HERMITAGE, Pennsylvania (MyValleyTributes) – James D. Donak, 78 of Hermitage, peacefully went to be with the Lord at 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, October 10, 2023, in UPMC Horizon Hospital, Farrell, following a two-year battle with lung cancer.

Mr. Donak was born November 15, 1944, in Sharon, a son of the late Nicholas and Victoria (Pluso) Donak.

He was a 1963 graduate of Hickory High School in Hermitage and has maintained his friendships with fellow classmates throughout his life. He also attended California State University.

A proud veteran, James served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and was a lifelong member of the American Legion and V.F.W.

He was employed at Sharon Steel’s former Farrell plant for 38 years.

James never met a person he did not like and made friends everywhere he went, even with strangers. He always placed others before himself and if someone was in need, he was always there to lend a hand. James was larger than life with a spirit never to be forgotten. He had a head-strong stubbornness until the end. Born with natural athletic talent, he was an outstanding athlete for Hickory High School, playing every sport. James was drafted to play professional baseball during his junior year of high school, not to become a reality once he suffered a football injury during his senior year. He loved the home that he built and took pride in the manicured lawn that he maintained to perfection. James was brutally honest and an extrovert to the fullest. He loved people and would give anyone the shirt off his back.

James enjoyed Christmas through the eyes of a child, erecting a phenomenal display both inside and outside his home every year welcoming all to come and enjoy. He was an avid lottery player, always thinking he was going to be the next big winner!

James married Shirley (Bowers) Donak on June 18, 1988 and together they built a beautiful life. She survives at their home in Hermitage.

Besides his wife, he also leaves his beloved animals, Cherri and Sylvester and a sister, Margaret “Peg” Kolbrich of Hermitage.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Delores Brice and his father and mother-in-law, Harold and Vi Bowers.

In memory of James, the family suggests that all spread kindness and humor every day. Cherish every moment because sometimes forever is shorter than we think.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 17 in St. Rose Cemetery Chapel, 799 Dutch Lane, Hermitage. There are no calling hours.

Military honors will be rendered immediately following by the Wheatland A.L., Farrell and West Middlesex VFW Honor Guard.

Interment will be in St. Rose Cemetery, Hermitage.

Arrangements handled by J. Bradley McGonigle Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.McGonigleFuneralHomeandCrematory.com.

A television tribute will air Friday, October 13 at the following approximate times: 5:17 a.m. on WKBN, 8:39 a.m. on FOX, 5:21 p.m. on WYTV and 6:35 p.m. on MyYTV. Video will be posted here the day of airing.