Obituary of John 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”.