Stephen Michael Polanchak, Sr., 93, was born September 4, 1918 in PA and passed away May 22, 2012 Tustin, CA. Stephen is survived by his wife Helen Polanchak; daughter Rebekah Polanchak and son Stephen Polanchak, Jr. and his wife Jennifer.
He was a God-fearing husband and father who loved all people and was a great encourager and always had a smile to share. He also prayed for his family and friends. The fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much. Dad you will be missed and we all love you. We know you are in a better place rejoicing and singing God’s praises in heaven.
A Viewing will take place Friday, May 25, 2012 from 11:00am – 1:00pm at O’Connor Mortuary, 25301 Alicia Pkwy, Laguna Hills, CA 92653. Burial will take place at Hubbard Union Cemetery, Hubbard, Ohio.
Stephen Michael Polanchak, Sr. beloved husband and father. He was born in Farrell, PA the son of immigrant parents Michael Stephen and Anna Grexa Polanchak of Czechoslovakia. He grew up in Johnstown PA where he lived with his mother and her sister Susan and husband Rev. John Horevay after the passing of his father when he was 4 years old. He grew up in a large family with 7 cousins Susan, Paul, John, Joe, Mary, John II and Anne. He was well liked by the Horevays and especially his Aunt Susan who made delicious kolachi and other specialties from Czechoslovakia. He delivered milk early in the morning before school and began driving a truck at age 12 for the Sanitation Dairy. He worked for Bethlehem Steel for two years right out of high school on a labor crew with his Uncle John Grexa who was a master mechanic at the mill before moving to Hubbard, OH where he worked on the Fedor Dairy Farm on Bedford Rd. He lived with the family who had four children Mabel, Mildred, Sam and Elmer and was treated as one of the sons by Mr. and Mrs. Fedor. Elmer now lives in Orange, CA.
Dad was drafted and served in the United States Coast Guard during WWII. He served in the canine division with his two dogs Duchess and Wimpy around the Chesapeake Bay, VA and as an interpreter for the officers in Miami, FL. He marched in the Victory Day parade in Washington, D.C. after the end of the war. After the war he started working for Isaly Dairy in Youngstown, OH and worked there for 10 years as a Supervisor. Then he worked as a driver salesman for Servi-Clean Industries for over 33 years.
In his younger years he developed a musical talent. His music teacher in elementary school noticed that he had musical ability and his father was also a natural musician. He had good training in the Slovak Church of God in Johnstown. His family travelled to Hubbard every year for the annual Slovak Church of God Campmeeting in Hubbard, OH. This particular campmeeting lasted for 50 years every year during the week of the 4th of July. He enjoyed going to all of the campmeetings in the Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania area as well as the International Church of God Campmeeting in Anderson, IN. He sang bass in the Church choir and later joined the Slovak Church of God of the Air Choir under the direction of Tony Hanak of Akron. They tape recorded their weekly Sunday afternoon sessions and broadcast locally on the radio in the Akron, OH area and in Western PA as well as through Monte Carlo and into Czechoslovakia during the days of the Iron Curtain. God gifted him and called him into the music ministry for the Church of God in Sharon, PA where he served as the song leader for over 30 years. He worked closely with the Pastor at the time Rev. John Cerbus and his daughter Anna Terray who was the Church pianist for over 40 years.
While working on his servi-clean route in Beaver, PA he met a minister at a service station who heard him humming a hymn. The minister said: “Young man I like the song you are humming, why don’t you come and worship with us some Sunday with your wife and children!” My father told him “I’m not married.” The minister had a big smile and said he had someone for my Dad to meet at his Church. So my Dad went with his friend Carl Satanek to go golfing and then they attended the Church service the next day at the Christian Missionary and Alliance Church in Beaver,PA and that is where our parents met. Rev. Andresen introduced Helen Ann Gulla after the service and Stephen later told Carl it was love at first sight and if he could make her want to marry him he would marry her. They were married 10 years later on July 28, 1962 at the same Church where they met. At the wedding two of his good friends Bill Sereday and Sam Cerbus sang a duet of the hymn “Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us.” It has been 50 wonderful years of marriage and they still love each other deeply.
God blessed them with two talented children Rebekah Ann and Stephen Michael, Jr. Dad was so proud of both of us and he instructed us well in the ways of the Lord. We enjoyed a great childhood growing up in Ohio where our parents took us camping in the mountains at Cooks Forest State Park in the Allegheny National Forest and to Ocean City, New Jersey for a week at the seashore. We also were considered the “lucky” kids in the neighborhood because our parents let us have many pet animals including a rabbit, chickens, ducks, a canary, turtles, goldfish and two dogs Blue and Bo. Steve Jr. always enjoyed hunting and fishing and driving his truck through the mud. Becky enjoyed following in her father’s footsteps and enjoyed her music lessons on the piano, clarinet and violin. Steve and Becky made their parents happy when they played duets together in Church Steve on his trumpet and Becky on her clarinet with Anna Terray accompanying on the piano. Mom was always the one at home who loved us all and kept the home fires burning cooking delicious meals for us to enjoy together as a family. Some of Dad’s favorite desserts were the nut kolachi cookies and elderberry and apple pie. Later Jennifer Bricker Polanchak wife of Stephen Polanchak, Jr. was added to our family. Dad and Mom and Becky enjoyed many trips to Arizona to visit Steve Jr. and Jenny and their wonderful animals which we call our “Grand-Animals” Nick, Snowshoes, Coco, Ranger, Shadow, Roadie, Hi-Line, Twister, Tuco, Koko, Penny, Sierra and SweetPea.
When Dad retired Mom and Dad came yearly to California starting in 1983. They visited Helen’s brother Mike and his wife Lula in Fallbrook, CA and enjoyed many nice visits. He worked part-time as a security guard in San Diego at Scripps Memorial Hospital and guarding Stars and Stripes during the yacht races held there. He lived with daughter Rebekah for 10 years in San Diego and for 14 years in Tustin and Aliso Viejo, CA. While in San Diego we met many nice people at the Clairemont Church of God and then later when in Orange County he attended at the Crystal Cathedral and Geneva Presbyterian Church where he met more wonderful Christians. His life was rich and full with the love of God and he was a great encourager to people he met along life’s way. Once at Youngstown College he gave a speech about the greatest thing that ever happened to him in his life and he talked about when he gave his life to the Lord Jesus. He was a God fearing father who loved all people and was a great encourager and always had a smile to share. He also prayed for his family and friends. The fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much. Dad you will be missed and we all love you. We know you are in a better place rejoicing and singing God’s praises in heaven.