Ronald Polak Obituary
Ron & little brother John Ron in his teens

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In Memory of

Ronald J. Polak

September 1, 1935 - August 24, 2013
Obituary
Biography

If anyone ever cared, really cared for someone else it would have to be Ronald J. Polak. He was a warm hearted and well-liked individual, and these wonderful traits came easily to him because he was such a sociable and amiable person, someone who was always making certain that those around him had whatever they needed. Ron was a talkative person, who was tactful at all times, but typically said what he meant.       Ronald was born at McKeesport Hospital in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. He was the son of John and Emma Polak. Ronald was raised in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. During his childhood he learned to be reliable and respectful. He found it easy to show sympathy and to perform kind acts for others. These admirable qualities would become a part of Ron's personality throughout his life.       As someone who reveled in the sheer joy of his experiences, Ron was always enthusiastic about new adventures. Although he had an exacting nature, Ron was always tactful. One thing Ronald will certainly be remembered for is that, when he got up in the mornings, he was ready and raring to go. As a young boy, Ron had a number of interests and was an active child, he took part in basketball and he was a band trumpet player. In his spare time he liked to work in his parent's sandwich shop.       For Ron, the school routines were never a problem, although he generally preferred...
If anyone ever cared, really cared for someone else it would have to be Ronald J. Polak. He was a warm hearted and well-liked individual, and these wonderful traits came easily to him because he was such a sociable and amiable person, someone who was always making certain that those around him had whatever they needed. Ron was a talkative person, who was tactful at all times, but typically said what he meant.

      Ronald was born at McKeesport Hospital in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. He was the son of John and Emma Polak. Ronald was raised in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. During his childhood he learned to be reliable and respectful. He found it easy to show sympathy and to perform kind acts for others. These admirable qualities would become a part of Ron's personality throughout his life.

      As someone who reveled in the sheer joy of his experiences, Ron was always enthusiastic about new adventures. Although he had an exacting nature, Ron was always tactful. One thing Ronald will certainly be remembered for is that, when he got up in the mornings, he was ready and raring to go. As a young boy, Ron had a number of interests and was an active child, he took part in basketball and he was a band trumpet player. In his spare time he liked to work in his parent's sandwich shop.

      For Ron, the school routines were never a problem, although he generally preferred variety to structure. He seemed to be able to start a project and work right through to its completion, he was able to do it quickly and efficiently paying close attention to details. Ron was very observant and was generally quick at picking up new things. He graduated from McKeesport Area High School in 1953. He enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite classes and teachers. His favorite class in high school was band. The teacher he enjoyed learning from the most was Mr. Ed Garbett. During high school, he won many ensemble and solo awards for trumpet playing.

      College can be a challenge, but Ron appeared to be well equipped to succeed. He had a knack for staying focused and on track no matter what was going on around him. He had the ability to work undisturbed through all of the constant interruptions that are a regular part of college life. Ron enjoyed using the skills he'd already learned and applying them to new courses. He knew the facts and rarely made factual errors. He earned his Bachelor of Music Education from St. Vincent College in 1957. He also pursued graduate school, earning his Masters of Science Education at Duquesne University in 1959. His favorite courses were music and philosophy. His favorite professor was Professor Edwin P Shiner. During his college years, Ron also was the manager of the St. Vincent Bearcat basketball team.

      There was one thing that all of Ron's friends knew, and will still remember, and that is that he was a talker. He could pretty much talk to anybody about anything. This quality is one of the primary reasons that Ron was such a popular person throughout his life. But Ron was also dependable, loyal and trustworthy. He was the kind of person who simply radiated good fellowship. While he maintained personal standards and his own personal values, Ron was very accepting of others. With a distinct skill for working things out, Ron was often the person who would organize events. In fact, Ronald was fairly comfortable playing the role of “host” for just about any occasion. When Ron made friends, he made true and lasting friendships. While growing up, his best friend was his cousin, Milton Shlapak. Later in life, he became friends with Dan Crncic, Bob Steelnack, Ed Faulk, and Dick Hiller.

      Ronald was a faithful and loving person. Some would even call him sentimental and a romantic at heart. His kindness and consideration radiated an aura of warmth to those around him. Ron cared for what others thought and carried that into his marriage. On June 7, 1958 Ronald married Vera Smider at St. Peter's Church of McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Compassionate and devoted, Ron worked hard to make his new life partner happy.

      Harmony was important to Ron and he made every effort to maintain it with his family. Ron was blessed with one daughter, Karen. Ronald was always conscious of the feelings others had. He was reasonable and understanding. As a result, Ron was quick to solve disputes and did so without much fuss. His secret of success in this area was simple: Ron would listen before he would act.

      Taking his work seriously came naturally to Ron, and he expected the same from those around him. Ronald was a good team player, someone who was born to cooperate with others. He was what some would call a “people person” and it was demonstrated in his good communication skills. Ron was a steady worker, one who was realistic about schedules. The kind of details that would give family members and work colleagues fits were situations that Ron handled well. He could understand the details without getting lost in the broad “big picture.” His primary occupation was a music educator and music coordinator. He was employed for 36 years by the McKeesport Area School District. He brought harmony to his work environment, doing what was necessary in order to get the job done, while always maintaining respect for his colleagues.

      A methodical man, Ronald enjoyed spending time working on his various hobbies. He had no problem following all of the steps and instructions on a given project, and was proud of the fact that he could have something to show for his efforts. His favorite pursuits were golf, dancing, playing computer games, and watching sports.

      Ron was one of those people who took pride in constantly putting forth his best effort. Nowhere was that more visible than in his chosen activities. Ron was always enthusiastic and a great team player. In high school, he played in the marching band. In his college years, he continued to stay active by participating as the basketball team manager. Recreational sports included golfing. Ronald also liked being a sports fan and enjoyed following his favorite teams whenever he got the opportunity. Tops on his list were Steeler football, although absolutely any sport would do.

     His keen interest in things that affected the lives of other people led Ron to become actively involved in professional and community organizations. Because he was outgoing and worked well with others, Ron did his fair share of volunteer work, and he wouldn’t shy away from taking the lead on committees or events, either. He was a born list maker and was great at creating and sticking to schedules. Throughout his schooling, Ron was a member of many music groups including; band, brass quintet, marching band, and choir. Throughout his later years, Ronald was an active member and past president of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association and the St. Vincent Alumni Association. After moving to Las Vegas he became a member of the Southern Nevada Officials' Association.

     His high moral standards and traditional values served Ron well with his faith. Religion and faith were important to him. He was a member of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church while living in McKeesport. After his move to North Las Vegas, he became a member of St. John Neumann. During his time at Holy Trinity, he was a lector, Eucharistic Minister and Trustee. He was well respected because he was such an outgoing individual who sought to help in any manner he could.

      A generous and compassionate man, Ron accomplished much during his lifetime. Though he never set out to gain individual recognition, Ron was recognized and given awards for his many and varied efforts throughout his life. Some of his most prestigious awards included the St. Vincent College Alumni of Distinction Award, and the McKeesport Symphony Society Stolarevski Award for Service in the Arts as an Instrumental Professional.

      Not only did Ronald enjoy traveling, but he also seemed to enjoy planning all of those trips and vacations. He was a facilitator who could easily make up a near perfect schedule of all of the things to do and see. He rarely tired of going back and revisiting his favorite places. Favorite vacations included golfing at Williamsburg, Virginia and going on an Alaskan Cruise.

      Since it was easy for Ron to meet and get to know new people, he quickly made friends, even in retirement. Once he met those new friends, he loved sharing stories and talking about the good old days. Since he was practical and cost effective, Ron was ready when that day to retire finally came in 1993. His new life involved relocating to North Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2006 to be closer to his daughter. In retirement, he found continued pleasure in golfing and dancing and new pleasure in traveling, listening to jazz, playing Texas Hold'em poker, and running the clock for local basketball and volleyball games. Even in retirement, Ronald stayed in touch with his old friends and made plenty of new acquaintances. He was active in the community and felt fulfilled with the opportunities that retirement offered him.

      Ronald passed away on August 24, 2013, at his home in North Las Vegas, Nevada. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Vera, his daughter, Karen, and his brother John of North Ridgeville, Ohio. Services were held at St. John Neumann Church in North Las Vegas. Ronald was laid to rest at the grounds of his beloved Alma Mater, St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

      Ron was a fantastic conversationalist who could engage just about anyone in a discussion, and whenever he said something, he meant it. Ronald was a down to earth person, outgoing and gregarious. He was without question the type of person who enjoyed experiencing things first hand. He was practical and sensible, but what friends, family, and former students will remember him for most is the fact that he was so understanding and kind. Everyone whose life he touched will miss Ronald J. Polak.

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"The world has lost a great man but heaven has a wonderful addition. He was my music teacher, a listening ear and a wonderful friend. I have thought of him..." Julieann Klipa-Butler (Toledo, OH)

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