YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Dr. Paul D. Vasko, 78, passed away peacefully Friday evening, July 9, 2021 after a 17-year struggle with Parkinson’s disease.
Paul was born April 13, 1943 in Youngstown, the son of Martin and Helen (Cherney) Vasko.
He was a 1961 graduate of Austintown Fitch High School. Paul earned a basketball scholarship to John Carroll University, where he received a BS in chemistry in 1965. He went on to earn a PhD in Polymer Science from Case Western Reserve University.
In 1965, Paul taught chemistry at Hiram College. Following his PhD, after a year in a lab he went on to have a successful career as a salesman in northeast Ohio, primarily in the field of medical equipment. He liked to butter up his customers with big tubs of biscotti.
After he retired, his hobby was writing books. He was very proud of his first published novel, “Letters from Alaska.”
Paul was an active member of St Christine Church in Youngstown, where he loved to sing in the choir. His Catholic faith was very important to him and he was devoted to his daily prayers, the Rosary and reading about the saints.
Paul will be remembered for his kindness, generosity, love of people, positive attitude, humor, determination, courage and faith. Whenever anyone asked how he was, he always responded, “better than most,” no matter how much he was suffering. His mottos were “giving up is not an option” and “I can laugh or I can cry. I choose to laugh.” He always had a joke to share with everyone he met and he would usually laugh the loudest.
Paul’s greatest treasure was his family. He was married to his college sweetheart, Elaine (Hanis) Vasko, from 1965 to 1993, when she died suddenly from heart disease. They were blessed with nine children. In 1998, he received his second chance at love when he married Gerry (Brienza) Vasko. Gerry gave him three stepchildren. His life always revolved around his family and his legacy lives on through his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Paul leaves behind his wife, Gerry; nine children, Diane (James) Luke of Xenia, Clifford Vasko of Centerville, Karen (Brian) Humphries of Hillsboro, Jonathan (Bridget) Vasko of South Euclid, Matthew Vasko of Sherman Oaks, California, Melissa (Gregg) Winnestaffer of Huron, Sarah (Peter) Park of Wilmington, Alison (Sean) Wilson of Xenia and Anthony Vasko of Breckenridge, Colorado; two stepchildren, Bob Barko, Jr. and Kerry (Tony) Geraci, both of Youngstown; 31 grandchildren, Elena Wright, Valentina Buchanan, Anastastia, Mariana, Jacinta and Charlie Luke, Sean, Marissa, Jonah, Ethan and Zachary Humphries, Maeve and Patrick Vasko, Lucas, Ava, Mya and Eden Winnestaffer, Frances, Thomas, Elizabeth, Hannah, Celine, Jacob and Zelie Park, Sarah, Lucy, JohnPaul, Cecilia, Daniel and Baby Wilson and Nicholas Geraci; eight great-grandchildren; two brothers, Mick (Diane) Vasko and Tommy (Veronica) Vasko; two sisters, Monica DeFabio and Claudia (Rob) Hritz; a brother-in-law, Gary Brienza and four sisters-in-law, Rosemary (Paul) Roberto, Ginny Kerekes, Betty Jane Nowac and Nancy (Ken) Mathews.
Besides his parents, Paul was preceded in death by his first wife, Elaine; his stepson, Stephen Barko; his brother, Bobby Vasko and his brothers-in-law, Gerry DeFabio and Eddie Kerekes.
Paul’s family would like to thank the staff at Omni Manor for the excellent care they provided.
Family and friends may pay their respects on Thursday, July 15, 2021 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Rossi and Santucci Funeral Home, 4221 Market Street, Boardman.
There will be a Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, July 16, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Christine Church, 3165 S. Schenley Avenue, Youngstown, with Father Joseph Rudjak as officiant, preceded by a prayer service held at 10:15 a.m. at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Paul Vasko’s name to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, www.pdf.org.
Family and friends may visit www.rossisantuccifh.com to sign the guest book and send condolences to Paul’s family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Paul D. Vasko, please visit our floral store.
A television tribute will air Wednesday, July 14 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.