He is survived by his daughter Lucia and her husband Fr. Victor Melehov of Westminster; his three sons, Eugene and his wife Susan of Raynham, Jan and his wife Joyce of Grafton, and David and his wife Linda of Quincy. He has eight grandchildren Nicholas, Gregory and John Melehov, Eric, Amy, Alex, Evan and Marc Polanik, and his eight great grandchildren Nicholas, Victoria, Michael, James, George, Madeline and John Melehov. He is also survived by a brother Gregory Polanik of Southborough, and numerous nephews, nieces, grand nephews and grand nieces.
His loving wife of 58 years, Irene (Ciborowski) Polanik died in 2004. He was predeceased by his sisters, Helen Juneau of Millbury, Mary Paterak of Grafton, Theresa Krasowsky of Auburn, his infant sisters Catherine and Victoria Polanik, and his four brothers Adam (Eddie), Frank, and Peter Polanik of Worcester and Joseph Polanik of Southbridge.
John was born in Worcester, the son of the late Gregory and Catherine (Kapulka) Polanik. He attended St. Mary’s School, Commerce High School and Becker Jr. College. He moved from Worcester to Auburn in 1969 where he became a collector at North American Martyrs Parish and a solicitor for the Bishops Fund for many years. He was also a member of Our Lady of Fatima’s Blue Army Rosary Crusade.
John was a lifetime member of the Disabled American’s Veterans, Chapter 4 in Worcester and a member of the former Polish American Veterans. He was a charter member of the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus, John Cardinal Wright Assembly, Chapter 1924 in Leicester and a past Faithful Navigator. He was a Life member 3rd Degree Knights of Columbus, Council 4158 of Auburn and a past Grand Knight.
John was a nine year volunteer at the Catholic Charities Literacy program in Worcester and received the Governor’s Citation for his Extraordinary Contribution to Building Literacy in his community in 1981 and 1984.
Serving as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division in WWII John participated in the capture of the Ruhr Pocket in Germany. He was an interpreter for the Polish prisoners and held the highest non-commissioned rank of Battalion Sergeant Major.
John was employed by the U.S. Post Office for 42 years. He worked for 30 years at the Main St. location in Worcester as a window clerk. After a transfer to Boston in 1978 he soon became the office manager of the maintenance division. He established the St. Gabriel’s Guild which was a benevolent society and he was the first President/Treasurer and remained on the Board of Trustees for many years. John retired in 1990. In 1998 he joined the Retired Seniors volunteer program working at Hahnemann Hospital and U Mass Memorial. He also was a member of the Auburn Senior Center and enjoyed many of their programs including oil painting and Tai Chi classes.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit with John’s family on Tuesday March 28, 2017 from 9:30-10:30 am in the BRITTON-WALLACE FUNERAL HOME, 91 Central St, Auburn. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 am at North American Martyr’s Church, 8 Wyoma Drive in Auburn. Burial with military honors will follow in Notre Dame Cemetery, Worcester.