One Day At A Time
Terry L. Marzka, age 63, of Millcreek Township, passed away Wednesday, April 2, 2014, at Erie Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He was born on June 21, 1950, in Erie, the son of the late Fred (Fritz) and Mildred (Midge) Graham Marzka. "God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference."
In his youth growing up in Mill Village, Terry enjoyed hunting with Gramps and watching over and caring for his many cousins.
Terry attended Tech H.S., where he was a standout on the football team. After high school, he enlisted in the US Navy, and served his country during the Vietnam War
. He is best known for being on the USS Hornet pickup of the Apollo 11 astronauts, after their Columbia Command Module splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969, paying a friend $50 to work his shift, so he could witness the historic event firsthand. "Someday my grandkids are going to hear about this and say, "Grandpa was there," Marzka said of splashdown day. He was right. Four months later, the Hornet would serve as the recovery ship for Apollo 12. By then, the mission was old hat. This time, Marzka slept through the splashdown. "It was history," he said, "but not first-time history." He also served on the USS Coral Sea.
He returned to Erie from the Navy and continued playing football for the Semi-Pro Erie Panthers, until a knee injury forced him to quit. He then formed the Stadium Lounge softball team and played modified softball for 15 years. A fierce competitor, he made very few friends on the field, but developed many after his playing days when he moved over to umpiring, which he is best known for in the softball community. A larger than life presence, standing six feet, five inches, 250 pounds, and possessing a booming voice, Terry never had any trouble controlling games, and in his younger days, quickly gained a reputation as one of the best umpires in the area, expanding his umpiring to both high school and college baseball and softball.
One of Terry's proudest accomplishments was founding the Boy's Baseball dynasty of Church & Murdoch. When he took the team over in 1988 they were 3-17, but just two years later, they won back-to-back city championships, four league championships total.
Later in life, Terry became a very active and influential member of the AA community, making many friends and positively affecting the lives of countless others, through his guidance, openness, and sponsorship. In this instance, Terry's famous message, "do as I say, not as I do," could be modified to "do as I say, and do." He was a good friend of Bill W.
He has a son, Brooks Marzka, from his marriage to Linda Shilling (now Dunbar) and gained a stepdaughter, Samantha Moore, with his marriage to Karen Marzka (formerly Moore). He loved children and was very involved in avidly supporting both Brooks and Samantha in their academic and athletic careers, always boasting proudly of their achievements. "A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove . . . but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child."
Professionally, Terry was a career sheet metal fabricator working at numerous places, but most notably at GE, Smith-Meter, and AMSCO/Steris. Terry enjoyed boating in Lake Erie, country line dancing at the Best Western and doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku. He was an avid Raiders and Pirates fan and got to witness the Pirates' playoff run last year. Terry was a lifetime member of the Sunflower Club. He also loved animals, namely his cats Otis and Gomer.
Overall, Terry was a larger-than-life figure to all who knew him, and those who were on his side loved him dearly. He lived life with a rebellious attitude and did things his way. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. Truly a Legend in his Own Time . . .
Survivors include his wife Karen Marzka of Millcreek, his son Brooks Marzka of Pittsburgh, the joy and love of his life, his granddaughter Sophia Marzka of Erie, his stepdaughter, Samantha Moore of Harrisburg, his brother Randy Marzka of Erie, and his sister Mary Pryce of Erie, along with Aunt Pinkie Disbrow, Uncle Steve Graham, his godson, Jeremy Pryce and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He held a special place in his heart for his great-niece Nariah Marzka.
Friends may attend a viewing at the Dusckas-Martin Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 4216 Sterrettania Rd., Erie, PA 16506, (814) 838-7656, on Saturday, April 5, 2014 from 4:00 p.m. until time of service there at 7:00 p.m., conducted by the Rev. Don L. Fisher from Erie First Assembly Church. Interment will be private. Memorial contributions may be made to the MYAA Boy's Baseball, 2614 Colonial Ave., PO Box 8184, Erie, PA 16505, Great Lakes Home Health Care and Hospice, 1700 Peach St., Erie, PA 16501, or to the VA Medical Center Hospice Unit, 135 East 38th Street, Erie, PA 16504.