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Obituary Stories

Family man’s personality charmed customers


Donald Czarnecki was a successful business owner, a world traveler and an avid racquetball player, but his family came first.

“First and foremost for my dad was always family,” said daughter Rachel Spehar. “Family always came first, no matter what. As hardworking as he was and as important as success was to him, he was always home by 4 o’clock every day.”

Donald Joseph Czarnecki died Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in his home in Hempfield. He was 77.

He was born July 5, 1937, in Wilkinsburg, a son of the late Frank and Anna Minar Czarnecki. He met Mary Lou Veres in 1960, and the couple became engaged on Thanksgiving Day 1961. They married the next year.

“He asked me to dance, and I was honored,” his wife said, recalling their first meeting at the Palisades in Mc-Keesport. “I enjoyed dancing with him, and I didn’t dance with anyone else after that.

“It was just a wonderful love affair for 52 years that I will treasure for the rest of my days,” she said. “We adored one another.”

Mr. Czarnecki was the first in his family to attend college. He graduated from Baylor University and become part-owner of the family business, Nuclear Components Inc., a precision machine shop in Hempfield, from 1959 until he retired in 1998.

The family traveled together regularly throughout the United States and overseas, along with annual Thanksgiving trips to New York City or the beach.

He later started a second career, working for 11 years as a cashier at Target in Hempfield.

“He couldn’t sit at home, so he went back to work at Target,” said daughter Laura Bryan. “He got a lot of enjoyment out of that during his retirement. His customers really got to know him and … they would wait in long lines for him to check them out because of his personality.”

“Everyone wanted to go to my dad’s line,” said daughter Cindy Poknis. “You wouldn’t believe how many people in the community that never knew him fell in love with my dad.”

“He was so fun-spirited,” Spehar said. “He had such an energy about him. An energy, a smile, his laughter — it was just contagious. Just being around my dad could put anyone in a good mood.”

Mr. Czarnecki is survived by his wife, Mary Lou Veres Czarnecki; three daughters, Laura Bryan of Irwin, Cindy Poknis of Latrobe and Rachel Spehar of Irwin; and five grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday in Leo M. Bacha Funeral Home Inc., 516 Stanton St., Greensburg, where prayers will begin at 12:30 p.m., followed by a funeral Mass at 1 p.m. in the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, Greensburg. Private interment in St. Joseph Cemetery.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or [email protected].

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