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Michael Pundzak

Obituary for Michael Pundzak

May 16, 1929 - January 6, 2019
Toledo, Ohio | Age 89

Loving Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, Friend


Michael A. Pundzak - "The Man of Steel"
Michael Pundzak age 89, born in Duquesne, PA, passed away peacefully at his residence at Sunset Village in Toledo, OH, surrounded by loving family on January 6, 2019. He was born May 16, 1929, in Duquesne, PA to Michael, Sr. and Anna Pundzak.

The long-time resident of Sheffield Lake, Ohio, is survived by his three children, Matthew (Lynn Wilson) Pundzak, Karen (Charlie) Gatian and Kat McCowan; his grandchildren, Frances (Jeremy) Jagielski, Abbe (Alex) Barr, Jennifer Welling, Chaz (Becky) Gatian, Sherry (Chris) Appleby, Christopher Pundzak, and Patricia (Christopher) Hagen; his seven great-grandchildren, Aidan, Elliott, Gavin, Delaney, Quinn, Anna and Charley.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 33 years Dorothy (Hlivka), his parents Michael Sr. and Anna, and siblings Mary, Joseph, John, Anne, Pauline, Margaret, and Helen.

Mike graduated from Duquesne High School, Duquesne, PA in June of 1944. After working as an auto mechanic and in a glass factory in nearby Glassport, PA, he joined the U.S. Steel Corporation in Duquesne, as an Order Clerk. Mike worked with U.S. Steel until June 1951 when he was called to serve in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Mike served as a Supply Record Specialist with the 521st Signal Base Depot Company, Pusan, the Republic of Korea from August 1951 until June of 1953.

Mike proudly served in the Army and was awarded the Korean Service Medal with three bronze stars, The United Nations Service Medal and the U.S. Army Meritorious Unit Citation Award. He also received a Special Letter of Commendation from his commander, and appreciation from his fellow soldiers, for his fast action in alerting his squad that a fire had broken out in their barracks. Mike was honorably discharged in June of 1953 and headed back to Pennsylvania.

On the 8th of May, 1954, Mike married his sweetheart, Dorothy Ann Hlivka of Duquesne, PA. After a honeymoon in Florida, the couple settled in Homestead, Pennsylvania, and started a family.

Mike used his G.I. bill to attend the Schwab Technical School in Homestead. There, Mike learned the trades of plumbing, pipefitting, and welding. Mike was a talented welder and had a natural skill for laying down a precise and flawless weld.

After Schwab, he worked for Westinghouse Electric's Atomic Power Division at Bettis Field and the Large, PA facility as a craftsman. At Bettis Field, Mike supported the construction of the nuclear reactors like those that powered the USS NAUTILUS on its epic 1,800-mile transit under the North Pole in August of 1958.

At Large, PA, Mike worked with the Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application (NERVA) Program, an early 1960's initiative to develop a nuclear rocket engine to send expeditions to Mars and beyond. Mike was a member of the team that prepared the test engine for transportation from Pennsylvania to a test site in Nevada.

As Westinghouse Electric's atomic energy programs drew down, Mike moved to Ohio where he worked as a maintenance foreman for Westinghouse Electric and several affiliated companies. Mike enjoyed working, but with the death of his beloved wife, Dorothy, in May of 1987, decided to retire and focus on family and his personal interests.

Michael was a devout Catholic, praying and reading his Bible daily for his family and friends. He was an active parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Sheffield Lake, OH. One could find him ushering and giving of his time, talent and treasure. He was always pleasantly greeting others and making them feel welcome.

Michael, the "Man of Steel," was an avid Steelers fan, rain barrel gardener of his favorite crops; onion, garlic and kohlrabi, a naturally talented musician that played the harmonica by ear, clock tinkerer and knife and musical instrument collector, antique auction enthusiast, hotdog with a "little bit of mustard and triple onion" lover, KFC and Spam devotee and giver of ice cream sandwiches. He enjoyed going to the spa and his daily routine included stationary biking and swimming. He watched the Steelers with passion, especially when they played the Cleveland Browns. One could always hear him humming a tune while he was working in the yard or shining a treasure that he acquired at a garage sale. He lived simply and loved greatly. Michael was adored by all his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Family and friends may call Saturday, January 19, 2019, from 2:00- 4:00 PM at Busch Funeral Home at 163 Avon Belden Rd. Avon Lake, OH 44012 for a Celebration of Life Memorial Service followed by a dessert wake. A private interment of Michael's ashes will be held at Calvary Cemetery in Lorain, OH at a later date.

Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be given to St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Sheffield Lake, OH.

Online condolences for the family may be left at 440-933-3202

Michael's family wishes to sincerely thank Ashanti Hospice and Palliative Care in Toledo, OH, for the wonderful care and support given.

Recommended Local Florist

Suggested Memorial Donations

  • St. Thomas the Apostle Parish
    715 Harris Road
    Sheffield Lake, OH 44054

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Busch Funeral and Crematory Services

163 Avon Belden Road
Avon Lake, OH 44012
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