J. Walter Szymaszek of Niskayuna died on Jan. 15, 2009, with his wife at his side.

Szymaszek was born in Bedzin, Poland and emigrated to Canada with his family as a young boy. He was educated in Niagara Falls, Ontario and received his BASc in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto. Walter did graduate work at MIT and RPI. He received a Bronze medal and citation for his work on the Manhattan Project, which he was awarded at a gala dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. He word for a number of years at Union Carbide, Niagara Falls, N.Y., before accepting a position in 1960 in the ceramic and metallurgy department of the GE Research and Development Center. He held a number of patents. Water was a member of the American Ceramic Society, past member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario and a member of the Presidents’ Circle, University of Toronto. He as a 37-year member of the Schenectady Curling Club. In retirement Walter enjoyed traveling with his wife, good music and reading.

Szymaszek is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 49 years, Dorothy; two nieces, Betty Strupp (August) and Diana Fischer (Pierre); nephew, Stanley Madei; great-nieces, Jennifer Melo, Clair Fluhr (Jeff), Helene Fischer; great-nephew, Chris Strupp (Jean) and he was especially proud of his great-great-nephew Max Fluhr.