Richard Kozieja, principal in Camden

Richard S. Kozieja
Richard S. Kozieja
Posted: April 09, 2014

Richard S. Kozieja, 83, of Bellmawr, a former elementary school principal in Camden, died of complications from heart disease on Friday, April 4, at his home.

Born in Camden, Mr. Kozieja grew up in its Whitman Park neighborhood, graduated from Camden Catholic High School, and served in Army chemical operations, son Thomas said.

He earned a bachelor's degree at what is now La Salle University in 1957 and a master's in education at Rutgers University in 1960. He also earned a master's in science at Villanova University.

Mr. Kozieja began his 39-year career with the Camden City School District as a science teacher at Henry H. Davis Elementary School in 1957, his son said.

He became assistant principal at Cooper B. Hatch Middle School before spending most of his career as principal at Henry L. Bonsall and Washington Elementary Schools before retiring in 1996.

"He had a genuine caring for children," his son said.

After active military duty, Mr. Kozieja joined the Army Reserve. He retired as a colonel when he was 62, as commander of the 78th Division, his son said.

He was emergency management coordinator for Bellmawr from 1989 to 2004.

A member since his teenage years of the Polish-American Citizens Club of Camden County, he was a board member for the last 10 years and editor in chief of the five-year-old newsletter, Danny Steiner, a club member, said.

"He was quite proud" of his Polish heritage, Steiner said.

In 2003 the Camden Lions Club named Mr. Kozieja its Lion of the year.

Besides his son, Mr. Kozieja is survived by his wife of 57 years, Roberta; daughters Paula O'Boyle and Marie Swanholm; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A life celebration was set from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, and 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday, April 10, both at the Ciechanowski Funeral Home, 1100 N. Black Horse Pike, Runnemede, before a 10:30 a.m. Funeral Mass at St. Joseph's Church, 1010 Liberty St., Camden, with interment in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Chews Landing.

Donations may be sent to

Condolences may be offered to the family at

610-313-8134 @WNaedele

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