North Huntingdon man remembered for love of family, travel
Marty Klanchar remembers seeing a plane used by former President Harry Truman at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Ohio — a plane his father, Donald, once helped maintain.
An Air Force veteran who served at the time of the Korean War, Donald Klanchar had a passion for planes and knew the Truman airplane like the back of his hand. But his true passion was for World War II era planes, which he spent hours recreating thanks to Guillow’s model planes.
“He loved sitting down there for hours and working on them,” Marty Klanchar said. “Especially when his mobility got a little bit limited, he could still sit there and build those models for hours. He could follow the plans — they’re very detailed.”
Those planes now hang from the garage ceiling at Donald Klanchar’s North Huntingdon home and were gifted to each of his five children.
Mr. Donald Klanchar, 89, of North Huntingdon died Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, surrounded by family.
Born in Herminie on Nov. 15, 1929, he was the son of Anthony and Jennie Klanchar.
After leaving the service, Mr. Klanchar opened what was formerly called Klanchar’s Esso Service Station, now Klanchar’s Exxon, along Jacktown Hill Road in North Huntingdon — a business that employed each of his five kids.
“I got to pump gas and check oil and run down … and get parts,” his daughter, Lynn Klanchar, said. “Mom worked with him as a partner in the final years, 10 years, with the book work and parts money. She also pumped gas.
“It was a family business,” she said. “We had very faithful customers.”
His wife of 66 years, Rita Klanchar, said her husband was faithful to the business, often coming home for dinner and then heading back to work until about 9 p.m.
On the weekends, Marty Klanchar loved spending time with his family, with polka music often drifting from the radio each Saturday and Sunday — a passion that reflected his Slovenia heritage and a love of dancing shared by his wife.
“We met at a dance,” Rita Klanchar said. “He said he saw me in the doorway, waiting for someone to ask me to dance. He always would say, ‘I should have asked her to marry me sooner.’”
Together, the duo spent time traveling to national parks in addition to Florida, Italy, Slovenia and Alaska. Recently, the couple traveled to the West Coast and visited the Grand Canyon. For 63 years, all seven members of the family went on vacation together, often to Myrtle Beach.
Mr. Klanchar was a member of St. Agnes church, where he volunteered at bingos and dinners. He also spent time volunteering with the Norwin Area Meals on Wheels.
He is preceded in death by his sister, Dorothy Snyder.
In addition to his his wife and children Marty and Lynn, Mr. Klanchar is survived by daughters, Annette Stolze and Laurie Klanchar and son, Frank Klanchar; seven grandchildren, a great-granddaughter and his sister, Geraldine Pezze.
Friends and family were received Tuesday at Ott Funeral Home in Irwin. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Agnes Church, 11400 St. Agnes Lane, Irwin. Interment will follow at Westmoreland County Memorial Park.
Donations can be made to the Elizabeth Ann Seton Food Bank or the Norwin Area Meals on Wheels.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .