Andrew Joseph Ondrei passed away quietly on September 8th at the age of 93 at home with his son, Phil. He was born, March 1st, 1921 in Monesson, PA to Joseph and Anna Ondrei (Gresch) originally of Checko-Slovakia, and is the youngest of two brothers and a sister, all deceased. He married Jessie Ruth Breakiron of Smithfield, PA in 1944 after returning from WWII where he had been an Air Traffic Controller. His main goals in life were to have a family, build his own house, and teach kids about Industrial Arts and he was successful in all. He had a great love for people: students, friends, and the people that he worked with as a teacher and as an insurance manager. Of his own initiative, he developed a high school course to teach life skills which was later adopted by the state of PA. He saved many students from dropping out through this course and the courses he taught in shop because he taught them with respect. He stayed in contact with many of these students and friends until his passing.
He earned two Master’s Degrees, was a volunteer fire chief, Rotary president, and Grand Knight in the Knight’s of Columbus. His hobbies included singing at church, horticulture, cabinet-making, hunting and fishing, stained glass, and building radio-controlled models. He nursed his wife Jessie through Alzheimer’s, and after she died in 2003, married Joan Sonntag in 2005, who now lives with her children in Lafeyette, CO. He is survived by his sons Andrew Philip Ondrei of Scottsdale, AZ, and James Joseph Ondrei and his wife Melawaine (LaCost) of Canon City, CO. He also has 3 grandsons: Jason Ondrei, Adam LaCost, and Jason LaCost.
Andy was a great story-teller so most of his friends and family were well-acquainted with his life and with accomplishments that would fill a book. His friends often said he had done so many things that he lived three lives by the time he was 60. We will miss him dearly. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Andrew J. Ondrei Foundation at the following address: Catholic Community Foundation, 400 E. Monroe St., Phoenix, AZ 85004. This trust benefits the educational needs of children and seminarians at St. Gregory of Nazianzus Byzantine Catholic Church in Upper St. Clair, PA; St. Stephen Byzantine Catholic Church in Phoenix, AZ; St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Monesson, PA; and the Sisters of St. Basil in Uniontown, PA.
Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. with Rosary at 6:00 p.m. and Panahida service at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, September 15, 2014 at Menke Funeral & Cremation Center, 12420 N. 103rd Ave., Sun City, AZ. Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at St. Clement of Rome Catholic Church, 15800 N. Del Webb Blvd., Sun City, AZ. Interment to follow at Sunland Memorial Park.Print Obituary & Condolences