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American Veteran 01


Paul J. Polka

May 26, 1937 ~ May 4, 2018 (age 80)

Paul J. Polka

Paul J. Polka, 80, passed away on May 4, 2018 at home in West Chester, PA.

Mr. Polka was born and raised in Pittston, PA and graduated from Pittston City High School in 1954, to the relief of many teachers there. 

He then enlisted in the Air Force, serving as Personnel Specialist at Chanute Air Force Base headquarters, Rantoul, Illinois.  Fittingly, Mr. Polka was honorably discharged on April Fool’s Day, 1958. 

He married Joan (née Marion) of Yardley, PA in 1967 at St. Martin of Tours in New Hope, PA. 

Over the years he held various jobs, starting as the accordion player, “Smokey,” in the country-western band Tommy Clem Freas and the Melody Ranch Boys, and working as a highly successful color matcher for three years despite being colorblind.  After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Immaculata in 1977 – the third male ever to graduate from what was then a women’s college --, he was employed by the US Department of Defense in Philadelphia and San Diego as a logistic management specialist, managing survival technical publications for naval aviators until his retirement in 2001. 

In 2002, he suffered sudden cardiac death, but it didn’t stick, allowing him to carry on his obsession with getting the fastest time ever in Minesweeper.  He was inordinately fond of sudoku, crossword puzzles and multiplying four-digit numbers in his head, but could not fold a map. He was the founding member of the Melvin Durslag fan club, and was licensed to carry uranium across state lines.  One of his great joys was people going away and leaving him alone, unless they were willing to pick a card, any card. The Philadelphia Eagles will struggle without his advice, given liberally during televised games.

He is survived by his wife, Joan Polka, of West Chester, son Brian Polka and his wife Heather Madison of Bushkill, PA, daughter Bridget Casterline and her husband Dave Casterline of West Chester, brother Michael Polka of Athens, AL and brother James Polka and his wife Joyce Savage of Hohenwald, TN.

Visitation will be held on Friday, May 11, from 6 to 8 PM at DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home, Inc. 410 N. Church St., West Chester, PA 19380, 610-696-1181,

Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Paul’s memory to the Good Fellowship Ambulance Club, P.O. Box 361, West Chester, PA 19381.

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