AUSTIN, Texas — Ignatius Paul Gladek, chief master sergeant, U.S. Air Force, Ret., was born April 21, 1937, and left peacefully in his home with his family and loved ones surrounding him Nov. 22, 2019.
Born in Shamokin (later known as Coal Township), he grew up on West Montgomery Street.
He graduated in 1955 from Coal Township High School, after which he enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he served with distinction in the Vietnam War.
Chief Master Sgt. Paul Gladek held many positions in his 25 years of service to his country. He excelled in all positions with outstanding support, supervisory and managerial accomplishments. His duties throughout his lengthy career were in Avionics Squadrons, of which his part was to provide aircraft electro-optical (reconnaissance cameras), infra-red, side-looking radar and mapping systems in a full operational state. To say he consistently performed in an outstanding manner would be a major understatement.
He was presented numerous medals for meritorious service and outstanding accomplishments, such as the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, NCO Academy Graduate Ribbon, Army Good Conduct Medal with one Bronze Loop, Air Force Longevity Service Award with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Star, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Air Force Good Conduct Medal with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster.
As much as he loved his family, nature, hunting and fishing, and cooking for everyone, he really only had eyes for Clara. As he so eloquently marveled, “I have known what it is like to be married to a fine and wonderful woman and to love her beyond bearing, with the sure knowledge that she loves me equally in return.” Everyone should be so loved and cherished.
As for his children, we can simply say, with certainty and much love: “He was just a little too perfect for this world.”
We want to thank New Century Hospice nurses John and Sophia for their consummate and tender care during Paul’s final days.
The family also thanks the following friends for their phenomenal show of affection and support over the past few days: Sharon Parker, Michael and Patricia Hardwick, cousin Shirl Lamonna and niece Jerilynn Mease, Theresa Parker, Genie Kane, Michael Canady, Janice Noel, Scott Tapp and Jim Parker.
Survivors include his one and only love, his wife of 60 years, Clara Rachal Gladek; a daughter, Terry Gladek-Hingston (Joe), of San Jose, California; a son, Richard Gladek (Denise) of Austin, Texas; grandchildren, Graham, Phillip and Natalie; and a sister, Jeannette Gladek Medvidovich (Joel Sr.) of Harrisburg.
He was preceded in death by his father, Ignatius John, and his mother, Goldie Mary Gladek; his brother, James Stephen Gladek; his cousin, Thomas John Whary; his beloved Labradors, Bayou Belle, Terra, Racy Lacey, Crazy Daisy, and Haley.
GLADEK — Ignatius Paul Gladek, of Austin, Texas, and originally of Shamokin. In lieu of flowers, we suggest memorial donations be made to PatriotPaws (patriotpaws.org), an organization that, “trains and provides service dogs of the highest quality at no cost to disabled American veterans and others with mobile disabilities and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in order to help restore their physical and emotional independence.” PatriotPaws embraces Paul’s love of animals and his respect for our veterans and military personnel active, reserve, retired and deceased.