STRUTHERS, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Stephen F. Wilaj, 87, passed away late Friday evening, May 8, 2020 in the comfort of his home, surrounded by family.
Stephen, affectionately known by “Steve” was born April 6, 1933 in Campbell, the son of Stephen and Helen (Duraney) Wilaj.
He attended Struthers High School for three years and graduated from Campbell Memorial High School in 1951. A self-taught automotive mechanic, Steve worked the majority of his career for Gough Ford then Donnell Ford, where he retired from in 2000.
In 1952, while attending a polka dance at Avalon Oaks, he met his future wife the former Martha E. Havrilla. After impressing her with his jitterbug and a four year courtship, they were married on September 1, 1956 and were blessed with 63 years of marriage.
Steve’s biggest joy in life was being surrounded by his family. He was a loving family man, a true gentleman to his wife, a dedicated dad to his four children and a proud grandpa to his 11 grandchildren. He made it a point to never miss any of his children’s extracurricular activities and faithfully continued that tradition with his grandchildren. His retirement years were filled with many fun and memorable moments while babysitting them and attending their events.
When not spending time with his family, Steve enjoyed cheering on the Ohio State Buckeyes, traveling to Las Vegas, horse racing and going on casino trips with family and friends. After retiring, he enjoyed tinkering in the kitchen and cooking breakfast. Many family and friends were the lucky recipient of his famous “Wilaj Hot Dogs and Chili Sauce.”
While working for Gough Ford, he enjoyed organizing their Punt, Pass and Kick children’s football program and bowling on the company’s league.
He was a longtime member of Christ Our Savior Parish at St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church.
Steve leaves his wife, Martha, of Struthers; daughter, Cheryl (John) Martinelli of Struthers; three sons, Steve (Carla) Wilaj of Struthers, John (Nici) Wilaj of Lowellville and David (Jody) Wilaj of Campbell; two sisters, Margaret Bayus of Struthers and Mary Ann (Lewis) Jackson of Campbell and 11 grandchildren, Samantha (RJ) Ragan, Kara and Alexis Martinelli, Adam, Steve and Joey Wilaj, John (Colleen) Wilaj, Jr., Cathy Wilaj, Maria (Dan) Dougherty and David and Emily Wilaj.
In addition to his parents, Steve was preceded in death by an infant son and sisters, Theresa Barone and Steffie White.
Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, the family will be having a private service with Fr. Martin Celuch officiating.
Interment will be at St. John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery.
Arrangements are being handled by the Davidson-Becker Funeral Home.
Please visit www.beckerobits.com to send condolences.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Stephen F. Wilaj, please visit our floral store.
A television tribute will air Monday, May 11, at the following approximate times: 6:43 a.m. WYTV, 9:32 a.m. on WKBN, 10:58 a.m. on FOX and 8:12 p.m. on MyYTV.