Longtime diocese worker 'all-around good guy'
Edward J. Blaszkowski could leave his house to buy a loaf of bread and not come back for hours because of all the people he stopped to talk with along the way, his family and friends said.
“He'd walk through town, meeting everybody and talking to everybody,” said his son Dennis Blaszkowski.
When someone walked into a room, “he'd be the first one up to greet you,” said his son Mark Blaszkowski. “He'd strike up a conversation on whatever you would be interested in.”
Edward J. Blaszkowski, 85, of Ligonier died Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, at his home. Born Oct. 17, 1932, in Mt. Pleasant, he was the son of Joseph and Rose Zajac Blaszkowski.
After graduating from high school, he served in the Army from 1950 to 1952 during the Korean War and was stationed with an infantry unit in Germany. He worked in a post office in Indianapolis, then returned to the area, said his wife, Cecilia Permuka Blaszkowski.
“He came back to the area and started playing drums with the Polka-Dots,” she said.
The five-piece polka band played on a Friday night radio show and did gigs at local venues including the Russian Club in Wilpen, where they met, she said.
“He asked me to dance at intermission,” his wife said.
He told her she was a good dancer.
“I said, ‘I know it,' and walked away from him,” she said with a laugh.
They kept bumping into each other and one of her girlfriends liked one of his friends.
“I went on a blind date, and it was him,” she said.
He also was a drummer in the Latrobe Drum and Bugle Corps.
Mr. Blaszkowski went to work for Chamberlain Manufacturing Corp. in Derry and tended bar on evenings and weekends at the Rolling Rock Club and Latrobe Country Club to support his family.
“He was always working and doing something,” said his son Mark.
Along the way he met several notables including Bob Hope and Arnold Palmer, his son said. When Chamberlain moved, he was offered a job at their new location, but he decided to stay.
Monsignor Francis J. Tambellini at Holy Trinity Catholic Church got him a job running the youth organizations, and that started his 45 year career with the Diocese of Greensburg.
Mr. Blaszkowski took care of the “nuts and bolts” details that kept the Pastoral Center on East Pittsburgh Street running smoothly, said Jerry Bertig, director of the Bishop Connare Center.
“He was just an all-around good guy,” he said. “He just fit that persona.”
A member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Mr. Blaszkowski also was a life member of the Wilpen Volunteer Fire Department, Ligonier VFW No. 734 and Byers-Tosh American Legion No. 267. He was a third-degree knight with the Knights of Columbus.
In addition to his wife of 63 years, he is survived by two sons, Dennis Blaszkowski of Bethlehem and Mark Blaszkowski of Ligonier; five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the J. Paul McCracken Funeral Chapel, 144 E. Main St., Ligonier. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Thursday at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Interment will follow in St. Anne's Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Wilpen Volunteer Fire Department, 379 Wilpen Road, Ligonier, PA 15658.