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Former nurse thrived in North Huntingdon restaurant business

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By Jerry Vondas
Friday, March 9, 2012

Katalin Pulinka took on challenges, whether she was caring for patients in a Hungarian hospital or catering to diners in her family's North Huntingdon restaurant and theater complex.

After settling in North Huntingdon with her family in 1982, Mrs. Pulinka learned English while staying at home to raise her children.

Then she joined her husband, Arpad Pulinka, in operating their well-known Colonial Manor Restaurant and White Barn Theatre, said her daughter, Katalin S. Pulinka of Greensburg.

Katalin E. Pulinka of Greensburg died of heart problems on Saturday, March 3, 2012, in UPMC Montefiore in Oakland. She was 54.

Mrs. Pulinka grew up in Niregyhaza, Hungary, the daughter of Margaret Simon Galla and Frank Galla, a self-employed contractor. She was a nurse.

"My wife was a person who was always concerned about the well-being of others, whether she was working in a hospital in Hungary or catering to our customers," said her husband, whom she married in 1977.

During the 1980s, when they operated the restaurant, people considered her the perfect hostess, who managed 35 to 40 employees well.

"As busy as my mother was at the restaurant and the theater, she was always there for my brothers and me," said her daughter. "Our friends at school enjoyed coming to our house and chatting with our mother, who was so knowledgeable on a variety of subjects."

One major change the Pulinkas made when they bought the complex was to change its menu to a basic Hungarian cuisine. They added entertainment.

"We had such class acts as The Vogues and Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners," said their daughter.

She said her mother had a soft spot for the needy.

"The back door of the Colonial Manor kitchen was always open for someone who needed a hot meal but couldn't pay for it."

In addition to her husband Arpad, daughter Katalin, and mother Margaret, Mrs. Pulinka is survived by sons Arpad Pulinka Jr. and Attila Pulinka, both of Greensburg; a sister, Judith Jenei of Hungary; and four grandchildren. Her father preceded her in death.

A funeral service will be held at noon today in Free Hungarian Reformed Church of McKeesport, 101 University Drive, with the Rev. Daniel Burshay officiating.

Clement L. Pantalone Funeral Home Inc., 409 Pittsburgh St., Greensburg, is handling arrangements. Private interment will be in St. Clair Cemetery, Greensburg.

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