John C. Polanichka

John C Polanichka

USAF MSG (Retired)


John C. Polanichka passed away on Thursday, January 18, 2018 after six months at Atria

Assisted Living in Salisbury MD. He was a Dover, DE resident.


John was born on March 18, 1932, in Scranton, to the late Nicholas and Suzan Chuvon Polanichka. He grew up in the coal mining community not learning to speak English until he started school at age five. John was raised in the Orthodox traditions and was a life member of St. Nicholas Greek Church, Scranton. His interest in football began at Scranton Technical HS from which he graduated in 1950.


On May 31, 1951 John enlisted in the Army Air Corps and continued to serve until his

retirement from the Air Force on August 1, 1975. John had an interesting career in military

security and was stationed at Camp Gordon in GA, Shaw AFB in SC, Ladd AFB in Alaska, Schilling

 AFB in Salinas KS, Andrews AFB in MD, Yokota AFB in Japan and Dover AFB in DE. He witnessed

an atomic bomb test detonation in the Pacific. John was chosen to serve on Air Force One and

was present in Dallas when President John F Kennedy was assassinated on 22 November 1963.

He also served as a military postal service courier. Awards received among others include the

Air Force Commendation Medal with One Oak Leaf Cluster, the National Defense Service Medal

and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.


The second career John chose was in the food service field. He graduated from the Johnson and

Wales Culinary Arts program in 1980 and worked for Playtex, Plaza 9 restaurant and Canteen in

Dover DE then fully retired in 2006 after working part-time as a school crossing guard.

John was a proud and active Scouter for many years with the Boy Scouts of America, Del-Mar-

Va Council, Two Bays District until he had to give it up in February 2017 due to declining health.

In the early 1970s he started to support the Dover AFB Troop 378 serving as Advancement

Chair then continuing in this role at the Two Bays District level and ultimately becoming the

Eagle Scout Advancement Chair. John received many awards including the Silver Beaver Award

which is the highest award Scouting can present to an adult leader, Brotherhood Honor Order

of the Arrow and earned his Woodbadge beads. He attended numerous National Jamborees in

support of the Del-Mar-Va Council. His role as Eagle Advancement Chair directly impacted his

scouts, “his boys” so they could achieve Eagle, the highest award for a boy scout. Over the  

years John quite easily assisted a thousand young men become an Eagle Scout. He had an

unwavering belief in the organization and its ability to teach lifelong skills and solid values.

John believed in and lived by the Scout Oath and Law.  

John enjoyed cooking for family and friends, dancing and listening to polkas, collecting

Lionel trains and watching professional football games especially his favorite Philadelphia



Surviving is a son, Stephen Polanichka, Factoryville; a granddaughter, Jaimie McCarthy Sammons and husband, Elliott; a step great-granddaughter, Madisen Sammons; two great-grandsons, Gideon and Silas Sammons; a great-granddaughter, Maeve Sammons;a son-in-law, James McCarthy,Blades, DE; three brothers, Andrew Polanichka and wife, Joanne, Hershey;  Very Reverend  Protopresbyter Michael Polanichka, and Pani Eleanor, Hermitage; Nicholas Polanichka and wife, Maryann, Dalton; and their families; and John’s companion and then caretaker of 38 years Charlotte Mathis along with the extended Mathis family who knew him as Poppa John.

John’s daughter Allison McCarthy, was tragically taken on January 22.

Family and friends are invited to attend John’s funeral which will be held on Saturday, January 27 at 11:00 am in St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Jefferson and Vine Streets, Scranton by his brother and Rev. Daniel Vaskalis, pastor.  Interment with full military honors will follow in the parish cemetery, Taylor.  Friends may call on Saturday from 9:30 am until 11 am at the church.

Donations in John’s memory may be sent to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton, 18510 or to Del-Mar-Va Council, 100 West 10th Street, Wilmington DE 19801 and please note it is “In Memory of John C Polanichka for Boy Scout Camp Akridge”.