Monday, November 13, 2006

In Memoriam: Don Zalaznik: 1923 - 2006

I met a lot of characters over the course of my campaigns for the PA House of Representatives. On Sunday, we lost one of them: Don Zalaznik of Smith Township.

It would not be accurate to say Don was a supporter of my campaigns -- he was a loyal Democrat and a supporter of both Vic Lescovitz and Paul Walsh. But, Don was a friend -- I can't begin to count the number of times he growled at me (in a friendly way) for being a Republican. I think I confounded him -- in Don's world, a guy with family roots in Primrose and McDonald with a vowel at the end of his name had no business being a Republican.

Don's obituary from today's O-R is below. It's a fine obit but fails to mention his role as a community activist for the towns and villages of northwestern Washington County. Annually, he would bring together municipal and county officials and other leaders for an informal breakfast at Village Green Golf Club -- for the attendees to get to know each other better and perhaps work together on future projects. Don also was a generous donor to all kinds of community organizations -- from the McDonald Volunteer Fire Department to the Burgettstown Knights of Columbus.

Don will be missed by many -- including this "damn Republican." In Memoriam:

Donald A. Zalaznik

Donald A. Zalaznik, 83, of Bulger, died Sunday, November 12, 2006, in Wyngate Personal Homecare, Parkersburg, W.Va.

He was born June 9, 1923, in Thomas, a son of Frank and Johanna Zalaznik.

Mr. Zalaznik graduated from Union High School. He was a general contractor and co-owner of Fallen Timber Golf Course and Midway Block Co.

He was a member of Burgettstown Senior Citizens Center, Cantankerous Model T Club, Covered Bridge Antique Club and Midway SNPJ.

His wife, Donna L. Nagode Zalaznik, died January 12, 1990.

Surviving are two daughters, Diane (Dan) Brucker and Debbie Zalaznik, and two sons, Donald (Paula) Zalaznik and Dennis (Cindy) Zalaznik, all of Bulger; nine grandchildren, Bryan, Kevin, Niki, Donnie, Robby and Chris Zalaznik and Jaclyn, Jessica and Chris Brucker; and three sisters, Wilda Janeshek of Alabama, Lillian Sray of Cuddy and Della Janeshek of Midway.

Deceased, in addition to his wife, are four sisters, Jean Dornan, Frances Bucheli, Katherine Martin and Emma Roach; and two brothers, Frank and Ray Zalaznik.

Friends will be received from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and noon to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday in Thomas-Little Funeral Service Inc., 106 St. John Street, Midway (724-796-3301). Additional visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m., the hour of services, Thursday, November 16, in Center United Presbyterian Church, 110 Washington Avenue, Midway. Everyone please meet at the church. Interment will follow in Center Cemetery, Midway.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Society or a charity of one's choice.

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