COAL TOWNSHIP — Walter J. "Wally" Kanaskie, 89, of 1243 Pulaskie Ave., died Thursday morning at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville.
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Born June 27, 1924, in Shamokin, he was a son of the late Leo F. and Victoria T. (Thomas) Kanaskie.
He was a lifelong Shamokin and Coal Township resident.
He attended St. Stanislaus Grade School and graduated from Shamokin High School with the class of 1942.
He was a stellar athlete from his youth though adulthood, and excelled at football, baseball and basketball. He was the captain and quarterback of his high school football team and the captain of his high school basketball team. He led the team to a championship game played in Philadelphia.
On May 29, 1943, he entered active service with the U.S. Army and served with Battery E 81st Airborne Anti-Aircraft Battalion, 101st Airborne Division. He served in Normandy, northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and central Europe and received the Good Conduct Medal, Purple Heart Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Theatre Service Medal with five bronze stars and one arrowhead, the Belgian Bourragere and the World War II Victory Medal. He was a heavy machine gunner.
He and his troops with the 101st Airborne Division were surrounded by the Germans in the Belgian town of Bastogne, known as the Siege of Bastogne, as part of the larger Battle of the Bulge. The siege lasted from Dec. 20 to 27, 1944, when the American forces were relieved by elements of Gen. George Patton's Third Army.
After his discharge from the U.S. Army, he played minor league baseball with the Yankees. They wanted him to continue to the pros, but he chose to leave Maryland and return home to the love of his life. On Feb. 8, 1947, he married the former Emilie M. Zanesky, who survives, in St. Stanislaus Church, Shamokin.
Mr. Kanaskie worked for Cluett Peabody, Arrow Shirt Company.
Kanaskie is survived by his wife of 67 years, Emilie; his children, Gregory and his wife, Elisa Kanaskie, of West Chester, Maryann Christ, of Sherwood Village Bloomsburg, and Paul Kanaskie, of Coal Township; four grandchildren, Caroline, John, Paul Jr. and Amanda; two great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Chet.
KANASKIE — Walter J "Wally" Kanaskie, 89, of 1243 Pulaskie Ave., Coal Township. Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday in Mother Cabrini Church, 214 N. Shamokin St. Shamokin. Relatives and friends attending the funeral Mass are asked to meet at the church at 9:45 a.m. A viewing will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Leonard J. Lucas Funeral Home Ltd 120 S. Market St., Shamokin. Burial will be in All Saints Cemetery, Elysburg.
Published in News Item on Apr. 25, 2014
Leonard J. Lucas Funeral Home
120 S. Market St. Shamokin, PA 17872