Cover photo for Aloysius Polaneczky's Obituary
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Aloysius

Aloysius Polaneczky

d. May 24, 2020

ALOYSIUS "AL" POLANECZKY 4/8/1928 - 5/24/2020 Long-time Oreland resident Aloysius “Al” Polaneczky died on May 24, 2020, of heart-disease and other natural causes. He was 92. At the time of his death, he was living at Spring House Estates retirement community in Lower Gwynned, Pa. Al was born in the now-historic Pennsylvania coal-mining town of Eckley, Pa., on April 8, 1928 – an Easter Sunday – and was immediately nicknamed “Bunny,” by which his family and close friends knew him for the rest of his life. The name was even written in rhinestones on the accordion he received as a child and played for decades afterward. When he was about 12, his family moved to the Germantown section of Philadelphia. He graduated at age 15 from Furness High School and received a full scholarship to study engineering at Drexel University, where he was subjected to (mostly) affectionate ribbing from the much older, returning war veterans who shared classes with him. He subsequently earned a master’s degree in statistics, from Villanova. He met his wife, Patricia “Patsy” Ford, when they were parishioners at St. Stephen’s parish in Nicetown, where they wound up performing together in a church talent show. She sang “Danny Boy,” while he accompanied her on his accordion. It was love at first sight. They married in 1953 and had two children while caring for Pat’s invalid mother, who died in 1955. The couple then moved to Oreland, where they had seven more children. Devout Catholics, they were beloved fixtures in Holy Martyrs parish; their children attended the school, Pat sang in the choir, and Al was a lector and music director. They were also involved in Oreland’s many wholesome, small-town activities, including the Oreland Little League, where Al announced games while Pat manned the snack bar (and was known for handing out well-juiced sno-cones). Al was proud of his children, but also strict, pushing them hard to be responsible and accountable to themselves, the family, and the faith community he believed in. His toughness was countered by Pat’s gentle, sweetly forgiving love for their children. Together, they made a strong team. Al was one of the country’s first IT experts, programming the Honeywell 1400 computer at the Franklin Institute, where he worked early in his career - and where he experienced 15 minutes of infamy in 1964, when the Philadelphia Phillies appeared to be a shoo-in for the National League pennant. When there were just 12 games left in the regular season, a local radio station asked Al to use the Honeywell 1400 to analyze post-game statistics in order to calculate the Phillies odds of winning the pennant. Al dutifully reported the results after every game, on the air. As the Phillies tanked – a debacle that came to be known as the Philly Phold – fans accused Al of jinxing the team. One hater wrote him a venomous letter, filled with spelling and grammatical errors, which Al corrected and mailed back. He found the whole thing hilarious. After the Franklin Institute closed its research department (unrelated to the Phold incident), Al worked at Elf-Atochem as a programmer and analyst until his retirement at 65. Al had a wicked sense of humor. His kids will never forget how he’d load them into the station wagon and drive past golf courses, slowing just as a golfer was about to swing, and then instructing his kids to yell, “Hey, hacker, get a birdie!” – causing the golfer to miss the ball as the family sped away, shrieking in laughter. He also loved Mad magazine for the way it skewered the unctuous and poked fun of the rich and famous. He was a fan of both old-school comedians – Milton Berle, Jonathan Winters, Sid Ceasar – and younger performers of absurd comedy, like Steven Wright. Clever, funny wordplay made Al happy. So did eating Lays potato chips, at any time of day and as an accompaniment to any meal – even the most elegantly prepared Thanksgiving feast. He balanced his many family and work responsibilities with copious hobbies. He wrote and performed barbershop-quartet music (including a full-length musical whose songs were all written for four-part harmony) and was for decades a deeply involved member of the Abington chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America. He made his own wine. He dabbled in oil painting. He fished and golfed, taught his children how to make pierogi and change the spark plugs and tires of the used cars he found for them via classified newspaper ads. He finished the New York Times crossword puzzle, in ink, every day. And there was nothing he couldn’t fix around the house. (Although the haircuts he gave his children, to save money, and the dresses he’d sew for his six girls, for the same reason, left much to be desired, style-wise.) When he and Pat moved to Spring House Estates in 2003, Al got involved in the community’s theater group, reveled in the center’s copious music and literature programs, handled the evening-meal announcements in the dining hall, and - when he could no longer drive to Holy Martyrs for Mass – read the weekly Scripture at the center’s Catholic Sunday services. The only thing stronger than Al’s faith was his love for Pat, the angel of his life, and they were sweethearts until her death in 2010. It gives Al’s family great peace to envision Al and Pat together, holding hands again, as they had from their very first date. Besides Pat, Al was pre-deceased by daughter Fran Paul (Adam), who died in 2011; and brothers Tom (Barbara) and Bob (Betsy), who died in 2011 and 2019, respectively. He is survived by his brother Ed (Rosemary); by children Al Jr. (Darcy), Peggy (Paul), Pat Federowic (Bill), Ronnie (Noel), Adam (Becky), Michael (Janet), Mary Lou Rittenhouse (Chuck), Rosemary Jenkins (Bob) and Joe (Rachel); by grandchildren Joe (Jacqui), Dan (Cathy), Patrick, Emily, Natalie, William, Addie, Henry, Sam, Taylor, Connor, Annemarie (Dylan), Amy (Matt), Mike, Mary, Patrick (Jenn), Charlie, Ben, Harry, Kayleigh, Maddie, Delaney, Grace, and Luke; and by great-grandchildren Maria, Joey, Eddie, and one more (a boy), due any day. Due to the pandemic, graveside services will be private. A memorial service and life celebration will be held at a later date. Al’s children wish to thank all those who offered such love and concern through these last difficult months and are especially appreciative of his caregivers at Springhouse Estates. So in lieu of flowers, donations in Al’s memory may be made payable to ACTS, Inc. Employee Appreciation Fund, Springhouse Estates, Attn. Tracy Shelton, 728 Norristown Rd., Lower Gwynedd, PA 19002
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Sunday, May 24, 2020

1220 Bethlehem Pike

PA

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