Celeste L. Kucinski

Aged: 82
Celeste L. Kucinski (Carbe) passed away peacefully and entered the Gates of Heaven on Friday, August 27, 2021. Known for her faith, positive outlook on life, and sense of humor, she was adored by all who had the pleasure of meeting her. Her parents, Victor and Minnie Carbe (Perilla) would often recall the story of her entrance into the world on December 13, 1938. After her harrowing premature birth, the attending physician had little hope for her survival and told her parents, “I will give you a silver dollar if she makes it”. We never found out if the physician ever made good on his promise, but suffice it to say, he greatly underestimated Celeste’s tenacity.Despite her initial bleak odds, she thrived in childhood as she enjoyed being a self-professed “tomboy”. Eschewing the gender norms of the time, she preferred to play basketball and football with her brothers and neighborhood children, rather than wear dresses and play with dolls. Her favorite memories also involved climbing trees and riding bikes. In her adolescence, she began developing a personal relationship with God. Her growing spiritual life led her to enthusiastically participate in prayer and Bible retreats in her early adulthood. Her fascination and reverence for all things church-related then fueled her desires to become a nun. Fortunately, for her children’s sake, her father talked her out of that idea. She did, however, become a devout Born-Again Christian. As a member of Hazleton Full Gospel Fellowship church for 30 years, she was a deaconess, executive board member, and served on the outreach, prison, and hospital ministries. She had the privilege to worship in the church band as a pianist and guitarist. She demonstrated daily that she possessed a servant’s heart and found joy in telling others about Jesus.

Despite her love of reading, she was never fond of formalized education, so when she happily graduated from Hazleton High School in 1956, she considered herself officially finished with school. Yet a few years later, her mother encouraged her to further her education and she obediently, albeit reluctantly, complied. Surprisingly, she thoroughly enjoyed this advanced education that led her to become a Surgical Technologist. Celeste proudly performed this work in operating rooms for years prior to leaving to raise her children. She would later return to the health care field in administrative roles at Hazleton St. Joseph’s Hospital where both patients and co-workers consistently valued and praised her compassionate demeanor and empathetic nature. After leaving the health care field, she soon became restless and accepted a position at Wendy’s because she loved interacting with others.

A native of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, she spent her retirement years in Florida where she experienced an active life full of daily adventures near the place that brought her endless joy—the ocean. Discovering a newfound interest in the sport of Chair Volleyball with her new friends at the Largo Recreation Center also brought her great pleasure and endless laughter. She also appreciated simple pleasures like a good cup of tea, buttered toast, and any type of chocolate dessert. Appreciating nature was equally as satisfying. Her last three years were filled with the beauty of palm trees, tropical flowers, walks on the beach, drives along the coast, glorious sunsets, and discovering weeping willow tree lined streets. She found gazing at the sky as storm clouds rolled in over the ocean and the subsequent powerful display of lightning strikes and roaring thunder to be both awe-inspiring and exhilarating. She much-preferred stormy skies over sunny, cloudless days. Watching the endless loop of boat traffic in Clearwater Beach was another favorite amusement. The Little Toot, Calypso Queen, shark boat, and pirate ship were constant companions as she watched them from her beloved powder blue painted bedroom.

Known affectionately by many as Mama Celeste, she considered the role of mother her greatest honor. She is survived by her adoring children Celeste V. Kucinski (partner Mark Lewandowski) Clearwater Beach, FL.; Marlon Kucinski, Clearwater Beach, FL; Dr. Gina Whalen (husband Travis Williams), Orwigsburg, PA.; Lenny Kucinski (wife Bobbi), St. Pete’s Beach, FL; and grandsons Zack Whalen, Pensacola, FL; and Leo Kucinski, St. Pete’s Beach, FL, and brother Victor Carbe, Hazleton, PA. She is preceded in death by ex-husband Leonard Kucinski, her grandson Israel Whalen, and brother Raymond Carbe.
It is important to note that Celeste never took herself too seriously and vehemently promised her children that she had no regrets in her life. And as Celeste would often say, “That’s the story!”.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at Full Gospel Fellowship Church, Hazleton, PA on a date to be determined in the near future. It will also be live-streamed for those who are unable to attend in-person. To be notified about the service date and time, contact her daughter Celeste at 570-578-2157.

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