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Food, beverage expert of Fox Chapel admired for work ethic

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By Jerry Vondas
Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009

Although Donald Stanczak was known for his expertise in the food and beverage industry, he also was admired for using that expertise for a greater good.

"For years, Don would coordinate the food and beverage booths at the horse shows for Parental Stress at Hartwood Acres," said his wife, Maralyne Loukas Stanczak, whom he married in 1970.

Donald L. Stanczak of Fox Chapel, owner and operator of Food & Beverage Solutions, died of a heart seizure Monday, Oct. 12, 2009, in his home. He was 64.

Upon receiving his degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., Mr. Stanczak began his career in Chicago as an assistant manager at the Palmer House Hotel. He later worked for Fritzl's European Restaurant & Pub in Lake Zurich, Ill.

Among his notable assignments while employed with Interstate Hotels in the Chicago area was designing bars and dining areas for the 108-story Sears Tower in 1974.

He came to Pittsburgh in 1981 and was assigned to the Marriott hotels in Green Tree and Montour, as well as Marriott's Steelhead Brasserie & Wine Bar in Uptown.

His daughters, Ashleigh Stanczak of Boston and Stacey Smith of Natrona Heights, recalled what it was like growing up with a father who, despite his busy schedule, made time to be with his girls.

"Dad named two of the dining rooms he designed for Stacey and myself," said Ashleigh Stanzcak.

"We admired our father for his wisdom and for being straightforward during a crisis. He could cut through the most difficult problems."

Stacey Smith considered her father to be a role model for his daughters and his grandchildren. "He had a great work ethic, which he passed on to us and which we try to follow," she said.

Mr. Stanczak grew up in Natrona Heights, an only child in the family of steelworker Jack and Dorothy Wood Stanczak.

"My husband started his business career by organizing a newspaper route in his hometown," said his wife.

In addition to his wife, Maralyne, and his two daughters, Stacey and Ashleigh, Mr. Stanczak is survived by four grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. today at John A. Freyvogel Sons Inc., 4900 Centre Ave. at Devonshire Street, Oakland.

A funeral and Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Friday in St. Paul Cathedral, Oakland.

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