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Obituary: Stephen Chernak, Age 88

Steve was a proud veteran of WWII and a devoted family man.

Obituary: Stephen Chernak, Age 88

Stephen Chernak, age 88, of Stratford, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012.

Devoted husband of 66 years to his wife Helen, proud father of Greg Chernak and his wife Gail, of Oxford and David Chernak of Stratford, and honored grandfather to Nicholas, Daniel, and Zachary, Chernak, and great-grandfather of Halen Bolin-Chernak, and pre-deceased infant grandson Jonathan Chernak.

Devoted family man, hardworking, compassionate, and understanding. Born in Bridgeport, to the late Michael and Tessie (Danyluk) Chernak. He began his life as part of a family of 4 sisters, and 2 brothers on a small family farm in Stratford, where life was happy but harsh. After a while the family bought a small house in Stratford where he remained until life's end.

A proud veteran of WWII Navy, he served aboard the Helena, the St. Louis, and finally under Lt. Commander S.C. O’Rourke on the Donald W. Wolfe. In that twist of fate he missed his boarding on the Helena, and went on the next ship, the USS St. Louis (The Lucky Lou). During the Battle of Leyte Gulf he saw the Helena take 2 torpedoes and go down. He mourned the loss of his shipmates for the remainder of his life.

He then fought in the Battle of Kula Gulf, before being transferred to the D.W. Wolf, where he served out the remainder of the war. His final rank was Coxswain Mate 2nd Class. Returning home he married Helen, on June 29, 1946, and worked a brief time as a furnace operator, at Lock Steel Co. in Bridgeport.

Gifted mechanically and fascinated by aviation he started working at Sikorsky Aircraft, where he spoke often with Igor Sikorsky, as he walked through the plant. He continued his service to his country as part of the trusted team that services the President’s helicopter fleet. His service started with President Eisenhower and finished with President George Bush I.

Except for the last year of his life he repaired his own cars and maintained his home to perfection. His life was claimed by a weakening heart, but his spirit was never diminished. We would like to thank Dr. Moskowitz, and the staff of Cardiac Specialists for the devotion and care in the final year of his life. No matter how long we live we always depart too soon.

Your thoughts and prayers are a source of encouragement and for those we are thankful. In addition to his beloved wife, children, and grandchildren Stephen is also survived by a brother John Chernak of Florida, and a sister Sophie Pollock of Shelton, a special nephew Paul Welytok Jr and several other nieces and nephews. He was pre-deceased by his sisters Anne O’Meara, Mary Welytok, and Nellie Estabrook.

Funeral services will take place on Monday, Nov. 26, at 8:15 a.m. in the Adzima Funeral Home 50 Paradise Green Place Stratford, and at 9 a.m. in the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church of St. John the Baptist, Bridgeport for a Requiem Funeral Service.

Interment with full military honors will be in St. John’s Cemetery Monroe. Friends may greet his family on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. Panachida at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers those desiring may make donations to St. John’s Church in Steve’s memory.

This obituary was courtesy of Adzima Funeral Home.

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