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Evansic, Leonard Jay 85 of Graceton died October 19, 2023. He was born the son of Josef and Mary (Zonarch) Evansic on January 25, 1938. Leonard was a man of high integrity and lived a full life with many interests and great success at everything he did with full energy. He was a wonderful son to his widowed mother, a caring nephew to his Aunt Lou and Uncle Joe Zonarich, a devoted and loving husband, and a supportive and encouraging dad and granddad to his children, children-in-law, and grandchildren.
His dad suffered from Brights Disease for five years and died when Leonard was eight years old. Leonard was always thankful for all his uncles and others who assisted in raising him and teaching him how to hunt and fish, especially his Uncle Steve. His love of hunting led him to bred a long line of German Short-Haired Pointers. By watching craftsmen he gained a mechanical ability on how to build and repair things that served him throughout his life.
He liked to attend his children’s and grandchildren’s sporting competitions, concerts, and other events. In his spare time, he made furniture with his preferred wood being walnut. Leonard designed and built the family home’s Great Room. He restored antique cars and model trains and made long rifles using curly maple for the stock.
He was a member of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish. Prior to ill health, he was a sexton, a lector, usher, and repairer for the former St. Francis and St. Bonaventure Catholic Churches. He attended St. Vincent Scholastica to become a priest but dropped out due to not being able to learn Latin. He graduated from Laura Lamar High School and IUP.
Leonard was a USAF veteran serving in Morocco, Homestead Air Force Base in Florida, and Minot, ND as a jet engine mechanic from 1958 to 1962.
He worked at Syntron and FMC in Homer City for 38 years as an Applications Engineer, Shipping and Receiving Foreman, and 20+ years as Service Manager. Leonard was a well-liked and appreciated boss to everyone who worked with him. After a layoff, he returned to the company as a consultant servicing equipment and inventing new equipment. He received five patents for both designs and equipment he invented. Leonard was the MC for the company picnics at Idlewild, the Christmas party, the Sports Banquet, and many retirement parties.
He was a member of the Homer-Center School Board from 1979-1995 and served as board president during part of that tenure. He was the driving force to initiate full-day kindergarten beginning in 1979. Shortly after serving on the board, he initiated changing from district-owned buses to using a busing service in order to save money. Leonard was very instrumental in hiring Rick Foust primarily as a math teacher, then football coach, assistant principal, and finally as principal. He was the driving force in establishing an academic awards showcase to be placed outside of the J S Byers Auditorium. He was also a board member and the president of the Homer City Parks and Recreation Board.
As captain of his homemade 18-foot-long Y-Flyer sailboat and his wife as first mate, he won many trophies at the Lake Glendale Sailing Club sailboat races. His sailing days ended when his children became sailors and competed at Glendale.
He loved to drive his 1929 Model “A” Ford Roadster in many parades and was a 40-year member, president, and Member-of-the-Year of the Punxsutawney Region Antique Automobile Club of America. His Model “A “was a replacement for the car that became his when his dad died. Presently he was a member of the AACA.
Leonard was treasurer and member of the Indiana Ballroom Dance Club. He was a charter member of the Graceton Coral Sportsmen’s Club where he was the club secretary for more than 55 years until his health declined. Ever proud of his Croatian Heritage he was a member of the Croatian Fraternal Union of America Homer City Lodge.
He became “The Train Man” at the Indiana County Fair and ran his Lionel trains during the week of the fair to entertain and delight youngsters of all ages for many years. He was a member of the Indiana County Model Railroad Club and participated in the club’s Christmas displays at IUP and the Indiana Mall.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Cecile, and their three children and six grandchildren: Leonard Evansic and wife Danielle of Bedford NH, Catherine King and husband David of Graceton, Dr. Christine Daecher and husband Matthew of Savannah, GA., Mary Ljuba Evansic, Julia Catherine King, Ava Elizabeth King, Abagail Sofjia Evansic, Leonard Jacob Evansic, and David Jozef King.
He was preceded in death by his parents and infant brother Bobby Evansic, special uncle Joseph Zonarich, special aunt Amelia Ljuba “Lou” Zonarich, and Frank (Mary), George (Bertha), Steve (Hazel), John (Anne), Mary (Mike), Carl (Alma), Rose (Mike), Diana, and John (Julie).
The family wants to thank Father John Pavlik for his spiritual guidance and comfort during the difficult times, 365 Hospice for lovingly caring for him, all the friends who inquired about his health and offered prayers and assistance to the family, and his daughter Cathy and granddaughter Julia for all their help with his day-to-day needs.
Friends will be received Sunday and Monday from 2-4 and 6-8 PM at Bowser Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., Homer City. A Blessing Service will be held Tuesday at 10:30 AM at the funeral home followed by a Funeral Mass at 11 AM at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Coral Site. Interment to follow in the church cemetery, Graceton.