Leon F. Puszczykowski

Leon F. "Pusey" Puszczykowski, 33, was born August 16, 1906 to Martin and Josephine Puszcykowski. It should be noted that newspaper and other sources show the family name with different spellings. The Puszczykowski family lived at 1189 Whitman Avenue as early as 1910, when Whitman Avenue was still known as Pear Street, and remained there through the 1930s. Besides Leon, the family included older siblings Martin Jr., Katherine, Anthony, Bertha and Joseph, as well as younger siblings John and Rose. 

Leon Puszczykowski was well known for playing baseball with the Polish-American Citizens Club team in the mid-1920s and early 1930s. He also played with the St. Joseph's Polish Catholic Club. When he started playing he was a catcher, but later he played in the outfield. When his playing days came to an end he went behind the plate as an umpire, beginning with the 1934 season. He was in his day one of the best-liked and most efficient umpires affiliated with the Independent Umpires' Association. He officiated at many important games in various Camden and South Jersey semi-professional leagues. 

Officer Puszczykowski died on the operating table at West Jersey Hospital on October 24, 1939. His death was apparently due to complications from an accident he was involved in while on duty earlier in the day.

Office Puszczykowski was married and the father of two children, one only six weeks old at the time of his passing. The Puszcykowski family made their home at 1226 Decatur Street. Officer Puszcykowski's son, Leon Carl Puszczykowski, became a Camden fire fighter, and served for over twenty-one years. Officer Puszczykowski's wife Minnie, last a resident of Cherry Hill NJ, passed away June 1, 2001.

Camden Courier-Post - October 24, 1939

Arm Broken in Accident, Puszcykowski Dies While on Operating Table

Believed by physicians to have suffered a heart attack while regaining consciousness from the effects of gas which had been administered to set a broken arm, Leon F. "Pusey" Puszcykowski, 33, Camden motorcycle policeman and baseball umpire, died on the operating table at West Jersey Hospital yesterday.

The policeman was injured seven hours before he was taken to the operating room and apparently had been in the best of health except for the broken arm. He was examined before the anesthetic was administered and a surgeon pronounced 
his heart and general condition normal.

Coroner Ernest M. Larossa performed a post mortem and gave "acute heart failure" as the cause of death.

Both Larossa and Dr. H. Wesley Jack, chief surgeon at the hospital, agreed that Puszcykowski suffered the attack while recovering from the effects of the gas.

Health Seemed Normal

"I examined the officer's and general condition before the anesthetic was given," Dr. Jack said. "His health appeared to be normal. I had finished setting his arm and was holding it in my hands waiting for the plaster to harden when I heard the patient moan."

"That indicated to me that he was that he was coming out of the gas and it must have been shortly after that that he suffered the attack. The anesthetic had no effect on the man's heart because he would not have come out of it as he did if the gas had affected 

"It is an unfortunate coincidence that the attack came just as he was regaining consciousness. It could have happened at any time.

Dr. Larossa said Puszcykowski suffered no other injury in the accident than a broken arm.

No Other Problems

"We made a very careful examination in the post mortem and could find no other injuries" the coroner said. "I have no doubt as Dr. Jack said, that his heart was normal before the gas was given. The officer could have suffered such an attack while he was on a motorcycle or while he was sleeping. It just so happened he was stricken while he was on the operating table."

Puszcykowski was injured shortly after 9 a. m. yesterday while trying to avoid running into a truck on a wing, hilly driveway between Park Boulevard and Baird Boulevard in the rear of Camden High School.

City Detective Heber McCord, had of the accident bureau, said Puszcykowski told him he threw out his arm to avoid striking a truck driven by Ralph DiServio, 27, of 1349 Browning Street. The investigation, McCord said, absolved DiServio of any blame.

From statements by both the driver of the truck and Puscykowksi, it was learned each was going in opposite directions on the street.

Statement Is Taken

DiServio's statement ot McCord follows:

"I was rounding a curve and driving slowly down the hill, trying to keep as far to the right as I could keep when I saw the motorcycle officer coming toward me. The officer seemed to be having a hard time in controlling his wheel. He was standing up and seemed to be trying to balance himself.

"The officer got past the front part of the truck and then I heard something hit the back part. I stopped immediately. When I got to the rear of the truck the officer had gotten off the motorcycle. I asked him what happened and he told me he thought he had broken arm and he asked me to pull his arm.

"I asked him if he wanted me to take him to the hospital and he said 'no.' There was no damage to his wheel. Then I showed him my license and he said 'it was alright.' I again asked him if he I wanted me to take him to the hospital but he again refused.

Taken To Hospital

"Then Dan Cirrucci, of 301 Pine Street, drove by. We persuaded the officer to go to the hospital in Dan's car. The officer said 'all right, I will go.' Then I went to I work." 

The statement made by Di Servio was corroborated by John Perozzi, 116, of 301 Pine Street, and Anthony Rosato, 15, of 332 Line Street, both of whom were riding on the truck, McCord said. 

McCord was at the hospital when Puszcykowski was admitted. McCord said he was told by the officer that he thought he had broken his arm in trying to avoid striking the truck. 

When an X-ray examination showed a compound fracture the patient was admitted to the private ward reserved for members of the police and fire departments. McCord said Puszcykowski assumed all blame for the accident.

Clears Truck Driver

"Puszcykowski at first did not even want to have a report made of the accident" McCord said. "I explained to him that it was compulsory and he told me the accident was his fault and he did not want to see the truck driver get into trouble".

"Apparently, he had a hard time trying to keep his sidecar on the ground and that explains why he was standing up as DiServio stated. In making turns with a motorcycle and sidecar, it is difficult to keep the sidecar wheels on the ground. The motorcycle did not upset and was not damaged. Puszcykowski's arm was broken his elbow hit the back of the truck."

McCord said Puscykowski appeares "in good spirits" when he talked with him in the hospital and laughed and joked with other patients in the police and firemen's ward.

McCord said he will interview Dr. Larossa and Dr. Jack to ascertain whether the injuries Puszcykowski received had anything to do with his death. He will then make a report to Prosecutor Samuel P. Orlando.

Will Report To Orlando

"If he accident had no bearing on the death, I do no think DiServio ought to be held on a death charge," McCord said. "However I will report my findings to the prosecutor and follow his advice."

Stanley Ciechanowski, a funeral director, told police the officer was to have been an escort for a funeral held at 9 a.m. yesterday from St. Joseph's Polish R.C. Church. The 
accident occurred shortly before that time.

The funeral director said Cirucci, the motorist who took Puszcykowski to the hospital, came to the church and told him of the accident and said the officer could not keep the scheduled appointment.

Puszcykowski, the father of two children, one six weeks old. was one of the best-
liked and most efficient umpires affiliated with the Independent Umpires' Association. He officiated at many important games in various Camden and South Jersey semi-
professional leagues. He was an umpire for about five years.

Previously "Pusey" as he was known, played baseball with the Polish-American Citizens Club team about 12 years ago. He also played with the St. Joseph's Polish Catholic Club. When he started playing he was a catcher, but later he played in the 

He was appointed to the police department about a year ago. The funeral probably will be held Thursday from his home at 1226 Decatur Street

Camden Courier-Post - October 25, 1939

Solemn Requiem Mass to Be Celebrated for Leon F. Puszcykowski

Funeral services for Leon F. Puszczykowski, 32; Camden motorcycle patrolman and baseball umpire who died Monday on an operating table at West Jersey Hospital after he suffered a heart attack, will be held tomorrow morning at his home, 1226 Decatur Street

Solemn Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. in the Resurrection of Christ Church, Thurman Street and Mt. Ephraim Avenue. Burial will be in New Camden Cemetery. 

Puszczykowski suffered a compound fracture of the left arm while trying to avoid striking a truck on a winding driveway between Park Boulevard and Baird Boulevard in the rear of the Camden High School. He went to the hospital for treatment and suffered the fatal attack after the bone was set. Coroner Ernest Larossa performed an autopsy and gave "acute heart failure" as the cause of death. 

Puszczkowski, who was better known as Leon Pussey, played baseball with the Polish-American Citizens Club and St. Joseph's Polish Catholic Club teams. As a member of the Independent Umpires' Association he umpired many important baseball games. 

Surviving are his widow, Minnie; two children, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Martin Puszczykowski; a brother, John. and three sisters, Mrs. Katherine Ashbourne, Mrs. Rose Allen and Bertha Puszczykowski. All are residents of Camden.

Camden Courier-Post - June 3, 1932

Andrew McMahon - Ernie Brodebeck - Russ Gulbert - Ed McCurdy - Pyne Poynt A.A. 

Camden Courier-Post - August 10, 1933
Click on Images to Enlarge

Camden Courier-Post - sometime between 1929 and 1935 

Nicktern Twirls Rhone Leaguers to 8-4 Win; Hanna and Fulton Play 

Fergie McGrath's Popeye club, members of the Rhone Twilight League, easily defeated the Independent Umpires' Association in their annual contest last evening at Civic Center by the score of 8 to 4. 

At times, the game turned into a clownish affair, with both clubs attempting to excel each other in fun-making for the fans. Commissioner Frank B. Hanna, in addition to officiating, acted as a pinch-hitter for the "blindmen", while Samuel E. Fulton, president. 

of the Board of Education and also prexy of the Rhone Twilight circuit, officiated and pinch hit for the same outfit, getting a single in his lone trip to the plate, while Hanna walked and also scored.

Pat Heppard worked on the hill for the "umps" and was touched for 11 hits. The winners bunching these in the third inning when they scored five runs. Nicktern twirled for Popeye and gave up seven blows, two or which were made by Leo Pusey, while Vandy [VanderStraaten], Tully, Ackerman and Nicktern each collected a brace of blows for the winners. 

John Kowal - Ott Laxton - George Nicktern