Family and friends of Joseph "Joey" Michael Wilczewski, 22, are mourning the loss of the West Caldwell native. He was killed on Friday, Dec. 3 while attempting to cross Route 3 in Secaucus.
The viewing will be at the Levandoski Funeral Home, 44 Bay Ave., Bloomfield, (973-743-6969), on Monday, Dec. 6, from 4 to 8 p.m. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 7, at 10:30 a.m., at Notre Dame Church, 359 Central Ave., North Caldwell with interment to follow at Holy Cross Cemetery in North Arlington.
The accident remains under investigation by Secaucus police, but according to reports, it is believed Wilczewski died when he was struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross the westbound side of the six-lane highway on foot. The vehicle kept going and police are searching for the driver. The drivers of two other vehicles that subsequently hit him pulled over and waited for police, according to reports.
Wilczewsk's first cousin, Megan Malia, of West Caldwell, said details about where he was that night and why he was crossing the highway remained unknown. "I don't think anybody knows for sure," she said.
Malia, 19 years older than her cousin, said she was close to him and enjoyed watching him grow up.
"I sat across from him on Thanksgiving," said Malia, explaining their mothers are sisters.
"There was always something special about him from the day he was born," Malia said. "You could not find a person who just didn't love him."
Malia said one of her daughters was particularly fond of her cousin. She said he and his 10-year-old nephew, Tyler, adored each other.
"He was incredibly handsome," she said, "but it was more than that. He was sweet and funny."
Wilczewski was living at home with his mother, while studying communications at Montclair State University in Montclair where he was a senior.
According to Ralph Delpilar, the manager at GNC in West Caldwell where Wilczewski worked part time, he had accepted an internship in the communications department of the New York Red Bulls soccer team. He was scheduled to start later this month.
"He was a nice guy. I liked him," said Delpilar. He said Wilczewski had worked at the nutritional supplement shop during the evening and on weekends. December 13 would have been his one-year service anniversary.
Delpilar said Wilczewski's friends have offered their condolences. "Some people called me. Some people came in to offer their condolences, because they saw how upset I was."
Gabi Albaret was friends with Wilczewski since the sixth grade. The last time he saw him was on Wednesday night when they worked out together at Anytime Fitness. Afterward, they grabbed a drink at a nearby bar.
"He was a great friend to everybody who knew him," Albaret said. "I'm still at a loss for words."
Wilczewski was born and raised in West Caldwell. He graduated from James Caldwell High School in 2006. He played on the lacrosse team and loved the sport.
Wilczewski also loved the New York Jets and was into body building and fitness. He worked for GNC and Anytime Fitness, both in West Caldwell.
He is survived by his parents, Michael and Jeanne Wilczewski; his sister, Erin Ruoff, her husband, Jason, and their son, Tyler.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to either the Jackson Malia Fund, 759 Bloomfield Ave., Suite 304, West Caldwell, N.J. 07006 or Caron Foundation, 234 North Galen Hall Road, Wernersville, Pa. 19565 in his memory.