Memories of a short life
Data: 26.10.2011

Mike Pilewski

Online editor

Each month in the magazine, I write about the anniversary of a historical event, such as the birth or death of an important person. Lately, though, I‘ve been thinking about an anniversary that came and went this year. The important person was my grandfather.
Next Wednesday, two days after Halloween, is All Souls‘ Day. The occasion is hardly celebrated now, but along with the rest of the Catholic community of Oil City, Pennsylvania, John Walter Pilewski would certainly have taken some time on that day to remember the dead. So I‘ll carry on the tradition by remembering him.
My grandfather, born in 1906, was the son of immigrants. The whole neighborhood, in fact, was full of them; many still spoke more Polish than English. The house was full of Catholic iconography, and if you didn‘t know what was for dinner, cabbage was always a good bet.
The New World offered a generous opportunity to anyone who was willing to work hard enough, and work hard my grandfather did. He was known for it - as a railroad employee in the 1920s, then later as traffic manager (workflow supervisor) at the local glass and bottle company. He was knowledgeable and friendly. Those who knew him liked and respected him.

Five children - a typical family size for the time, but born during the Depression or the war - were a challenge to feed. Everything was reused: clothes were handed down, containers were washed out, bones and other scraps were saved for soup. By cutting backwherever possible, and by stretching its resources, the family got through this difficult time. Luckily, my grandfather was able to support them through his job.
In those days, you could walk to work - not because the distances were shorter, but because walking was what people did. It was the only exercise someone like my grandfather would get. Thin as a rail (like most people back then), he couldn‘t have imagined our modern ideas about health. To keep going, he drank 20 cups of black coffee a day. Greasy food began to clog his arteries. And the stresses of work and family contributed to the high blood pressure he was probably born with - a condition that the medicines of the time could not have treated anyway.
In those days, there was no work-life balance. Life itself was work. When my grandfather was slaving away in the office, my grandmother was slaving away at home with her washboard and rug-beater. Vacation was a privilege of the wealthy. Doctors‘ appointmentswere rare - and if the doctor came to see you, it was usually too late.
It was for my grandfather. He died at age 50.
This was long before my birth. All I know about him, I‘ve written here - and I‘m not even sure I‘ve got all the details right. I know of only two photographs of him - one taken at a friend‘s wedding, the other taken in his office. That in itself says a lot.
How different things are today, with the advances in medicine, an awareness of possible warning signs and legal limits to the number of hours we work.
Would those things have stopped him, though? Growing up in a Polish home, my grandfather probably knew the saying Praca nie zaj±c, nie ucieknie. (Literally: Work is not a hare; it won‘t run away. In other words, there will always be enough to do. There‘s more to life than work.) The equivalent saying today might be the question "Do you work to live or live to work?"
I don‘t know if either one would have made sense to him. Working hard was the best way he could support his family - immediately and down the road. My grandfather may have worked himself to death; but I like to think he worked as hard as he did so that I wouldn‘t have to

Data: 15.04 2010

Dear Slawek,

Now, about Edmund Thadeus Pilewski...Yes, he did live in Pittsburgh.
He died on September 16, 1996. He was 60 years old. He did NOT serve in the military. He was a bus driver for the City of Pittsburgh.
Charlotte and I met him when he was a patient in the hospital. He was so happy to meet us. Charlotte was working in the hospital then and saw his name on his hospital chart and we went to visit him.
He was a very nice man and was very well liked by the people who rode on his bus.
I spoke with his widow this morning by phone.
The parents of Edmund Thadeus came to New York from Poland sometime before 1936. Edmund Thadeus was born in New York.
Around 1978, when Edmund Thadeus was 18 years old, he was allowed to choose between Poland and New York. He chose to stay in the United States and his parents went back to Poland.
His Father's name was Edmund also. His father was born around 1913.
Edmund senior also did NOT serve in the military in the USA.
His Mother's maiden name was Irena Uniszkiewicz. She was born around 1912 and died in 1982.
The family found letters from Poland after Edmund Thadeus died but since they could not read Polish they threw them away. It is too bad that they did this; we might have learned more about that branch of our family.

Slawek, I hope that this information will be a help to you.

Let us keep in touch.

Data: 15.04 2010

Hi Slawek,

I made two mathematical errors in my first E-mail. Edmund Thadeus Pilewski was born in 1936 in New York.
In 1954, when he was 18 years old, he decided to remain in the United States when his Mother and Father went back to Poland.



Data: 28.04 2010

Dear Slawek,

Last year, my brother, Jerry [Jerome] visited the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania [site of the famous Civil War Battle] and found a tombstone with this inscription:

George Stanley Pilewski
Feb. 22, 1922
Sept. 11, 1943

I have looked into this further and found that George Stanley was a hero and won the NAVY CROSS.
Here is what I have found:
Full Text Citations For Award of The Navy Cross 

To U.S. Navy Personnel
World War II

Navy Cross Citations U.S. Navy - World War II

Citation: The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to George S. Pilewski, Hospital Apprentice First Class, U.S. Navy (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism and conspicuous devotion to duty while serving on board the Light Cruiser U.S.S. SAVANNAH (CL-42), while that vessel was stationed in the Gulf of Salerno supporting our landings during the amphibious invasion of Italy on 11 September 1943. When the detonation of an enemy bomb inflicted heavy casualties, set off numerous fires and filled the turrets with dense smoke and toxic gases, Hospital Apprentice First Class Pilewski unhesitatingly risked his life to enter one of the turrets and, unmindful of the imminent danger of magazine explosions, coolly evacuated personnel who had been overcome, continuing his unselfish service until he himself was overcome while administering artificial respiration to one of the men he had rescued. By his courage and efforts in behalf of others at great risk to his own life, Hospital Apprentice First Class Pilewski undoubtedly saved many lives, and his steadfast devotion to duty throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 324 (March 1944)
Born: February 22, 1922 at Dickson City, Pennsylvania
Home Town: Dickson City, Pennsylvania

He was born in Dickson City, Pennsylvania

Data: 28.04 2010

Hi Slawek,

George Stanley Pilewski lived [Dickson City] in Lackawanna County which is in the North-Eastern part of Pennsylvania.
We live [Pittsburgh] in Allegheny County which is in the South-Western part of Pennsylvania.
Oil City where I was born and where my grandparents and parents lived all their lives, is in Venango County in North-Western Pennsylvania.
I had NO IDEA that we had relatives in the North-Eastern part of the State.

All the best,


Data: 28.04 2010

Dear Norbert,

In my opinion George Stanley is Stanley Pilewski Jacob Clan see
Generation 25 Table 4 (on website)

Regards Slawek

Data: 28.04 2010

More Pilewski information

George Stanley's father was MARION
PILEWSKI, George Stanley, Hospital Apprentice 1c, USNR., awarded Navy Cross in WW II,
Father, Mr. Marion Pilewski, 971 Lincoln St., Dickson City,Pennsylvania

Pilewski, Ervin J.
Died: July 08, 2006
Ervin J. “Bill” Pilewski, WW II Army Air Corps Veteran, beloved husband of Shirley, nee Sayles, loving father of Patricia Skaja, Susan Macatangay, Thomas (Judith), William (Denise), Catherine Slater and John, devoted grandfather of nine, great-grandfather of one, fond brother of Virginia Pilewski,
Des Plaines, Illinois.

Data: 15.04 2010

Dear Slawek,

The following is what I have found using the computer.
I will also send a letter to Marion Pilewski's address 
asking the Pilewski Family there for more information
about the grandfather of George Stanley Pilewski.


PIlewski - Long-lost Relatives - April 2010

World War I - 1917-1918 - Draft Registration Card
Marion Antoni Pilewski
Serial Number: 2055
Order Number: A-233
FHL Roll Number: 1893474
Born: July 27, 1883
Lackawanna County
1068 Lincoln Street
Dickson, Pennsylvania
Race: White
Height: medium
Build: medium
Color of eyes: blue
Color of hair: blond
Present Occupation: Liquor Dealer
Place of Employment: 1068 Lincoln Street
Age: 35 years old
U.S. Citizen: Naturalized
Nearest Relative: wife, Jadwiga Pilewska
Address: 1068 Lincoln Street
Registrar: Mary V. Pamick
Date of Registration: September 12, 1918 [same date as other Marion]

  Dear Norbert, above info concern Clan Jakub Generation 25 Table 4


World War I - 1917-1918 - Draft Registration Card
Marion Pilewski
Serial # --39
Order # A-1594
Permanent Adress: Collinsville
County: Hartford
State: Conecticut
Age: 37 yrs old
Date of Birth: 1881
Race: white
Alien: non-declared
Russian Pole
Present Occupation: labourer
Employer: Collins Compnay
Place of Business: Collinsville, Hartford County, Connecticut
Nearest Relative: Wadislaw Pilewski
Address: Collinsville, Hartford County, Connecticut
Signature: Marion Pilewski, X mark [someone signed for him]
Height: medium
Build: slender
Color of eyes: blue
Color of hair: light
Date of Registration: September 12, 1918 [same date as Marion Antoni]
Registrar's Report # 6-1-5C
Registrar: Martin J. Moroney
   I can not identify him, more info could help


John L. Pilewskie, 74, of Erie, formerly of Oil City, died Saturday,
July 26, 2003, in Erie. He is survived by a brother, Victor Pilewski of Oil City

    More info could help, with these remains unknown.


November 7, 2009
Francis John Pilewski
Francis John Pilewski, 86, of Erie, Pa., formerly of Oil City, Pa., passed away on Thursday, November 5, 2009, surrounded by his family, at Saint Vincent Health Center, following a brief illness. He was born in Oil City, Pa., on May 4, 1923, the eldest of six sons of Thecla Huefner and John Pilewski. He graduated from St. Joseph's School, having been taught by the Benedictine Sisters. He worked at Manion Steel Barrel Company in Oil City. He entered the United States Marine Corp in 1941 and served with the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division. He fought in WWII in the Pacific arena campaigns of Guadalcanal, Cape Glouster, New Britain, New Guinea, Pavuvu, and Peleliu. He received presidential citations for Guadalcanal and Peleliu. After four years of service in the Marine Corps., he married Mary Alice Boyer on September 1, 1945, in Oakland, California. They returned to the East Coast, making Erie their home. He was employed at General Electric in the Building and Maintenance Carpenter Gang in Erie. In 1949, he began 23 years of service, on the Erie Police Department, as a patrolman, vice squad member, and detective sergeant, to lead Sergeant on State Street. He authored the Widow's Pension Rights for wives of deceased police officers. He was a major contributor to the compulsory and binding arbitration for police officer Act # 111, amendment 9-A. He also served as Secretary of Haas Memorial Lodge # 7, Fraternal Order, of Police, Erie, PA and as a National Trustee to the Fraternal Order of Police. He was Secretary of the Police Relief and Pension Association for over 16 years and chaired the Board of Directors for the Police Credit Union. He served as President of the League of 3rd Class Cities, which was instrumental in passing legislation beneficial to police officers and their families. After he retired from the Erie Police Department in 1972, he was appointed Municipal Police Consultant for the Department of Community Affairs for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. During that time, he received his Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies and Police Administration with a minor in history form Elizabethtown College in 1977. In addition, he was a licensed securities broker. He retired in 1985. Frank enjoyed volunteering at St. Mary's Home and Second Harvest Food Bank. Frank was an avid outdoorsman, enjoyed fishing and hunting. In addition, he loved reading, gardening, and the stock market. He was a parishioner and usher at Holy Rosary Church, member of The Men's Cursillo Movement # 97, the Erie Maennerchor Duckpin League Team, “Frank's Nite Out”, Erie Boys Baseball and the Erie Commodores. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 44 years, Mary Alice Boyer Pilewski in 1989; his grandson, Marc J. Kaliszewski; four brothers Bernard, Paul, Edward and John Pilewski and his son-in-law, Barry J. Turner. He is survived by his nine children, Sr. Margaret Ann Pilewski, OSB, Erie, Michael and Carolyn Pilewski, of Pittsburgh, Pa., James and Karen Pilewski, of Eastlake, Ohio, Joseph and Janet Pilewski, of Lake Hopatcong, N.J., William and Cyndi Pilewski, of Cranesville, Pa., Mary Alice and John Kaliszewski, of Erie, Timothy and Regina Pilewski, of McKean, Pa., Marie T. Turner, of Erie, and Patrick and Debbie Pilewski of Rollinsford, N.H. He is survived by 23 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren and counting. He is also survived by his brother, Victor Pilewski, of Oil city, Pa. Many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends also survive. Friends may call at the A. Brugger & Sons Funeral Home, LLP, 845 East 38 St., Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. and may attend services there on Monday at 9:15 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass at Holy Rosary Church at 10:00 a.m. Burial in Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery with military honors. Memorial contributions may be made to The Benedictine Sisters of Erie, 6101 East Lake road, Erie, PA 16511; Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 2701 East Avenue, Erie, PA 16504; or the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots, 3938 Old French Rd., Erie, PA 16504

   Thiese details belong to Clan Jakub  Generation 25 Table 23
   Thank you Norbert with regards Slawek


All the best,

Data: 13.06 2009
Do: pilewski@op.pl
Temat: Symbol

I'm Erik Pollard, my mothers maiden name is Pilewski and i was wondering about the symbol in the top left corner of the webpage. It is the symbol that looks like a tree trunk with wings. I was wondering what is the significance of that symbol and if it has any meaning.

Thank You
Erik Pollard

Od: Slawek
Data: 13.06 2009
Temat: Odp: Symbol

Dear Erik,
This sign is Pilewski's Coate of Arms. In middle ages documents were not signed, but stamped with this sign, which belongs to the family.
Are you from USA? Let me know about your mother ancestors. Are they in the genealogical tables?
Regards Slav Klec Pilewski

Dear Slawomir Klec Pilewski,
It is with great joy we have found your website! My name is Kathryn Pilewskie Strick from Erie, Pennsylvania. My father was John Leo Pilewskie, son of John (Jan) Pilewski of Oil City, Pennsylvania (Clan of Jacob). My father died in 2003. I see we have information to provide you, as only my brothers are listed in the genealogy, not myself, nor my sisters. I will also send you pictures.

I will be putting together all our information and sending this to you. Would you prefer a Word document, or just text in the body of the email?

We have so little information about the Pilewski Family and its history. Please know we send you love, and perhaps we will meet you at a gathering some day!

God Bless You All,

Kathryn Pilewski Strick

Erie, Pennsylvania

Data: 08.07.2013


Online editor

On Friday, June 7, 2013, age 91, a member of the Felician Sisters of Moon Twp. for 72 years. Sister was a native of Oil City, PA, and was the daughter of the late Julianna (Pencka) and Marion Pilewski. She was preceded in death by her parents; two brothers, Joseph and Leon; and three sisters, Mary, Sophie, and Jane. She is survived by sisters, Lucille Szalewicz of Seneca, PA and Regina Andres of Titusville, PA; also nieces and nephews; and more than 1,500 Felician Sisters. Friends received in the Felician Sisters Central Convent, 1500 Woodcrest Ave., Coraopolis, PA on Sunday, June 9 from 2-8 p.m. with a Wake Service at 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, June 10 at 10:30 a.m. in the Convent Chapel. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Felician Sisters Retirement Fund or a charity of one's choice . Arrangements by ANTHONY J. SANVITO INC. FUNERAL HOME, Coraopolis, 412-264-3050.

Send condolences at post-gazette.com/gb

Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from June 8 to June 9, 2013

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