Michael Stanley Skarbek, “The Captain”, 70, of Punxsutawney, passed away on Sunday, July 21, 2019 at home. He was born on October 18, 1948 in Punxsutawney, son of the late Edward Joseph and Mary (Gresock) Skarbek. On October 23, 1971 he married the former Barbara Jean Carulli. She survives and resides in Punxsutawney.
Mr. Skarbek served in the U.S. Navy aboard an ammunition resupply ship anchored in the Bay of Tonkin during the Vietnam War. Michael proudly served with honor and distinction and quickly rose to the rank of Petty Officer Third Class. During his time in the Navy, Michael was awarded “Sailor of the Month” and “Sailor of the Cruise” for exemplary performance. He was also awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal. Following service to his country, he became a coal miner working over 42 years in the mines for Black Diamond, Greenwich Collieries, Doverspike, Anita Mining, and Rosebud. After retiring from coal mining, Mike was able to devote all his time to what he enjoyed most - being outdoors, immersing himself with gardening, fishing, hunting, trapping, cooking, gathering mushrooms and ginseng, and babysitting “Gracy” … his grandchildren’s dog. Mike was a proud grandfather and loved his grandchildren dearly. He had so much information to share and enjoyed passing on his knowledge to others, telling stories and corny jokes.
Mike will always be remembered for how hard working he was and for his thoughtfulness. He was so generous and loved sharing everything he grew, foraged, or baked. You couldn’t leave his house without a bag full of vegetables or a vase of flowers. He was so proud of his asparagus beds, which he has been growing for over 30 years. He knew where to go to find the best mushrooms and ginseng.
Mike was a member of both Saints Cosmas and Damian Catholic Church and the Adrian Roman Catholic Church.
Michael is survived by his wife, Barbara; his children, Dana Tomkovicz and husband Tony of Valencia, PA; Michele Ridout and husband Brandon of Berlin, MD; Amy Serrian and husband Dustin of Gibsonia, PA; and Michael Skarbek and wife Alicia of Punxsutawney. Michael’s surviving siblings are, Edward Skarbek of Walston; Ken Skarbek and wife Deb of Punxsutawney; Nick Skarbek and wife Melanie of Punxsutawney; JoAnn Bailey of Bellwood; Christine Miller and husband Bill of Punxsutawney; and his sister-in-law, Charlene Skarbek of Punxsutawney. His grandchildren are, Ryder and Reid Ridout; Susanna and Lydia Tomkovicz; Leo and Logan Skarbek; and Norah and Charlotte Serrian. He was also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
In addition to his parents, Edward and Mary Skarbek, Michael was preceded in death by his sister-in-law Angela Skarbek, brother-in-law Paul Bailey and brother, John Skarbek.
Friends will be received at the Shumaker Funeral Home, Inc of Punxsutawney on Wednesday, July 24, 2019 from 2 – 4 and 6 – 8 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 25, 2019 at the Adrian-Anita Roman Catholic Church with Monsignor Joseph Riccardo officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Michael’s memory can be made to The Healing Patch/Patched Together, 735 North 17th Street, Altoona, PA 16601 or Miles for Smiles c/o Ann Koppenhaver, 130 Record Avenue, Punxsutawney, PA 15767.
Mr. Skarbek will be interred at the Adrian-Anita Roman Catholic Cemetery.