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Published: Friday, 10/10/2003

O-I accountant was a deacon

Stanley P. Zalewski, a retired accountant for Owens-Illinois, Inc., who was a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church, died Wednesday in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center from complications of pneumonia and a stroke. He was 85.

Formerly of the Lagrange Street neighborhood of North Toledo, Mr. Zalewski lived the last two years in Heartland of Perrysburg.

He was an accountant for Owens-Illinois for 35 years, retiring in 1982. Most of his career was in the property records department of the technical center on Westwood Avenue, where he kept track of purchasing and the company's office equipment and machinery.

“There was a lot of community. There was a culture that isn't apparent in corporations nowadays,” his son, Jim, said. “They really took care of the people who worked for them. Everybody became friends then - lifelong friends.”

In retirement, he worked part time three years for the O-I tax department in the corporation's headquarters on the downtown riverfront.

Mr. Zalewski was a lifelong member of St. Adalbert Church, where he had been a lector and was a member of the Holy Name Society. He became a deacon in 1975 and was able to assist at Mass. “A big part of him was always being there to put himself there for others,” his son said. “Part of that extended into the church - to serve rather than be served.”

Mr. Zalewski grew up in the Polish-American neighborhood of North Toledo, except for two years in his teen years when his family moved to West Virginia. He was a graduate of Woodward High School.

He had bookkeeping duties in his unit of the Civilian Conservation Corps, stationed at Billings, Mont. He later was a staff sergeant in the Army during World War II and did similar work at Fort Knox, Ky. He sent money home regularly to his widowed mother.

Mr. Zalewski - whose son, Joe, is a leader of the band, Toledo Polkamotion - was a member of the International Music Association and Toledo Area Polka Society. He had trouble walking in recent years, but “he wanted to do the polka in the emergency room,” son Jim said.

Mr. Zalewski attended the Lagrange Street Polish Festival with family this summer and as the band, A Touch of Brass, played, he got up and danced.

“The dancing and the Polish music was all part of that, part of community. The church stuff was all about community,” son Jim said.

Surviving are his wife, Rosemary, whom he married June 30, 1962; sons, Joseph, James, John, Jeffrey, and Jerry; sisters, Mary Kemp and Dolores Rinker, and nine grandchildren.

The body will be in the Thomas I. Wisniewski Mortuary after 4 p.m. tomorrow. Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Adalbert Church.

The family suggests tributes to the Diocesan Development Fund or American Heart Association.



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