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Business owner from Murrysville was Kennywood legend

Patrick Varine
| Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Stanley Kaczynski
Stanley Kaczynski

Stanley Kaczynski rode the Pitt Fall at Kennywood 76 times on his 76th birthday.

But that's only impressive until you learn that he rode the Swing Shot 81 times on his 81st birthday.

“If he couldn't find any kids or grandkids to take to Kennywood, he'd go by himself,” his daughter Donna Cohen of Plum said.

Stanley “Sparky” Kaczynski of Murrysville died Sept. 19, 2017, of congestive heart failure. He was 82.

Born April 19, 1935, he was the youngest child of the late Alex and Josephine Wykretek Kaczynski. He was raised in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood and graduated from the former Washington Vo-Tech School.

One evening at a dance in East Pittsburgh, he asked a young woman named Regina to save the last dance for him.

“He asked how I was going home,” Regina Kaczynski said. “I told him we were taking the streetcar back to Lawrenceville. He said, ‘My friends and I live in Bloomfield,' and he took me home. He got my phone number, and we started from there.”

The couple lived briefly in Lawrenceville, then moved to Penn Hills and ultimately Murrysville.

Mr. Kaczynski seemingly never ran out of energy, his family said.

“He was always a go-getter,” his daughter said. “He loved parks, so we went to all the parks, we had tons of Sunday picnics, we went swimming all the time.”

His wife said her husband was like the Energizer Bunny.

“Go, go, go,” she said. “He had energy like you wouldn't believe.”

Mr. Kaczynski worked multiple jobs while raising their four children, including many years with General Window Cleaning. In 1990, he and his son Michael struck out and formed their own window-cleaning business.

As the youngest of 10 children, Mr. Kaczynski had a big family.

“We were always visiting,” said his daughter Joanne Clark of McKeesport. “He'd pack all four of us into the car, and we'd go visit everyone.”

But the place he visited most, without question, was Kennywood.

“He went at least five times a week,” Cohen said. “And once they started doing the all-included season passes? He pretty much went all the time. He'd come home from work, take a shower, and it was off to Kennywood.”

Mr. Kaczynski made one final visit to the park after he was confined to a wheelchair.

“A bunch of the employees came up and gave him a hug and told him they missed seeing him,” his wife said. “He took one last ride on the Swing Shot with his granddaughter Stephanie.”

Cohen said her father — “The Legend of Kennywood” or “Stan the Pitt Fall Man” to many in and around the park — left an impression everywhere he went.

“He was always there to help everybody,” she said. “He was always happy and joking around.”

Mr. Kaczynski is survived by his wife of 60 years, Regina Hahn Kaczynski; three children, Donna Cohen, Joanne Clark and David Kaczynski; 12 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a son, Michael, in 2014.

Visitation will be held Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. at Hart Funeral Home, 3103 Lillian Ave., Murrysville, and on Monday from 9 to 9:45 a.m. at Mother of Sorrows Church, 4202 Old William Penn Highway, Murrysville, where a funeral Mass will follow at 10 a.m. Entombment will be at Christ Our Redeemer Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital at www.stjude.org.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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