Cabinet maker loved gardening, softball and family |
Obituary Stories

Cabinet maker loved gardening, softball and family

Jacob Tierney
Bernard “Red” Ponko Jr.

“Red” Ponko used to arrange the winter rye in his garden so that the sprouting plants would spell the names of his nieces and nephews.

He was an avid gardener, with a very specific philosophy.

“He said if you couldn’t eat it, it wasn’t worth planting,” said his wife, Mary Ponko.

Bernard “Red” Ponko Jr., 65, of Mt. Pleasant, died Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019.

Mr. Ponko was born October 8, 1954, to the late Bernard A. Ponko Sr. and Kathryn Albright Ponko.

He was a cabinetmaker for Kitchen Gallery in Hunker for 40 years.

He enjoyed building things, and often made desks, bookcases and more for his family and friends. He built the altar at his church, Transfiguration of Our Lord Church in Mt. Pleasant.

Mr. Ponko was friendly and outgoing, his wife said.

“If you didn’t know him when you walked in somewhere, you knew him when you left,” she said.

His favorite saying was, “Have an ideal day, may the dear Lord take a liking to you.”

Mr. Ponko was an avid softball player. He enjoyed traveling, especially to play in softball tournaments.

“If you caught him Friday after work and said ‘Hey Red, there’s a softball tournament in (the state of) Indiana,’ he’d come home, pack, and be ready to go,” his wife said.

He loved to spend time with his nieces and nephews, and gave them all nicknames.

“When he started getting nephews and nieces he was the proudest person around,” his wife said. “He loved his family to be around.”

He once organized a charity golf outing, inviting his friends and family to play and raise money for a children’s hospital.

“From all my years with him, there was not a person who did not like him,” his wife said. “He would help anybody.”

Mr. Ponko was a member at the Kosciuszko, Falcons and Slovak clubs in Mt. Pleasant.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Jurkovic Ponko; stepson William “BJ” Farrell and wife Melissa of Connellsville; and two step-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday at Saloom-Rega Funeral Service, 730 West Main St., Mt. Pleasant, followed by interment in Visitation Cemetery.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: News | Obituaries
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