COAL TOWNSHIP — Robert Francis Laczkowski, 74, of 2307 Stetler Drive, passed away Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, at his home with his wife and daughter at his side.
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He was born in Ranshaw, Dec. 18, 1938, a son of the late Francis and Helen "Kibort" Laczkowski.
He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1956. He completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He then completed specialty training as a electronics technician at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Col., where he was voted class leader. He went on to serve as an electronics technician in the Guided Missile for Aircraft Program of the Eastern Air Defense at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., until his honorable discharge in 1961.
Robert was married in St. Anthony's Church, Ranshaw, Oct. 29, 1960, to the love of his life, Bonita Catherine Dabulis, who survives.
After his honorable discharge from the Air Force, he spent the next 12 years working first as foreman for Ritz Craft Housing in Paxinos, then for Ned Stank Electric in Ranshaw, and lastly, as a design technician for Modular Housing Systems in Danville. As a side project, he built his first home in 1968 in Coal Run.
In 1973, he established a successful private contracting business, known as Bob Latch Contracting. During this time, he personally drafted, designed and built many single-family homes in the greater Shamokin area.
In 1984, Robert started teaching electrical construction at Northumberland County Vocational-Technical School in Coal Township. He remained at this position until his retirement in 2004. After his retirement, he remained a part-time substitute instructor until 2010. He completed studies at Penn State University and received a teaching certificate in 1992. During his 25 years at the vo-tech school, he had been a mentor for many students who eventually went on to become successful electricians in the greater Shamokin area.
In 1993, while teaching full-time at the vo-tech school, Robert built his current home at Stetler Drive. Working in the evenings and weekends after work, with some help from family members, he built this three-bedroom home in seven months. He continued to build additions to this wonderful home over the years. During the last four years, Robert was also the manager of the Professional Recreational Community (PRC) complex, formerly known as the Lincoln Street United Methodist Church, for his daughter and son-in-law.
Throughout his life, Robert's hobby has been painting, drawing and building things. During his last year of high school, he received an art scholarship to Carnegie-Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh. Because of his commitment to the U.S. Air Force, he had to turn it down. One of his major projects was the restoration of an MGB to its classic form. Occasionally, he could be seen driving it around town. Throughout his home, there are multiple original paintings and drawings of his wife, daughter and local scenes. As a house-warming gift for his daughter and son-in-law, he created a beautiful oil-on-canvas painting of their 18-century farm house that is now hanging on their fireplace mantel.
He especially loved decorating his home for the holidays. On the top of his list was Christmas and Easter. He was also very passionate about watching Penn State football. He had a fond love of the beach and enjoyed going to the Jersey shore for vacation in the summer. He was a child at heart and loved visiting Walt Disney World with his family. He loved all of the Disney characters, especially Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and had a collection of figurines in his den. He also enjoyed learning about Civil War history, visiting Lancaster Amish country, and doing antiquing and flee marketing with his beloved wife, Bonnie. He also enjoyed learning about the history of the Coal Region, where he spent most of his life.
Robert was a man with a great heart and generosity. For many years, he volunteered as a scoutmaster for the local Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts chapter. He remained an honorary member of the Knights of Columbus throughout his life. He created and maintained many community projects with his students at the vo-tech school. One of his favorites was stringing the lights in town during the Christmas holidays. He has spent countless days, weeks and months helping families and friends with improvement projects around their homes. Anyone who knew Robert knew that, whether family, friends, or just a stranger in need, all you needed to do was ask and he would give you the shirt of his back, if needed.
Robert loved animals his whole life. He has been a "father" to many dogs and cats, and even to his daughter's roosters. He, with the help of his daughter, has nurtured a few injured animals back to health. His cat, Morris, and Maltese dog, Tiffany, will sorely miss him.
Robert was a true family man. He has been a constant presence at his wife's side, helping her with her gardening, traveling with her on bus trips, or just relaxing at local restaurants and events. He was never too busy to have time for his only daughter, Tammy. She has many fond memories of sitting on his lap, playing games, building sand castles, traveling together and most recently, dancing the father/daughter dance to the tune of "Butterfly Kisses" at her wedding this past year. Pap Pap enjoyed spending time with his three beautiful foster grandchildren, who came to the family this past Thanksgiving.
In addition to his wife of 52 years, Robert is survived by his only daughter, Tamera and husband, Thong Le, of Easton, and his only brother, Edward, of Lancaster.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Francis and Helen Laczkowski.
LACZKOWSKI — Robert F. Laczkowski, 74, of 2307 Stetler Drive, Coal Township. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Mother Cabrini Church, 214 N. Shamokin St., Shamokin. Burial will be at the convenience of the family at a later date. A visitation will be held from 9:15 a.m. until time of service Tuesday. In lieu of flowers, the family request donations to either Mother Cabrini Church or the
. Funeral arraignments have been entrusted to The Leonard J. Lucas Funeral Home.
Published in The News Item on Feb. 24, 2013