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Published: Sunday, 5/14/2006

Toledo employee did maintenance, enjoyed fishing

FINDLAY - Richard Podgorski, 76, a retired maintenance man for the city of Toledo and a Navy veteran, died Thursday in Fox Run Manor, a Findlay nursing home.

Mr. Podgorski had heart problems and suffered from dementia, his brother, Donald Hill, said.

Nicknamed "Pops" by his city co-workers, Mr. Podgorski loved to play bingo at the Humane Society in Findlay and the AmVets center in Toledo and Findlay.

"He was friendly with everybody, talked with everybody," Mr. Hill said.

"So they called him 'Pops,' even at the bingo hall."

Mr. Podgorski had lived on his brother's farm in Fostoria for the last six years, moving to Fox Run Manor in January. The brothers enjoyed fishing in a reservoir near the farm and on Lake Erie, where Mr. Podgorski caught perch and blue gill.

Born in Toledo, Mr. Podgorski married Patricia McCloskey in 1948 after he graduated from Libbey High School. The couple divorced in 1956, at which point Mr. Podgorski became a master baker aboard the USS Toledo, a destroyer escort.

When he was discharged in 1959, his family instantly recognized him coming off the plane because he was the one carrying a fishing pole, Mr. Hill said.

Within a few months, Mr. Podgorski met and married his second wife, Betty.

Mr. Podgorski worked at the Sherlock Bakery in Toledo, but he eventually left because of the sting of flour filling his lungs with each breath, Mr. Hill said.

Mr. Podgorski became a maintenance man for the city in 1968, working in the Safety Building for 13 years and the water department for 14 years. Co-workers remember him for bringing fresh catch to work, Mr. Hill said.

Mr. Podgorski retired in 1995, a year after his wife, Betty, died.

Surviving are his daughters, Terry Flory, Lori Dawson, and Carol Knapp; brothers, Donald Hill and Gerald Podgorski, and several grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the Urbanski Funeral Home, Toledo, where the body will be after 2 p.m. today, with a recitation of the Rosary at 6 p.m.

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