Cover photo for Leon “Art” Tucholski's Obituary

Leon “Art” Tucholski

Leon Arthur “Art” Tucholski

, 90, a long-time resident of Chandler, Arizona, passed away peacefully in his home Thursday morning, November 10, 2022, lovingly surrounded by his wife Nancy, and daughter Janet; his two granddaughters Katie (24) and Abbey (20) were also nearby. He is preceded in death by his parents William and Felicia (Switala) Tucholski, and siblings Edwin, Eugene, Chet, Carrie Kosick (Tucholski), and Delores Bissonnette (Tucholski).

Art was born on September 10, 1932, in Beaver Township, Michigan, and was the last of six children. He was born on the family farm, on the kitchen table. With the help of a midwife, he was soon handed off to big sister Caroline, to which his mother went outside and finished the rest of her chores on the farm. His family later moved to a farm in Standish, Michigan, where Art grew up. Known as “Archie” to his parents and siblings, he attended elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse for kids from K to sixth grade. He later attended a larger school, Standish High School, where he graduated as senior class valedictorian.

After high school, he received a 1-year scholarship to the University of Michigan’s School of Engineering, to become a mechanical engineer. When he found that he could no longer afford the remainder of the program, he applied to General Motors Institute (GMI) in Flint, Michigan, where he was accepted into the engineering program there. While attending GMI, he worked for 1 month at the Detroit Transmission Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, then attended classes for 1 month at GMI. He continued this pace of working his way through college, until once again, graduating as valedictorian from GMI in 1959.

The draft was on, and Art knew he would be signed up automatically for the Army – he wanted to be an Air Force pilot. When he went to the Air Force recruiter to register instead, he learned that there was a 2-year waiting list.  As an alternative, he signed up for a 6-month program called “Critical Skills” with the US Navy. He attended basic training at Great Lakes, Illinois, followed by 6 months in Port Hueneme, California. After his time in the Navy, Art returned to GM as a mechanical engineer at the Detroit Transmission Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It was there he met the love of his life, Nancy Clayton in 1962.

Art and Nancy began dating, and after 2 months, Art proposed. He knew. Nancy agreed to marry him, but only if they were engaged for 1 year. During this time, they got to know each other and met each other’s families, and after 1 year, they were married on April 20, 1963.

In April 1964, Art became a father to his daughter and only child, Janet. He was such a loving and devoted dad to her and worked full-time at GM, while Nancy took care of Janet during the day. In the evening, he switched places with Nancy, as she went off to evening college classes at Eastern Michigan University. Because of his love and support, she was able to obtain her Bachelor of Science degree on June 5, 1971. Their partnership was strong, and once again with his help, allowed Nancy to also attain her Master of Arts & Education degree on August 6, 1976, at Arizona State University.

Also, during this time, as if things weren’t already busy enough for him, Art invented a hydraulic system for GM and on July 1, 1970, he was granted a U.S. Patent for the invention, “Central Hydraulic System for a Vehicle”. Almost 1 year later, he designed another invention, this time for a transmission system, and on June 20, 1972, he was granted a second US patent for the invention “Vehicular Transmission Sump System”.

In November 1972, his 8-year-old daughter Janet became critically ill and was put into a medically induced coma. Doctors said she would not live through the night and last rites were given. She made it through the night and soon, her pediatrician recommended moving to a warmer climate since she would more than likely die that winter. It was at that moment that Art and Nancy decided to move their little family to Arizona, where the warmer weather would be beneficial for Janet’s health. Within a few weeks, the Tucholski’s were in Arizona for a fresh start. Art was fortunate enough to receive a job transfer from GM in Ypsilanti to the GM Desert Proving Grounds in Mesa, Arizona, as a mechanical engineer. It would be here, that he would work an additional 25 years, until retiring on April 1, 1998. When it was all said and done, Art worked a total of 45 years with General Motors.

After retiring, Art not only enjoyed traveling with his wife but also enjoyed being a “Papa” to his 1-year-old granddaughter, Katie. To further fill the time, he also began volunteering as a Docent at Champlain Air Museum in Mesa, Arizona. He quickly became their WWII aircraft expert, and as a senior docent, enjoyed giving personalized tours to all – especially enjoying when WWII veterans were visiting.

When Champlain Air Museum closed and moved to Seattle, once again Art was looking for something new to challenge him – where he could continue to make a difference. He applied to Chandler Police Department’s volunteer program where he began serving over 18 years of community service as their criminal database analyst, serving from March 1998 until September 2016. During his time at Chandler P.D., he logged well over 8,000 total volunteer hours and received such prestigious awards as Volunteer Emeritus, the Governor’s Award, Volunteer of the Year, and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

In August 2002, his second grandchild, Abbey, was born. Once again, he was a “Papa”; to him, Abbey was another welcomed joy. At this point, his life, and his calendar – were indeed full, and he very much enjoyed spending time with his entire family.

Art and Nancy had a wonderful life together and were married for over 59 years. Theirs is a true love story and together, they had a good ride. They were inseparable for over 60 years.

Art was a family man to the core and was very well-liked by his friends, neighbors, and community. Everyone who met him, remembered his gentle nature, his smile, and his intellect. He was a gentle and patient soul and will surely be missed and remembered for many years to come. He left his mark and made a difference in this world as a humble and kind man. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

The family would like to thank everyone who has reached out to them during this sorrowful time and asks that in lieu of flowers, to please consider donating in Art Tucholski’s name to: Hospice of the Valley, 1510 East Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ, 85014.  They helped to make this heartbreaking and difficult journey, a little more bearable by providing much-needed information, guidance, empathy, and compassion throughout.

The Tucholski family wishes to extend their gratitude and appreciation to all who have crossed their path during this very difficult time.

For those wishing to attend, there will be a “Celebration of Life” service on Saturday, December 10th @ 11:00 AM at Bueler’s Mortuary, 14 W. Hulet Drive, Chandler. Directly after the service, there will be an escorted procession of cars to the Queen of Heaven Cemetery, 1500 E Baseline Road, Mesa, AZ, where there will be a brief interment of Ashes ceremony.

If you would like to send condolences to the family, please email the text to and I will add it ASAP. Thank you for your understanding as we are having technical difficulties.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leon “Art” Tucholski, please visit our flower store.


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