DONCH, George Joseph
CMSgt., USAF (Ret.)
Age 88 when he joined Our Lord, George was the youngest of nine surviving children of Slovak immigrants Michael Andrew Donch and Elizabeth Papcun. He has now been reunited with his parents and siblings Mary, Pat, Helen, John, Michael, Cecelia, and Catherine. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Irene Bak, children Susan, John, and Terese, sons-in-law Gerald Lenahan and William Howard, grandchildren Nolan and Colleen Lenahan, sister Margaret Bak, and numerous nieces and nephews, all of whom he loved.
George was a big, strapping farm boy who started work in the coal mines when he graduated from St. Benedict's High School in Carrolltown, PA. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and served in Italy and Guam as an aircraft mechanic. In 1945 he returned to the farm and mines. One year later he re-enlisted in the Air Force as a SSgt. to 'see the world.' He was first on assignment with the UN in the Middle East, then was stationed at various SAC bases around the country and in French Morocco. It was at Travis AFB, CA in 1950 where he married Irene and where Susan was born, and at Hunter AFB, Savannah, GA in 1955 and 1956 where John and Terese were born. He retired from the Air Force from Plattsburgh AFB, NY in 1964, and having fond memories of the lovely weather in California, returned to settle in Rancho Cordova, CA. He then embarked on a 20-year Civil Service career at McClellan AFB, and continued his life-long interest in learning at American River College. He and Irene moved to Folsom, CA in 1983, and he retired for good in 1984.
George was a man of sterling character, great integrity, and deep Christian faith. He loved being around people and had a booming voice and strong handshake. He loved telling stories about the coal mines, the war, his years in the Air Force, and humorous things about people he'd known through the years, especially after a good meal! He was a coach for youth sports and a long-time Boy Scout leader. He was active in the Knights of Columbus and was a fourth-degree knight.
Besides his family and Church, George loved the USAF, Boy Scouts of America, pro football, and the Knights of Columbus. He's going to miss those breakfasts and the golf and poker games, guys!
Visitation will be Thursday evening 1/24/13 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Miller Funeral Home in Folsom, CA, with a rosary from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Mass will be on Friday 1/25/13 at 11:00 am with a reception immediately following in the parish hall. Interment will be at 2:00 at Calvary Catholic Cemetery on Verner Ave. in Sacramento, CA.
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Jan. 25, 2013