Donald H. Dolecki, 76, a well-known resident of 164 Evergreen Drive, Franklin, died peacefully at 11:45 a.m. Friday, March 22, 2013, shortly after his arrival in the emergency department of UPMC Northwest, Seneca, after a sudden heart attack.
He was born Oct. 8, 1936, in Oil City, a beloved son of the late Henry and Mary Marchibroda Dolecki.
He was a 1954 graduate of Oil City High School. Following graduation, he enrolled at Penn State University where he graduated in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.
Mr. Dolecki proudly served his country during peacetime as a member of the U.S. Air Force. He attained rank of first lieutenant and was honorably discharged from duty.
He had worked for more than 35 years as a civil engineer, P.E., with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, retiring in 1996.
He was a longtime member of the Penn State Alumni Association and the college’s Sigma Chi fraternity. He was an active volunteer and driver, along with his wife, Pat, with our area’s Meals-on-Wheels program. He was a familiar face in the fitness department of the Franklin YMCA, where he enjoyed working out. He was a member of a Tuesday Men’s Golf League, and would travel the area’s courses with his friends to play golf. He was a lifelong sports fan, especially enjoying football and baseball.
Mr. Dolecki was always very proud of his Polish heritage. As a young man, he learned to play the accordion. He, along with his friends, formed a band that would play polka music at area civic events and weddings. He was an avid reader who was proud to have catalogued more than 347 books in his personal library. He maintained that one of his proudest achievements was to assist his granddaughters Keri and Cassie with their college educations, Keri with her bachelor’s degree from California University in elementary education and Cassie with her doctor of pharmacy degree from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Mr. Dolecki remained active for many years with the alumni of Oil City High School. He was a longtime member of the 1954 reunion organizing committee and assisted with the planning of the outings with the class’ “Lunch Bunch.” Every other Thursday, he looked forward to coffee with his friends Rick, Jack and Bill. Above all, he most especially enjoyed sharing the holidays with his large family and taking part in the many family dinners. He will be deeply missed by all those who had come to know and love him.
He was an active and faithful member of St. Patrick Church in Franklin.
He was married to the former Patricia Wood on Oct. 20, 1984; she survives.
In addition to his beloved wife of 28 years, he is survived by a daughter, Leigh Anne Dolecki of San Francisco, Calif.; and by two sons, Donald A. (Andy) Dolecki and his wife, Kelly Witherup-Dolecki, of Oil City, and David M. Dolecki and his partner, Jim Carey, of Alameda, Calif. Also surviving are his grandchildren of which he was most proud, Keith, Keri and Cassie of Pittsburgh and Dana of Oil City; in addition to his beloved great-granddaughter Danica, also of Pittsburgh.
He is also survived by two brothers, Henry Dolecki Jr. of Harrison City, and Michael Dolecki and his wife, Anne, of Meadville. Also surviving are his father-in-law, Clyde Wood of Polk; his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Cliff Wood of Polk, Bill Wood and his wife, JoAnne, of Polk, Judy Krizon and her husband, Ed, of Polk, and Linda Ellsworth and friend, Bob Jackson, of Knox; and special friends Steve and Debbie Lerch of Franklin; in addition to many loving aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, extended family members and friends.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his mother-in-law, Edna Wood.
Friends may call Tuesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Timothy E. Hartle Funeral Home, 1328 Elk St., Franklin.
A Christian Wake service will be held Tuesday in the funeral home.
Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday at noon in St. Patrick Church in Franklin, with Monsignor John J. Herbein, pastor, as celebrant.
Interment will follow in St. Patrick Cemetery.
Memorial contributions, if desired, may be directed to either St. Patrick School, 952 Buffalo St., Franklin, Pa. 16323, or to the Franklin Public Library, 421 12th St., Franklin.
Please visit hartlefuneralhome.com for further information and to leave a note of condolence.