Former professional wrestler Stan “Krusher” Kowalski passed away last Friday at 91 years old. Kowalski was best known as one half of the tag team Murder Incorporated alongside his partner Tiny Mills in the American Wrestling Association.
Kowalski was born Bert Smith in Minneappolis. At 17, he joined the U.S. Navy and served three and a half years during World War II. After the war he enrolled at the University of Minnesota where he joined the wrestling team.
Kowalski made his debut for an NWA promotion in 1948. He and Mills eventually won the Minneapolis version of the NWA World Tag Team Championships twice while working for the NWA Minneapolis Wrestling and Boxing Club and later became the first-ever AWA tag team champions in 1960 when that promotion merged into the AWA. He retired from professional wrestling in 1976.
Kowalski spent much of his time volunteering for the United Way and helping homeless veterans. The Veterans of Foreign Wars named an award after him in his honor.
Kowalski is survived by his two children, Scott and Stacy Smith.