Remember me with smiles, not tears. I was blessed with a full life of 80 years. My life on earth has ended, and I am resting in Heaven surrounded by loved ones who have gone before me.
My journey began when I was born on February 9, 1942, to the late John and Helen (Levi) Malak in Jackson Township. My first family included 4 brothers and 2 sisters. Rose Marie, John Jr., and Raymond preceded me in death.
Surviving is my wife, Kathleen (Whalen) Malak, with whom I was blessed to share 57 beautiful years of marriage. As I took my last breath on July 13, I began the journey to our next life together. Until we are reunited in Heaven, she will be loved and supported by our much-loved children, Maria (Gary) Hutsko, Richard (Missy) Malak, and Michael (Phoebe) Malak, and my cherished grandchildren, Emily Malak, Andrew Hutsko, Rachel Malak, Julia Hutsko, Sarah Malak, and Mark Hutsko. Also surviving me are my brothers and sister, Donald and Paul Malak and Rita Fox; my sisters and brothers-in-law, Dorothy (Robert) Komsisky, Linda (Thomas) Casey, Joseph (Marie) Whalen, Robert (Betty) Whalen, and many nieces and nephews.
My years here were well-spent, enriched not only by a beautiful family, but by meaningful work. I was a graduate of Lehman High School, class of 1960, and Lackawanna College. After high school, I joined the U.S. Army, where I began my training as a Paratrooper and progressed to Jumpmaster with the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, NC. Upon my deployment in Operation Power Pack in 1965, I received the Combat Infantryman Badge. My Army career spanned 35 years. I served with the 402nd and 424th Military Police Army Reserve Unit, Ashley, PA and 187th Infantry Brigade, Fort Devans, MA as Personnel Sergeant. I retired with the rank of Master Sergeant in 1996.
Over the past 25 years, I developed my own business, Pine Tree Farm, where I cultivated evergreen trees for wholesale and Christmas Tree sales. I was known for spending my days on the farm, tending to my trees. I took great pride in my business, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season always bringing my family together. Though farm maintenance was surely a year-long endeavor for me, no time of year was as rewarding as Christmas, when the whole family would work alongside one another. Through our own family tradition – trimming, bailing, wreath-making – the family traditions of so many others – cutting, decorating, celebrating – could be all the more special.
I treasured the many family vacations, dinners, and hunting and sporting lodge parties throughout my life. I enjoyed my membership and camaraderie at the Lake Silkworth Sportman’s Club. In addition, I was an active member of the American Legion Daddow-Isaacs Lodge Post #672 in Dallas, PA. I was privileged to be a part of the Honor Guard that recognized and dignified our country and our local fallen veterans.
I want to thank the staff at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Trauma Center and ICU unit that provided my care. The comfort and support they offered Kathy, Maria, Rick, and Michael is immeasurably appreciated, especially since I was no longer able to protect them myself.
Please join my family at Richard H. Disque Funeral Home, 2940 Memorial Highway, Dallas on Sunday, July 17 between 6 PM and 8 PM to celebrate my life. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 AM at Our Lady of Victory Church Harveys Lake. Interment will be at Mount Olivet Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to a charity of your choice. My final request to all my family and friends is to support my passion by planting a tree in my honor.