Emil William Faltisek, Jr., 94, passed away peacefully at home in Lake Jackson on March 12, 2021. He was born on March 31, 1926 to Emil Faltisek and Helen Keprta in East Bernard. 

He grew up with five sisters and was affectionately called “Sonny.” Immediately after graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force and became a B-17 bomber tail-gunner in World War II. By 19 years of age, he was honorably discharged after flying 24 European missions, and awarded the Victory Medal, Air Medal with two Bronze Leaf Clusters, Sharpshooters Medal, American Theater Ribbon, European-African-Middle Eastern Medal with three Battle Stars and the Good Conduct Medal.

Emil married Ollie Rachunek in December 1946 and soon after they moved to Lake Jackson. He began his 39-year career as an instrument technologist with Dow Chemical Company, where many co-workers knew him only as “Kingfish.” When there were problems, Kingfish was the one called out to solve them, often in the middle of the night. Emil and Ollie had seven children and raised them in the same home where Emil lived until his death. They are active members of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church and previously of its home parish St. Mary: Star of the Sea Catholic Church.

Emil was truly one of the “Greatest Generation” who knew how to make-do and solve problems. He was hard working and responsible, a faithful believer, brave and honest, a man of integrity. Truly one of a kind, he’s been described as “a diamond in the rough” and “salt of the earth.” Well known for his directness and brutal honestly, he was also quite charming, with a sense of humor and a quick wit. He enjoyed staying busy, fixing anything broken (even if it meant designing a needed part), woodworking in his garage or at side jobs, tending to his cows and spending time at “the pasture.” He was an expert carpenter, often volunteering his skills at his church and Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic School. As “Gramps,” he especially loved holding and spoiling the babies, reading to the youngest, giving tractor rides, pushes in the tire swing, playing ball or attending ballgames. He enjoyed hunting at the deer lease, playing poker and dominoes, getting together with his large extended family of relatives and always entertaining with his jokes. In later years, be began recalling his war-time experiences and spoke to audiences on several occasions of his amazing adventures. Active even at 93, Emil began each day on his exercise bike, while praying his rosary and before working his daily crossword puzzle.

In addition to his parents, Emil is preceded in death by his Bill (Emil William III), grandson Colin Samway and his sisters Helen (W.J. “Dub”) Aubertin, Annette (Maurice) Weber, and Bernie (John) Reed.

His family left to cherish his memory include his wife Ollie; his sisters: Yvonne (Tom) Krenek and Patsy Faltisek; his children: Debby O’Donnell, Catherine Samway, Monica (Joel) Ford, Teresa (Paul) Gaspard, Tim (Carla) Faltisek, and Paul Faltisek; 13 grandchildren: Amy McDaniel, Bryn (Brandon) Potter, Kyl (Natalia) Samway, Courtney Bowman, Justin (Sarah) Ford, Hollyn Ford, John (Alex) Champion, Emily (Jason) McIntire, Hayden Gaspard, Kabel Faltisek, Ryan Faltisek, and Garreth Faltisek; and eight great-grandchildren: Jack Bilello, Bryce and Brayden Potter, Rydge and Bannock Bowman, William and Madeleine Ford, and Sage Maloy; numerous nieces and nephews in the Faltisek and Rachunek families.

Honorary pallbearers include Tim Faltisek, Paul Faltisek, John Champion, Kyl Samway, Justin Ford, Hayden Gaspard, Ryan Faltisek, Jack Bilello, Kabel Faltisek, and Garreth Faltisek. The family offers their sincere gratitude to the caretakers and hospice personnel who lovingly cared for Emil.

Memorial services were Wednesday, March 24 at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Lake Jackson, with a visitation at 10 a.m. and rosary at 10:30 a.m., followed by the Mass of Christian burial at 11 a.m. Interment followed at Restwood Memorial Park with military funeral honors.

For the safety of all who attended, guests were asked to observe COVID-19 guidelines and thanked attendees for masking and social distancing. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to The St. Vincent de Paul Society or to the charity of personal choice.