Henry “Hank” Marian Pondel, 93, of Picidilli Hill Road, Corry, Pa., died Wednesday, March 1, 2023, at his residence.
He was born June 5, 1929, a son of the late John and Sophia (Volen) Pondel.
He attended school in the one-room Weber School house, then attended Columbus Elementary School and graduated in 1948 from Corry High School. Following graduation, Henry worked on the Railroad and for Paramount Furniture. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1951 and served two years in the U.S. and Germany. Following his honorable discharge, he managed the Sunoco Station in Corry which he purchased in 1954. He sold it to Country Fair in 1998 after owning it for 41 years.
During his life, he also raised mink and loved raising beagle dogs, chickens and turkeys. He loved trapping, especially fox and beaver, and attending trapping conventions and meeting up with his many friends there.
He was a lifelong member of the Pennsylvania Trappers Association. He was especially proud of his top-selling Eastern grey fox pelt that he sold in the North American Fur Auction in 2000 for which he received a Top Lot Award. He enjoyed hunting and fishing from the time he was a young boy on the farm. He had a lifelong dream of building a pond which finally came true in 1998 when he and his sons and sons-in-law built a pond on his land, which resulted in years of friends and family gatherings and camping adventures.
Henry also enjoyed running his fishing bait business from his home in West Spring Creek and visiting with his many friends and customers. He loved to tell his customers where the good trout holes were so they could go home with their buckets loaded. He had customers from many states that depended on his bait shop for their summer camp fishing. He enjoyed Polka music and organized many polka dances at the St. Elizabeth Parish Center. He was a member of St. Elizabeth Church, was a life 3rd degree member of the Knights of Columbus and life member of the VFW Post 264.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two sons, Mark Pondel and David Pondel; two brothers, Thaddeus "Ted" Pondel and Joseph Pondel; and two sisters, Jenny Messinger and Helen Ficcardi.
Henry is survived by his wife of 68 years, Donna J. (Whaley) Pondel, whom he married on Sept. 11, 1954, in Corry, Pa.; three daughters, Sandy Purpura and her husband Tony of Jamestown, N.Y., Julie Munsee and her husband Mark of Corry, Pa., and Gail Messinger and her husband Craig of Corry, Pa., and sister, Laura Szewczuk of Orange Park, Fla.
Also surviving are 13 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends are invited to call at St. Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, 203 W. Washington St, Corry, Pa., on Saturday, March 4, from 10 a.m. until the time of the funeral Mass there at noon. Father Tom Brown will officiate.
Burial will be in West Spring Creek Cemetery, Spring Creek, Pa., at a later date.
Funeral arrangements are under the care of Bracken Funeral Home Inc., 315 N. Center St, Corry, PA 16407.