In Memorium: Andrew Stasny

Andrew Stasny, 82, died Friday, June 19, 2015, at his Dagsboro home.

Andrew was born in September, 1932 in Breckenridge, Pa., just outside of Pittsburgh to his parents Andrew and Agnes Stasny, immigrants from Slovakia. Brother to siblings Mary, Margaret, Joseph, John and Steve, they were raised in the shadow of the glow from the Allegheny Ludlum Steel mill furnaces in Natrona, Pa.

He was graduated from St. Joseph's High School in 1950, after which he accompanied a friend who was interested in naval service to an appointment with a naval recruiter. Andrew ended up serving in the U.S. Navy from 1950-54; his friend did not. The noisy flight decks of the USS Rendova and the USS Valley Forge would take him several times across the Pacific to the Korean War theatre where he helped launch thousands of fighter plane sorties against the enemy. It was from the deck of his ship in the Pacific at Eniwetok Atoll where Andrew witnessed the detonation of the first hydrogen bomb.

Andrew's naval service ended just in time for the new fall semester at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. While pursuing a degree from Duquesne's School of Pharmacy, Andrew discovered his love of the stage and began headlining in the Duquesne Red Masquers major productions. Accolades were garnered for performances in "Guys and Dolls," "The Man Who Came to Dinner," "Time of Your Life," and many more. Henceforth this love of acting and performing would be woven through his life's tapestry.

But it was not the only love discovered while in college. Marianne Farbacher, the daughter of his sister's neighbor, captured his heart and they married in 1959, having their first child, also Andrew, in 1960. A job at the new Veteran's Hospital in Altoona, Pa. precipitated their move from Pittsburgh to Altoona in 1961 where their two daughters, Mary Lynn and Beth Ann, were born. Andrew found his way back to the stage with the Altoona Community Theatre, again tackling the leads in many classics, and especially lauded for his performance in "The King and I." The year 1967 saw a move to another VA hospital in the nation's capital. It was in Silver Spring, Md. where their youngest child was born, and where they would spend the next 32 years.

Andrew's interests at work began to shift from pharmacology to early computer systems and, over the next decade, would become instrumental in installing the VA's first nationwide computer network. He continued to hone his pharmacology skills within the People's Drugstore chain around the Washington, D.C. area. Away from work he fawned over his family, enjoying trips with them to the Capital, Civil War battlefields, and National Parks. Stage talents now came in handy at St. John the Evangelist Church, where he served as a lector, in the choir, as a cantor, and a CCD teacher.

Andrew, who grew up speaking Slovak in his household, also began advanced Slovak language lessons. Eventually he earned a scholarship to study in Slovakia and while returning from this study was able to visit his youngest son who was then in the Army stationed in West Germany. This was the most travel he had done since his Navy service. By 1990, with the children well moved out and Andrew retired, a final move was in store from the bustle of the D.C. suburbs to a slower life in southern Delaware. This was by no means to be a reclusive retirement however.

In Delaware, Andrew would again become very involved in church, community and performing. He sang in the choir at St. Anne's Catholic Church in Bethany where he also served as a lector and cantor, and actively continued his life memberships with the VFW, American Legion, and Knights of Columbus. Having undergone successful open heart surgery, he became a member of the Mended Hearts and also spent five active years at Beebe Healthcare helping other cardiac rehab patients.

Finally, he found himself performing again with the Possum Point Players in many productions, including a locally renowned role as Ben Franklin in "1776." And he hit the road with the Ad Hoc Olde Tyme Radio Show production cast, recreating classic radio programs at nursing homes, schools, churches and other venues.

Andrew was preceded in death by his parents; brother Joseph; sister Margaret; brother-in-law Charles; and oldest son Andy. Andrew lives on within his devoted wife of 56 years; three children; grandchildren (Samantha, Andrew, David, Timothy, Annika and Elliana); and great-grandchildren (Andrew, Aiden, Riley and Kayla). His greatest joys were family, creating laughter, serving God and Country, and his beloved Steelers and Pirates.

A visitation will be held Thursday, June 25, from 10 to 11 a.m., at the chapel of Melson Funeral Services, 38040 Muddy Neck Road, Ocean View, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at noon at St. Ann's Catholic Church, 691 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach. Interment in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Dagsboro will be held at a later date.

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