Don “Poncho” Piontek, 90, passed on to glory Wednesday, January 5, 2022, at his home. He was born November 25, 1931, in Green Bay to Stanley and Vanda (Blaskowski) Piontek. After graduating from St. Mary of the Angel Catholic Grade School and Green Bay East High School, Don gladly served his county during the Korean Conflict from July of 1951 to April of 1953. He spent all of 1952 in Korea with the 25th Division, 27th Regiment (Wolfhounds) George Company 2nd Platoon Infantry and was a part of the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge on the Sat’ae-Ri Valley. Not knowing God had a plan for his life, Don survived a sniper’s bullet, a tank mine, friendly fire, an unexpected mortar round, and two trips into a mine field to retrieve wounded buddies. He received a Bronze Star for his valor. Never leave a fallen warrior behind! Don thought he was lucky. Luck had nothing to do with it, God was in control. He was discharged with rank of Sgt. E-5 and was very proud to wear the Combat Infantry Badge. Don attended an Old Glory Honor Flight in April 0f 2016.
On May 15, 1954, Don married Grace Johanski, the daughter of Antone and Cecilia (Selissen) Johanski. The couple raised six children and were blessed with eleven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Don gave his heart to the Lord in August of 1973, becoming a born-again Christian and found out God’s plan was to preach the gospel of salvation to inmates at the Brown County Jail. His ministry began in March of 1978 and continued until March of 2018. He was a member of Highland Crest Baptist Church. His favorite scripture was Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths”.
Poncho’s career with the Green Bay Press Gazette began with a 6-year printing apprenticeship through the G.I. Bill. He worked at the Press Gazette from 1953 – 1993 in the composing room and retired as pre-press manager, loving every day there. After three months of retirement, he couldn’t relax and needed to do something. He took a job as a school crossing guard for seven years and also started at Bellin Hospital in parking lot security. He then became a valet, a shuttle and clinic driver, and eventually started full time as a park lot attendant. He loved to meet and help children, patients, and just about anyone who liked to visit. He liked to tell them how blessed he was by God to be able to do all these things. Poncho finally retired at the age of 89. Bellin recognized him by naming the parking lot booth in his honor.
Poncho enjoyed the game of fast pitch softball since he was 16 years old, playing until he was 46 years old in the church league. His Press Gazette team won the Industrial League Championship which was the highlight of his softball career.
He is survived by his beloved wife Grace; five sons and a daughter, Steven, , Mark, Christine (Tim) Hohne,, Paul, Patrick (Claudia) and Peter (Dr. Lisa); grandchildren, Tiffany, Zak, Rachel, Luke, Courtney, Ruth, Samuel, Daniel, Jacob, Noah, and Corinn; great-grandchildren, Carly, Aden, Samantha, Danielle, Jessica, Addison and Zachary; a brother, Jerry (Janet) Piontek; a brother-in-law and two sisters-in-law, Carl (Carol) Johanski, Carol (Frank) Howard, Jane Rosenbloom; nieces and nephews; many cousins, his Christian brothers and sisters, long time friends from the Press Gazette and Bellin Health and his church family at Interfaith Fellowship, Living Hope and Highland Crest Baptist.
He was greeted in heaven by three children, Michael, Catherine and baby Piontek and a baby brother John who died at birth.
Visitation will be held from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. Sunday at Proko-Wall Funeral Home 1630 E. Mason St. Visitation will continue from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Monday at the funeral home. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday at the funeral home with clergy from Highland Crest Baptist officiating. Military Honors will conclude the services. To send online condolences visit www.prokwall.com.
To the Green Bay Police (especially MaKayla) and the Green Bay Fire & Rescue for their quick response, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
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