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Obituary: Zoltan Michael Antol (Antal), 97

June 25, 2010

Zotan Antol, second from left, was flanked by the "Kennedy boys" at the Vintondale Homecoming in 2000. Robert Kennedy is at the left, Jon Kennedy second from right, and the late Thomas G. Kennedy, right. Robert and Thomas were students of Mr. Antol at Vintondale High School and all of them were also acquainted with him as a friend of their father, the late Harry Kennedy.

The death of Zoltan Antol, who taught for 42 years at Vintondale, Nanty Glo-Vintondale and Blacklick Valley Junior-Senior High Schools, was reported on June 24. His complete obituary follows.

Zoltan Michael Antol (Antal), Vintondale, 97, died June 22, 2010. Born June 9, 1913, in Wehrum, Pa., son of Adam and Elizabeth (Sirokai) Antal. Preceded in death by his childhood sweetheart and wife, Elizabeth, a career RN; his beloved parents; brother, the Rev. Arpad E. Antal; sisters, Isabelle Buterbaugh, and husband, Arthur; Ida Bagu, and husband, Baloz; and Margaret, and husband, George; son-in-law, Ed Fox; uncle, Gyula Antal; Dr. William Horosz; nieces, Ida Horsz and Sarah Cresswell, and husband, Robert Cresswell; nephew-in-law, Stuart Wallace; nieces, Elizabeth (Erszike) Sharpe and Poldi Coburn; and nephew, Dr. David Horosz; Matthew Guernsey and Robin Wallace. Also preceding him in death are his college roommates, Dr. Charles Bryner and Dr. Wilbur Marisa; and dearest friends, Bela Nemeth, Frank Wright and John Biondo.

Surviving is his only child, daughter, Zolinda Joy "Zoe" Kiriakidis; son-in-law, Kyriakos; grandchildren, Zoltan, Ferenz and Elizabeth; and great-grandsons, Laszlo, Zoli and Adam; also grandson-in-law, Andrew. Survived by last remaining niece, Margaret Wallace. Survived by dear friends, Alex Ure, Dr. William Gasser, Mike Nagy and John Hugya; and many great-nieces and nephews and great-great-nieces and nephews; also three great-great-great-niece and nephews.

It seems appropriate to pause and reflect upon the life that earned him a standing ovation and the legacy that remains. The hardest thing about Mr. Antolís life and legacy is just where to begin. Zoltan was a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, teacher, mentor and most of all, a friend. He was born in Wehrum, Pa., of immigrant parents. All his life he held on to the strong Western Pennsylvania ethnic ways that he came to love as a child.

He was the last surviving member of the Vintondale High School graduating class of 1933. He worked in the coal mines for two years. He graduated from Waynesburg College in 1938, graduated from North Western University of Taxidermy in 1939, and performed his graduate work at the University of Arizona, Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh. He was the first ethnic teacher hired by the school, thanks to John Biondo, who was the head of the union and threatened to call a strike of all miners if Zoltan wasnít hired. He then taught high school for 42 years and taught as many as three generations.

Life member of the Hungarian Reformed Church United Church of Christ. When the church was built, he hand mixed all the cement for the cut stone foundation. It is that church, where he will be appropriately laid to rest. He loved the simple life, hunting, fishing and raising his beagles. He will be remembered for his lifetime dedication to his family, for his devotion to duty as a combat veteran officer of World War II, for being a teacher who went above the call of duty to have his students excel, as an environmentalist who directed the young minds of those he taught to keep the earth they are living on better than when they found it and finally for his leadership skills which he was able to share with many who went on to make a difference.

Friends will be received from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday and from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Bowser-Ondriezek Funeral Home, Nanty Glo. A funeral will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday at Vintondale Hungarian Reformed Church of Christ. Interment, Antal family cemetery in Vintondale R.D. Funeral dinner will be held at Pleasant Valley Golf Course, 215 Plowman Road, Vintondale. All friends and students, young and old, are cordially invited to celebrate his life. Our lives are rich tapestry of things we've said with memories of those we love outlined in golden thread.