John Paul Durnak obituary photo
 
In Memory of

John Paul Durnak

May 8, 1921 - October 13, 2016

Obituary


John Paul Durnak Jr. ("Johnny") became an angel peacefully Thursday, October 13, 2016 with his beloved "Dolls" by his side.

Johnny was born in Butler, PA on May 8, 1921, attended Butler High School there and graduated with B.S. in Chemistry, University of Alabama.

He was preceded in death by his adored wife for 68 years, Rita Frohlich Durnak; parents, John Paul and Teresa Letchko Durnak (first generation "Ellis Island" Americans); brothers, Michael and Andrew Durnak; and sisters, Ann Franchuk, Helen Swartz, Margaret Heckathorn, and Sue Katrych.

John is survived by his...

John Paul Durnak Jr. ("Johnny") became an angel peacefully Thursday, October 13, 2016 with his beloved "Dolls" by his side.

Johnny was born in Butler, PA on May 8, 1921, attended Butler High School there and graduated with B.S. in Chemistry, University of Alabama.

He was preceded in death by his adored wife for 68 years, Rita Frohlich Durnak; parents, John Paul and Teresa Letchko Durnak (first generation "Ellis Island" Americans); brothers, Michael and Andrew Durnak; and sisters, Ann Franchuk, Helen Swartz, Margaret Heckathorn, and Sue Katrych.

John is survived by his "Dolls," daughters Terry Alice Durnak Bresler and Gina Ann Durnak (Nino Martini), and granddaughters Gina and Alix Bresler (their father, Milton W. Bresler).

From youth, Johnny was an ardent US patriot, outdoor enthusiast, excellent commercial trapper-hunter and an early environmentalist. Immediately after turning 18, he enrolled in the US Civilian Conservation Corps, (CCC) which took him from his Butler home to Flagstaff, AZ. He fell in love with the dichotomy of verdant, snowy northern Arizona and the spectacular red-rock buttes of then untouched arid Sedona. There in CCC, Johnny constructed new buildings intended to curb erosion and preserve natural resources. With wages of $30 each month, he sent $25 directly back home to his parents. He deeply valued this phase of work and his life experience there.

In April, 1943 during WWII, Johnny enlisted in the Army of the United States, received Medical Basic Training and later progressed to Advanced Surgical Technician, 1429th Area Service Unit, Spec. 5 Sergeant after graduating from the surgical course at Lawson General Hospital, Atlanta, GA. It was at Northington General Hospital in Tuscaloosa, AL that he met Rita, the coal-black headed, blue eyed spitfire of his dreams he'd marry at war's end, 1945.

John and Rita relocated to Birmingham where John accepted a position at Tennessee Coal and Iron (TCI) as a Metallurgist, evolved to Turn Supervisor then Process and Product Metallurgist for United States Steel Corporation (USS). He retired from USS early eighties, but enjoyed working as an Independent Technical Consultant for AJ Gerrard Strip Steel in Florence, AL until Rita requested more of his time.

John was a founding Knight in his beloved Knights of Columbus, Council 11537. Prior to his passing, John was their eldest Knight in this chapter.

Celebration of Life will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, 4600 Preserve Parkway, Hoover, AL 35226. Family will receive friends at the church at 10 a.m. on October 22, 2016. Procession from church will lead to Southern Heritage Cemetery for an outdoor service for John at 475 Cahaba Valley Road, Pelham, AL 35124.

Friends are invited and encouraged to join the family after ceremonies for Johnny's "It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere" event and joyfully celebrate John's life at Terry's Lakeview neighborhood clubhouse beside Paradise Lake, Lakeview Residents' Center, 3040 Paradise Parkway, Hoover, AL 35244.

Flowers are being accepted at Ridout's Southern Heritage Funeral Home in Pelham. If you prefer, you can assist John's favored charity, Knights of Columbus, Council 11537, Prince of Peace Catholic Church with a memorial donation at the address listed above, or donate to continuing research for American Heart and American Stroke Association to P.O. Box 840692, Dallas, TX 75284-0692, https://donatenow.heart.org and select Memorial link.