Jack G. Donihi, 87, formerly of Greene Township, and a resident of Sarah A. Reed Retirement Center, passed away peacefully, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, following a brief illness. He was born in Erie on December 19, 1926, a son of the late Fred C. and Lillian H. Scheall Donihi.
Jack graduated in February 1945, from Academy High School. There he had participated in numerous sports, of which football and track were his favorites. After graduation, Jack joined the United States Navy
, in the South Pacific, during World War II, where he was a signal man and meteorologist on a carrier. Later, he was stationed on the island of Peleliu.
When Jack returned home to Erie, he married his "High School Sweetheart," the former Betty Lou Seidler, in April of 1947. She was the love of his life and they recently celebrated their 67th anniversary.
Jack began work as a jitney driver at General Electric for 40 years, before retiring in 1986, where he worked his way up to become a Customer Service Supervisor for the Transit Authorities.
He and Betty Lou both enjoyed music and dancing, and often could be found with friends at Rainbow Gardens, over the years. Jack had numerous, large vegetable and flower gardens. His favorite was the gladiolus he grew, which he enjoyed giving away to friends, family and neighbors. At one time, he had more than 3,000 flowers planted.
Jack was a former member of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. He was a member of the G.E. Quarter Century Club and the ELFUN Society of G.E. A lifetime member of the YMCA, Jack was there often for his workouts, but he also enjoyed playing ball with the children there. He always had a joke or a kind word for everyone.
Being avid travelers, vacations were very special to Jack and Betty Lou. After retirement, they took many trips with the G.E. "G.E.E.R." group. They loved going to Naples, Fla., with their children and grandchildren, and later went on various cruises with the whole family.
A cheerful and friendly person, Jack always tried to help others in any way he could. Jack was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Family was very important to him, and he will be greatly missed by his entire family.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by one brother, Richard Donihi; one sister, Evelyn Knuth; and one granddaughter, Lynnette Stuckey.
Survivors include his wife, Betty Lou Seidler Donihi; one son, Richard Donihi of Erie; two daughters, Debra Lee Thompson and her husband David of Erie and Darcie Lynn Cleary and her husband Gary of Melbourne, Fla.; three grandchildren, Tracie Perrine and her husband Jeremy, Chad Donihi and Brittany Cleary Layton; five great-grandchildren, Forrest, Courtlynn and Aubrey Stuckey and Jayden and Bryce Perrine; and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank all the staff (Jack's "angels") on the second floor of the Sarah Reed, for the quality care and kindness they gave to our father, Jack. It was much appreciated.
Friends may call at the Russell C. Schmidt & Son Funeral Home Inc., 5000 Wattsburg Rd., on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., and are invited to services there on Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. Burial will follow in Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation – 130 W. Eighth St., Erie, PA 16501, or to the Erie City Mission, PO Box 407, Erie, PA 16512.
Published in the Erie Times-News from June 28 to June 29, 2014