Donald E. Rzepka, age 74, of Greene Township, died at his home with his wife, Theresa, at his side on March 21, 2013, after a very difficult battle with mesothelioma. Don lived his life here in Erie, attending Holy Trinity grade school, graduating from Old Tech High in 1956, and earning an associate degree from Behrend Center. While starting his career, Don was a reservist in the U.S Marine Corps for six years. A sense for practical solutions coupled with strong mechanical skills laid the foundation for a career which spanned several establishments, including: Kearsarge Tool and Mfg.; Truck Repair Inc.; Erie City Iron Works; and over 30 years at General Electric. His early retirement from GE in 1994 allowed Don and Theresa to travel the world with the GEER and elder hostel groups, making cherished memories and newfound friendships. Don had a God-given talent for music and spent his life using his gift to share Polish music with the world. He played the saxophone and clarinet in several bands and was honored to share in so many families' special memories by participating in countless weddings and performing at various clubs and events throughout the tri-state area. Through these performances, he made both beautiful music and treasured friendships. Music was far from Don's only passion. He also had a gift for building that he passed on to his sons and his home shows the depth of his skill, from the home additions, trimwork, and furniture he crafted to the barns he raised. Don's compassion for others and strong faith in God sustained him to the end of his journey. He was a dedicated parishioner of St. Boniface Church and occupied the same pew, with his family, every Sunday morning. Don was preceded in death by his parents, Edward C. and Catherine (Zyskowski) Rzepka; two brothers-in-law, Patrick E. Morabito and Paul J. Lipiec; and a sister-in-law, Patricia M. Lipiec. He is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Theresa (Lipiec) Rzepka; three sons, Jeffrey (Brenda) Rzepka, John (Carla) Rzepka, and Richard Rzepka; sister-in-law, Virginia Morabito; two aunts, Ann Rzepka and Theresa Laskowski; grandchildren Stephanie Rzepka (of Austin, Texas), Steven (fiancee Allison) Rzepka (of Anchorage, Alaska), Erin, Emily, and Andrew Rzepka (of Erie); and many nieces, nephews and one greatnephew. A special thank you to all the doctors, nurses, and all the people we came in contact with during this 17-month battle both here in Erie and in New York City. Angels truly do walk among us. Friends may call at the Mark G. Razanauskas Funeral Home, 701 East Avenue, Erie Sunday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. and Monday from 2 to 4 and from 7 to 9 p.m. where a Prayer Service will be conducted Tuesday morning at 10:15, followed by a Funeral Mass at St. Boniface Church at 11:00 a.m. Burial will be private. Donations can be made to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation of Alexandria, VA;
of Memphis, TN; or St. Boniface Parish of Erie, Pa.