Philip C. Kulinski, Jr. gracefully accepted his invitation to join his heavenly father following a lengthy and hard-fought battle with Parkinson’s disease. Although he bravely fought this fight for 18 years, the failures of the Trump administration to acknowledge the severity of the health crisis facing this nation (a/k/a the Trump virus) were too much to overcome (wear a damn mask, not for you, but for those you love).
Phil was born in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore in 1938, the son of Philip C. Kulinski, Sr. and Leona Zubrowski Kulinski, and was one of eight children raised in a classic Formstone-style row house in the 400 block of Wolfe Street. Although he loved his parents and each of his siblings with all his heart, the dire economic circumstances of the early 1940s required the family to subsist on standard Polish fare, with a heavy dose of pierogies, which led him to an eternal disdain for the Polish delicacy. Oddly enough, he never lost his taste for the classic Polish dish of kielbasa. He insisted that it be served every Christmas morning and Thanksgiving and it always had to be freshly made from Ostrowski’s, from John Ostrowski on Washington Street and not his brother Victor Ostrowski on Bank Street (also known as the Great Kielbasa War of Fells Point).
Always a hard worker, he began his first job at the age of 12 when an H.G. Connally oil truck pulled into the gas station beside his home. The driver asked if he wanted a job because his helper didn’t show up. Phil took on the helper role on Saturdays with the job of pulling the hose and winding it up after each delivery. After work, his mother would make him go to the public shower because he was covered in oil.
One of his favorite jobs in the early years was his work as a “pin monkey” at the Patterson duckpin bowling lanes at 2105 Eastern Avenue (which is still in operation today). He attended elementary school at Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church on Chestnut Street before attending Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. An exceptional athlete, he was named the all-Maryland #1 soccer goalie by the MSA and was ranked as one of the top 500 high school stars in basketball in the U.S by Dell Magazine in 1956 and was #1 for the state of Maryland in 1957.
After a successful, well at least from an athletic perspective, high school career he chose to serve his country by enlisting in the United States Navy as a radio operator. Ranking in the top 5 of members in the radioman operator class, he was given the option to choose where he would be stationed and he chose the Pentagon, where he served 15 months before finishing his service on the U.S.S. Kittiwake, a submarine rescue ship. Early on, Navy recognized Phil’s outstanding basketball skills and he was part of the Navy basketball team throughout his service.
Being a Navy man, he always enjoyed a good drink, and soon met his future wife, Virginia L. Kulinski (“Ginny”) while throwing back cocktails at The Maryland Inn in Ocean City, Maryland where Ginny was employed at the end of her sophomore year as she pursued her degree at the University of Maryland. Rumor has it that Ginny agreed to go out with him at 2:00 A.M. for their “first date” but at the time of this writing, Ginny would neither confirm or deny this rumor. Moonstruck by his All-American-Polish good looks and his love of gin and Squirt cocktails, the two were soon engaged and married on June 16, 1962 and shortly thereafter settled in the Ferndale suburbs of Baltimore or Glen Burnie, hon.
With a family soon on the way (that would be his two incredibly smart and talented children, Phil and Karen and possibly the authors of this???), like many of us, he searched for his life calling which led him to work at a local brewery. After observing a rodent drown in a vat of beer, he swore off the beverage for the rest of his adult life, which is why his family never observed him drink beer while eating steamed crabs, preferring instead Royal Crown Cola. This love of “RC” continued throughout his lifetime despite once finding a fly in a sealed bottle of RC. Being Phil, he promptly sent correspondence to the company to complain and was rewarded with free soda.
After the rodent / beer incident, Phil was fortunate to gain employment in August 1963 as a clerk at Eastern Stainless Steel in Essex, where he rose to area manager. While employed full time at Eastern, Phil decided to rectify a previous educational failure. He was academically dismissed from college in 1962 and a failure on his record was not acceptable to him. He enrolled in college in 1986, taking night classes to earn his BA degree in business from the University of Maryland in 1992, achieving a grade point average of 3.72.
During his time at Eastern he remained active playing on the company softball team and always enjoyed a good league bowling night where he served as president for many years for his league at Forest Hill Lanes.
After the collapse of the steel industry in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Phil took a compensation package from Eastern in 1995 and became a self-taught investor. In his retirement, he became a consultant for Iron Mountain and he traveled the country, making a habit of visiting amusement parks in various cities on his day off, where he really enjoyed riding roller coasters.
Astutely aware of his humble beginnings and coupled with his devotion to his church, Salem Lutheran in Jarrettsville, and his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Phil generously donated to the Delta Senior Center and Mason Dixon Community Services.
After his retirement, Phil enjoyed spending time with his family and grandchildren, who affectionately knew him as “Popsy.” He was particularly fond of enjoying Bethany Beach with his loved ones. A lover of dogs and all animals, neighbors and friends always knew Phil would have a biscuit or a treat for their special pet. Known for his sweet tooth, he took great pleasure in enjoying confections and had a peculiar affection for possibly the worst candy in the world, sen-sen. Seriously? What is that?
Phil would count as one of his greatest achievements teaching his children to interpret the Daily Racing Form. He surreptitiously arranged Saturday trips to West Virginia, notably Charlestown race track and Shenandoah Downs in the 1970s, as “educational events” to learn about John Brown and the Civil War. His children have fond memories of being treated to hot dogs and sodas when he hit the Daily Double.
Phil is survived by Ginny, his wife of 58 years, son Phil Kulinski and his partner Laurie Adelsberger, daughter Karen Edwards and her partner Steve Johnson, and three grandchildren, Kate Edwards, Ava Kulinski and Griffin Kulinski.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Phil’s name to the Delta Senior Center, Mason Dixon Community Services or Pacing 4 Parkinsons in support of the Johns Hopkins Movement Disorder Center.
Please comment and share a favorite memory with the family.
|Philip Casimir Kulinski, Jr.
|Date of Birth
|May 20th, 1938
|Date of Death
|January 8th, 2021
|Baltimore, MD, US
|York, PA, US
|In Memoriam Donation
|Mason Dixon Community Services
|In Memoriam Donation
|Pacing 4 Parkinson's
|St Margarets Episcopal Church
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published a comment .
Do you have any Navy pictures of Phil?
John - email me at karlou95 at gmail to let me know what you might need them for
published a tribute .
We are so sorry to read this. Our sincere condolences to you all. by the way, this is the best Obituary that i have ever read! It tells so well what a unique individual he was.
published a tribute .
When you’ve known someone for 60 years, it’s not easy to come up with a single memory or anecdote. Phil Kulinski was larger than life. He was one of those people who stand up when it counts. I’ll always be grateful to him and Ginny for the 3 years that they drove from Delta, every Wednesday, in whatever weather, to help keep our mother in her home. And the lunches he treated his “girls” to! I’ll cherish the day Henry and I spent with him while Ginny went to Kate’s college graduation. He was so proud watching the ceremony virtually at home! Then he bought us pizza for dinner. I am grateful for that day. Every life affects dozens of lives around them. We’re a lucky family. We all enjoy each other’s company, respect each other and love one another. We’ll miss you, Uncle Phil. But you left us a wonderful role model.
published a comment .
Phil, Karen, and family, we are so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to Mr. Kulinski. We will all be running faster in his honor this year during the P4P race.