NORFOLK - John J. Plonka, 93, a resident of St. Regis Nursing Home, in Massena, and formerly of Norfolk and Witherbee, passed away on Christmas Eve. Born August 29, 1920, in Witherbee, he was the son of the late Frank and Zofia Krnyminska Plonka.
John married Monica M. Corriveau on May 23, 1948. After graduating from high school, he entered the U.S. Marine Corps, serving during both WWII and the Korean Conflict. He served for 12 years, leaving the Marines as a Master Sergeant. Upon his return from the service, he was a baseball coach for a Little League Team and managed the Mineville Bowling Alleys for several years before starting work at Moriah Central School as a custodian and bus driver.
John was very active in the Mineville VFW Post 5802, where he was a life member. He was Captain of the VFW Military Honor Detail, in which he was particularly proud that General William Westmoreland came to the small hamlet of Witherbee to review his detail. He was also a member of the Norfolk American Legion.
John enjoyed barbecuing and tending to his garden, making sure every row was straight, picking every weed and making sure there was enough vegetables, particularly cucumbers for his pickles, so he could give most of them away. His other passion was fishing. Whether he was fishing on Duff's Dock, along a river bank, or walking through the snowy woods at Camp Dudley in Westport to get to an ice fishing hole on Lake Champlain, it was always an adventure.
John is survived by two sons, John and Judy Plonka of Colton, and Thomas and Terrye Plonka of Fulton; a daughter, Christine Dresser of Saranac; seven grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by a brother, Stephen and Frances Plonka of Latham; a sister, Josephine Duffy of Rome, N.Y.; several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his wife, Monica in 2005; daughter-in-law, Carol Plonka in 2001; granddaughter, Lisa Plonka in 1981; and sister, Mary Rourk.
Funeral services with military honors will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, at Church of the Visitation in Norfolk with Rev. Msgr. John Murphy presiding. Burial will be held at Visitation Cemetery. Family and friends may call from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, at Buck Funeral Home, Norfolk.
Donations in John's memory can be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley. Memories and condolences may be shared online at www.buckfuneralhome.com