Francis J. Belekanich
Francis J. Belekanich, 88, of Jim Thorpe, fell asleep in the Lord, at home, on Monday, Oct. 21. He was the loving and devoted husband of Veronica (King) Belekanich.
Born and raised in Freeland, Luzerne County, he was a son of the late Aftanas and Mary Belekanich. He was the youngest of 10 children in the family.He graduated from the former Freeland High School in 1943 and joined the Army right after high school. He was part of "the greatest generation" and served his country with honor in the India-Burma Theatre of Operations during World War II. He was proud to have played a part in the building of the Ledo Road, a critical supply route forged through the jungle between India and China,
- They celebrated 66 blessed and happy years together on June 7, 2013.
After the war, he worked in the family beer distributing business for 15 years. In 1963, he and his wife built the Tip Top Bar and Restaurant, Freeland. They worked side by side at there for 24 years before retiring to Jim Thorpe in 1987 to be near their daughter.
An avid Penn State fan, Francis was proud of his "Penn State Bar" and of being the first bar in Freeland to offer sporting events on a big screen television. He took great pleasure when his clientele would say his bar was just like the famous "Cheers" bar on television.
Upon retirement to Jim Thorpe, he took a part-time position as a security guard in the Penn Forest Streams development, which turned into a "second career," lasting 24 years. He had also worked for several years as a cook at the White Haven State School, White Haven.
Surviving in addition to his widow are a daughter, Carol Kardisco of Jim Thorpe; a son Thomas, and his wife, Christine, of Honolulu, Hawaii; four grandsons, Anthony of Tampa, Fla., James of Frisco, Tex., Jason Kardisco of Harrisburg and Justin Kardisco; and a great-grandson Gauge of Jim Thorpe; a sister Helen of Lattimer, Pa; and many nieces and nephews. He will be sadly missed by family and friends and by his Springer spaniel, "Allie," his faithful and loving companion.
He was also preceded in death by three brothers, Thomas, Michael and John; and five sisters, Anna Belekanich, Agnes Kervitsky, Julia Uricheck, Margaret Reilly and Alice Hogan.
Francis will be remembered by all for his outgoing personality, his "gift of gab," his unique storytelling abilities and his loyalty to Penn State football. He loved playing Santa Claus every year for the children in Penn Forest Streams.
He was of the Orthodox faith and was a devoted member of St. John the Baptist Carpatho-Rusyn Orthodox Church, Nesquehoning.
Service: Panachida service 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, Joseph S. Blazosky Funeral Home, 81 E. Catawissa St., Nesquehoning; followed by Divine Liturgy in St. John Russian Orthodox Church, Nesquehoning, with the Rev. Robert J. Teklinski officiating. Interment, parish cemetery, Nesquehoning. Call 6-8 p.m. Friday and 10-10:30 a.m. Saturday. Parastas service 7:30 p.m. Friday. Contributions in his name may be made to the church, 9 W. Railroad St., Nesquehoning, Pa. 18240.
Published in Times News on Oct. 22, 2013