David J. “Dave” Gielskie
“Dave” Gielskie, 85, of Hamden, passed away on Wednesday evening, April 11, 2018
at O’Connor Hospital following a brief illness.
born on February 14, 1933; the fifth of John and Mary (Burk) Gielskie’s nine
children. John Gielskie, an immigrant from Poland, established the family farm
on the Back River Road in DeLancey, and Dave grew up working the farm with his
brothers and sisters. He attended the one-room schoolhouse on Holmes Hollow, and
later Delaware Academy Central School, from which he graduated in 1951. In high
school he played basketball and ran track, but the pastime he loved most was
in the late 1940s, the Gielskie brothers competed in horse pulls all over the
Northeast. For the next forty years, their teams of Belgian draft horses won
numerous prizes at fairs and other contests, including the New York State Fair.
Dave was well-known throughout the horse pulling world, and even after retiring
from competition in the ‘80s would travel with friends to horse pulls as far
away as Maine and Michigan.
It was at
a horse pull that he met his beloved wife Tina, whom he married on December 30,
1973, at the DeLancey United Presbyterian Church. They loved to take long road
trips as a couple, and with their children. In their later years, they continued
to travel as much as their health would allow; their favorite destination was
the Maine coast.
height, the Gielskie Brothers farm spanned more than 400 acres, with a large
dairy herd, draft horses, and other animals including beef cattle, pigs,
chickens, ducks, geese, and sheep. Dave officially retired from dairy farming in
1990, and limited his herd to only sheep. And pigs. And chickens.
served two terms as Hamden Town Justice in the 1980s, and as an alternate
justice in Delhi. His favorite part of the job was performing marriages, and
many couples whose weddings he officiated remained in touch for years after.
semi-retirement from farming, Dave went to work for Delaware Opportunities as a
medical transport driver in 1992, and continued until he re-retired in 2010.
The job gave him the chance to drive all over New York and to meet many
different people, which he enjoyed very much. It also provided ample reading
time while he waited for clients; his favorite books were mysteries and history.
predeceased by Tina, his love and wife of 43 years, in April 2017. He was also
predeceased by his siblings Frank Gielskie, Marcia Gielskie, Marian Corey
Fountain, Kenneth Gielskie, Margaret Conner, and Alice Beatty. He is survived by
his son, Channing Gielskie of Hamden; his daughter, Colleen Gielskie of New
Orleans, LA; his sister Virginia Bartkow of Huntington, WV, and Alex Gielskie of
family would like to thank the staff of O’Connor Hospital in Delhi for their
loving and gracious care.