Aug. 27, 1930 – Oct. 18, 2015
Mel H. Pawlak, a longtime Lackawanna resident and former steelworker at Bethlehem Steel, died Sunday in his home in Lackawanna following an illness of a few months. He was 85.
A Buffalo native, he grew up in Lackawanna and attended Lackawanna High School.
Mr. Pawlak spent more than 40 years as a steel worker at Bethlehem Steel, starting in 1948. For a long period of his career, his job in the plant was as a roller. He retired in 1993.
Mr. Pawlak served in the Army from 1951 to 1953.
He and his wife, the former Marguerite Gomez of Lackawanna, became friends as teenagers, and then started dating.
They got married on Aug. 29, 1951.
The couple had lived in Lackawanna since their marriage.
He enjoyed baseball – playing in local softball leagues until he was 49, often in center field – and rooted for the New York Yankees.
He was also a fan of the Bills and Sabres.
In in recent years, he spent time volunteering at the Steel Plant Museum, where he was on the board of directors.
Mr. Pawlak loved to throw festive parties for family members on his favorite holiday, New Year’s Eve.
He and his wife enjoyed theater, and attended local performances for many years.
Mr. Pawlak was a longtime member of St. Stephen’s Serbian Orthodox Church in Lackawanna.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by five daughters, Laurie, Nancy Cellini, Sandee Anderson, Linda Hebner and Tracey Jahnke; a son, David; two brothers, Thomas Jr. and Richard; 12 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in St. Stephen’s Serbian Orthodox Church, 177 Weber Road, Lackawanna.