STRUTHERS, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Paul (Coach Val) Vlacancich, 81, passed away Sunday, May 14, 2023, at Briarfield Place.

Paul was born on January 13, 1942 in New York City, the second child of the late Peter A. and Margaret (May) Cameron Vlacancich.

Paul was a 1961 graduate from Mepham High School in North Bellmore, New York.

Afterwards he worked in construction in NYC until he served as a Spec 5 with the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969.

He then entered Morehead State University in Kentucky where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. He also completed post-master’s degree work at YSU.

In 1976 he achieved his goal of being certified in areas of School Administration, Supervisor and School District Administration.

In 1972 his first position was associate coach at Struthers High School under MSU classmate Mike Gottfried. After Mike moved on Paul continued at Struthers coaching, teaching History and then only Physical Education until he retired in 2005. He loved bringing out the best in his students. He was a lifetime member of NEA and the Knights of Columbus.

Paul was a fan of football and never gave up on the Cleveland Browns. He had a passion for music and listened to it all the time. He enjoyed dancing and going to the casino and loved dogs. He never met a stranger because he could strike up a conversation with anyone and liked to make people laugh. Paul was formerly a member of St. Patrick’s in Youngstown and presently Holy Family in Poland.

In 1990 Paul met the love of his life, JoAnn Smyczynski, who began teaching in Struthers. They were married in 1996. It was a great union for 26 years, enjoying each other, family, travelling, and especially cruising!

Paul is survived by his wife, JoAnn, brother Robert (Leona) Vlacancich of Florida and many close cousins. He also leaves a brother in law, Robert Smyczynski; sister and brother in law, Carol and Norm Scaffe; nieces, Jennifer (Darren) Cundiff , Camryn Scaffe; and great nephew and niece, Grant and Claire Cundiff.

Beside his parents, Paul was preceded in death by sisters in law, Lois Smyczynski, Donna Popney and brother in law Dick Popney.

The family would like to express appreciation for the loving care given to Paul during the last three months by the staff at Briarfield Place.

Family and friends may call from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Saturday June 10th at Higgins-Reardon Funeral Homes, Poland Chapel, where prayers will begin at 9:30 a.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Family Church.

In lieu of flowers, material tributes may take the form of donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 1000 Department 142, Memphis, TN 38101-9908.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Paul Peter Vlacancich, please visit our floral store.

A television tribute will air Friday, May 19 at the following approximate times: 6:47 a.m. on WYTV, 9:43 a.m. on WKBN, 10:58 a.m. on FOX and 8:12 p.m. on MyYTV. Video will be posted here the day of airing.