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Cyril "Cy" Wadzita


1925 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Wadzita, Cyril "Cy"
90, of Phoenix passed away on April 7, 2016. Cy was born July 29, 1925, in Coalton, Illinois. His parents, Michael and Maria Wadzita, were Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants of Austria-Hungary, modern day Slovakia. Cy was preceded in death by his parents and his seven older siblings, Mary, Anna, Susan, Michael, Julia, Helen, and John. Cy received vocational training at a Youth Conservation Corps camp in 1941, and graduated from Nokomis High School in 1944. Cy lettered in four high school varsity sports, including football, basketball, track and field, and his favorite sport of baseball. After graduation, Cy enlisted in the Marine Corps in April 1944. He served in the Pacific Theater on the security detail for Commander, Amphibious Group 6, aboard the flagship USS Rocky Mount (AGC-3). After WWII, Cy was honorably discharged and attended Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. He was first in his family to earn a college degree, financed by the GI Bill, a Marine Corps PLC program stipend, and working summers at Inland Steel in East Chicago. Cy played varsity football and baseball at Millikin, and was active in the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. The Big Blue varsity baseball team won three conference championships, and Cy was runner-up for the conference batting title, hitting in the clean-up position. Cy is an honoree in the Bottomley, Ruffing, Schalk (B-R-S) Baseball Museum in Nokomis, Illinois. Cy graduated from Millikin in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree, was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, and a few weeks later, the Korean Conflict began. Cy was called to active duty and assigned to the Second Marine Division in Camp Lejeune, NC. His unit deployed to the Mediterranean, on standby off Lebanon, Israel and Syria. While later serving in Japan, he met Winifred "Win" Rankin, a bright and beautiful DOD school teacher, on a blind date for the Marine Corps Birthday Ball. Immediately smitten, after a brief courtship he proposed on New Year's Eve, she accepted, and they married July 23, 1955 in Corsicana, Texas. Cy and Win began their family life together and had two sons, George and David. Cy completed over 23 years of active duty in the Marine Corps, and retired from military service, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Cy and his family moved to Phoenix in 1968 to raise their sons. Cy was an outgoing conversationalist, mentor, provider, and protector, often bold and outspoken. Cy engaged many opportunities to serve his adopted community with his fellow citizens. Cy served as a Little League coach, President of Thunderbird Little League, an AIA football and baseball official. He served as President of the Desert Foothills Booster Club, studied as a graduate student in Education at ASU, worked throughout the valley as a substitute teacher, and then as a Social Studies teacher at Deer Valley Junior High. A responsible citizen, Cy was active in local politics, registering voters as a precinct committeeman, running a grass-roots campaign in 1986 and 1988 as the District 19 Democratic candidate for state representative, serving as a presidential elector, as president and treasurer of his local district Democratic party, and as treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers Local 4017. Cy was an active Boy Scout leader in Troops 69 and 410, self-appointed neighborhood watch, life member of the DAV, and member of the American Legion for 50 years. A regular at Greenway High School's home baseball games, Cy was honored as Greenway's Number 1 Fan in 2000. In his free time and throughout retirement, Cy enjoyed watching baseball, following his favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals, and talented local players, as well as hunting, fishing, and camping throughout Arizona. He also enjoyed keeping abreast of current events, corresponding with family and friends, frequenting Westown Barber Shop, managing the family finances, reading, and studying his family and ethnic history, as well as spending time with his two sons and their families, including five grandchildren. Cy was blessed with a long and active life of service to his Lord Jesus Christ, his family, our community and our nation, with which he gratefully blessed and enriched many others' lives. We look forward to reuniting with him in Heaven with hope that the green pastures are lined with chalk for an endless season of baseball, heralded by his stentorian bass, "Play Ball!" Cy's family gratefully thank his health care professionals, the caregivers and staff at Lifestream Senior Living of Northeast Phoenix, and the Hospice of the West team for their loving and caring support through the final days of his remarkable life. Cy is survived by his loving wife of over 60 years, Winifred Rankin Wadzita; their sons, George (Janeen) Wadzita of Virginia Beach, VA, and David Wadzita, of Phoenix, and five grandchildren, Kerri (Daniel), Brent (Amy), Timothy, Courtney, Taylor; and numerous extended family. A visitation and Celebration of Life will be held 9 am. to 12:30 pm, on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at the Phoenix Memorial Park Mortuary, 200 W. Beardsley Road, Phoenix, AZ 85027. An interment ceremony with military honors will be held at 1 pm., Wednesday, April 20, 2016, at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N. Cave Creek Road, Phoenix, AZ 85024. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the non-profit B-R-S Baseball Museum, P.O. Box 75, Nokomis, IL 62075, www.brsmuseum.org; or St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance, 2831 N 31st Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85009, www.firstfoodbank.org.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Apr. 14 to Apr. 17, 2016
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