Mr. John S. Saraka, a well-known and respected insurance agent of Wilkes-Barre's East End neighborhood, passed peacefully into Eternal Life Friday afternoon in the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital with his family at his bedside.
Born in Wilkes-Barre on June 10, 1936, he recently celebrated his eighty-fifth birthday. John was one of eleven children to the late John and Helen (Holodick) Saraka.
Educated in the city schools, he was a graduate of the former James M. Coughlin High School, Class of 1953. He furthered his education by attaining his Associates Degree in business administration from King's College.
In his youth, he worked as an usher at the former Sterling Theater in North Wilkes-Barre, where he would eventually meet his dear wife, Peggy Lou who worked at the candy counter.
Following his education, he proudly served our country with the United States Naval Reserves for eight years. He became an active serviceman during the Korean Conflict, in October of 1954 until his honorable discharge from military duties in October of 1956. During that time, Mr. Saraka served on the carrier U.S.S. Siboney; was assigned to shore duty in Florida and finally finished his tour of duty aboard the U.S.S. Northampton, a light cruiser.
Until his formal retirement, Mr. Saraka had been employed some 41 years as an insurance agent and broker for the Nationwide Insurance Company; keeping an office on Scott Street in East End. He began his career in Wilkes-Barre in 1959 as an agent; relocating to Wellsboro and Philadelphia, where he served as agency manager. He returned to his familial roots in August 1972 as an agent / broker until his retirement in December of 2000. During his tenure with the company, John attained the status of Chartered Life Underwriter, a title he valued for his clientele.
He was very community-minded and would often sponsor various youth sporting teams through his agency over the years.
He was a member of the Parish of Saint Andre Bessette, North Wilkes-Barre, and also held life membership in the Brookside American Legion, Post #837 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #283 of Kingston.
Socially and fraternally, Mr. Saraka was a past president and life member of the North End Slovak Citizens Club, Wilkes-Barre; was a member of Wilkes-Barre Council #302, Knights of Columbus and was a Sir Knight Fourth Degree member of the Bishop William J. Hafey Assembly #952 of the Knights of Columbus. He was also a social member of the Donegal Society of Greater Wilkes-Barre.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Margaret Louise "Peggy Lou" (Ward) Saraka on June 20, 1995. At the time of Mrs. Saraka's passing, the couple shared thirty-six years of married life together. Also preceding him were an infant brother, Michael Saraka; brother Timothy Saraka; Sisters, Mildred Silveri, Evelyn Lisoski, Irene Spilman and most recently, Winifred Gail Pugh.
Left to cherish the wonderful memories they hold of him are his children, John S. Saraka Jr. of Shippensburg; Kimberly Lichwa and her husband Bryan of New Tripoli and Maura A. O'Donnell and her husband Jack of White Haven; Grandchildren, including John S. Saraka III;; Brandon Saraka; Antonio Lopez and his wife Haya; Arielle Lopez Kaminski and her husband James; Kacey Lopez; Alexandra and Baylee Bukeavich; Great-grandchildren, Remington Saraka and "Jak" James Allen Kaminski Jr.; Brother, Norman Saraka and his companion, Donna Levandowski of Wilkes-Barre; Sisters, Diana Rader and her husband Bryan of Carlisle; Helen Pugh of South Wilkes-Barre; Sharon Ashton and her husband William "Perry" of Dallas; Numerous nieces, nephews, fellow colleagues and dear friends.
Funeral services for Mr. Saraka will be conducted on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. from the John V. Morris Family Funeral Home Inc., 625 North Main Street, followed by his Funeral Mass at 10:00 a.m. in the Parish of Saint Andre Bessette, 668 North Main Street. The Reverend Kenneth M. Seegar, pastor, will serve as celebrant and homilist.
Entombment with the Rite of Committal will follow in Saint Mary's Roman Catholic Cemetery Mausoleum, 1594 South Main Street, Hanover Township.
Relatives and friends may join the Saraka Family for visitation and shared remembrances Monday evening from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. at the funeral home.
In lieu of floral tributes, John's family would be humbled if those wishing to make a monetary donation in his memory, kindly give consideration to the Parish of Saint Andre Bessette, 668 North Main Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18705.
Parish of Saint Andre Bessette
668 North Main Street, Wilkes-Barre PA 18705