HARRISBURG — Mark D. Kotanchik, 61, of Harrisburg, and formerly of Coal Township, died Wednesday, June 22, 2011, at Johns-Hopkins Medical Center, Baltimore. He was ill for the past year.
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Born Aug. 20, 1949, in Shamokin, he was a son of the late Paul and Anna (Bogdan) Kotanchik.
He was a graduate of Transfiguration Ukrainian Catholic School in Shamokin. He then enrolled in St. Basil Preparatory School in Stanford, Conn., where he completed college courses until his induction into the U.S. Army.
Mark had a long and distinguished career serving 23 years in the Army. He studied at the Presidio of Monterey, now known as the Army Language School, in Monterey, Calif. Some of his most important assignments involved listening and translating in various languages. He was proud to be fluent in Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, German, Czech and Serbia-Croatian dialects. He would be called upon many times for translations during various conflicts involving the U.S. military. He also was able to use his translation skills for humanitarian purposes, of which he was extremely proud.
He and his family lived in various places, including Arlington, Va.; Monterey, Calif.; Fort Devans, Mass.; Augsburg, Germany, and Schneeberg, Germany. He served during the Vietnam and Persian Gulf conflicts, and was part of the 24th Infantry, Fort Stewart, Ga., during Operation Desert Storm and the liberation of Kuwait. He was honorably discharged from the Army on Jan. 31, 1993, as a first sergeant.
On June 24, 2010, he married Dolor Gongaga, who survives.
After his military retirement, he worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the Department of Public Welfare. Until his recent illness, he worked in the Division of Health Services.
Mark was a lifelong member of Transfiguration Ukrainian Catholic Church, Shamokin. He was involved with church activities, and always looked forward to helping at the annual parish festival each August. Mark enjoyed playing tennis, running, competing in marathons and watching game shows, especially Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. He was also an avid Penn State fan. His most important times, though, were spent with his family.
In addition to his wife, Dolor, he is survived by a son, Mark Kotanchik and his wife, Jennifer, of Albuquerque, N.M.; three daughters, Rebecca Kotanchik, of Harrisburg, Anna Kotanchik, of Albuquerque, N.M., and Emily Kotanchik, of Coal Township, and a brother, Paul Kotanchik, of Las Vegas.
KOTANCHIK — Mark D. Kotanchik, 61, of Harrisburg, and formerly of Coal Township. Divine Liturgy will be held noon Saturday at Transfiguration Ukrainian Catholic Church, Shamokin, with the Rev. Ivan Bilyk as celebrant. Interment with military honors will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Transfiguration Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery, Coal Township. Viewing will be from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Stephen A. Chowka Funeral Home, 114 N. Shamokin St., Shamokin. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Transfiguration Ukrainian Catholic Church, 303 N. Shamokin St., Shamokin 17872.
Published in The News Item from June 23 to June 24, 2011