him.

“We would like to thank Sue Bright, his Visiting Nurse Association nurse and friend, who became a part of our family over the last two years,” his children wrote. “Thank you Beacon Hospice team for your incredible support.”

Memorial messages may be left at www.altamontenterprise.com/milestones.


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