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Thomas Stanko, age 87, died in Canonsburg General Hospital on February 10, 2018, after a lengthy illness. A lifelong resident of Canonsburg, Tom was born on December 10, 1930, a son of the late John and Elizabeth Stanko.
He attended the Canonsburg schools, graduating in 1949. Tom went on to receive his Bachelor degree from Clarion State College in 1953. He married the love of his life, Rena Comis, on December 26, 1953. He then served his country in Korea for 17 months as an Army Corporal.
After returning stateside, Tom taught at Cecil High School where he also served as assistant wrestling coach for a year and head basketball coach for four years. He also directed stage productions for the junior and senior classes. Tom then went to Canon-McMillan where he was an assistant basketball coach for a year then head basketball coach until 1966. Tom studied at Stratford on Avon on a Frick scholarship, studying Shakespearean literature. He received his Masters Degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and he also studied at Gannon University, the University of Chicago, and Columbia University. He was a professor in the English and Theatre Arts Department at Edinboro State College (which later became Edinboro University) for 34 years. He was the Chairman of the Department for 12 years. He served as the advisor for the student newspaper, The Spectator, for 12 years, and was the "Voice of the Fighting Scots," announcing basketball games for the University for over 20 years and was inducted into the University Athletic Hall of Fame for his distinguished service. In addition to his students and sports, Tom had a passion for the theatre. While at Edinboro, he developed the "On Broadway" course, which provided students the opportunity to study in New York City.
Tom also had a passion for thoroughbred racing. He co-owned Panda Farms and raced and claimed thoroughbreds at Commodore Downs, Thistle Downs, Waterford Park (Mountaineer Park) and also at Maryland and Canadian tracks. He owned Commodore Downs’ Horse of the Year, Mint Rhapsody. Tom was active in the community until his death. He served on the Canonsburg School Board and the Canonsburg-Houston Sewer Authority. He was active with the "Dollars for Scholars" Community Scholarship Foundation, was treasurer of the Democratic Party for three years, and most recently served on the Frank Sarris Library Board.
Tom is survived by his wife, Rena, his son, Thomas Kevin Stanko of Canonsburg, and his daughter, Rebecca Lynn (Mark) Mastrangelo, of Henderson, Nevada. He is preceded in death by his parents, John and Elizabeth Stanko, and his brother, John (Jack) Stanko.
Friends will be received Wednesday, February 14, 2018, from 2-8p.m. at the Sollon Funeral and Cremation Services, Ltd., 30 East College Street, Canonsburg, PA, 15317, 724-746-1000, Phillip L. Sollon, Supervisor, J. David Sollon, Director.
Services will be held on Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 10am, with Pastor Jack Wilson, officiating. Burial will follow in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, Bridgeville, with full military rites accorded by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, post 191 Honor Guard.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations to the Frank Sarris Library be made in his honor.
Visit www.sollon.com to leave online condolences.