Donald A. Lazarchik, 88, of Bethany Village, Mechanicsburg, PA, and formerly of Camp Hill, PA, passed away with family at his side on Sunday, July 2, 2023.
Born March 19, 1935, in Latrobe, PA, Mr. Lazarchik was the son of the late Andrew and Helen (Frenchik) Lazarchik.
Don is survived by his wife of 66 years, Charlotte (Riley) Lazarchik, of Mechanicsburg, two sons, Donald A. Lazarchik, II and his wife Alice, of Bethesda, MD, and Daniel B. Lazarchik and his wife Jill Shurtleff, of Boston, MA, two grandchildren, Andrew R. Lazarchik, of Cleveland, OH, and Emma H. Lazarchik, of Baltimore, MD, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother, Robert E. Lazarchik.
Don graduated from Latrobe High School in 1952, earned a civil engineering degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 1956, and attended graduate school at Penn State University. He worked for the PA Dept. of Health and the PA Dept. of Environmental Resources for 30 years and was a Bureau Director at the time he retired. He was a long-time member of the National and PA Societies of Professional Engineers, serving as President of the Harrisburg Chapter in 1980 and receiving the chapter’s Man of the Year award in 1994. After retiring from state government, he worked as a consultant for Erdman Anthony Associates.
Don met Charlotte in Latrobe when they were both 15. He recalled “seeing stars, like in a Hollywood movie” the first time he saw her, and decided at that very moment that he would marry her someday. After high school, Charlotte and Don lost contact and both relocated to Pittsburgh for college but were reunited through a chance encounter. While walking to a rehearsal for the musical “Brigadoon”, carrying a bagpipe and wearing a kilt, Don recognized Charlotte walking with nursing school friends on the other side of the street. Forgetting what he was wearing, he ran over to the group to say hello to Charlotte and get her phone number. Despite the kilt, bagpipe and her friend’s snickers, Charlotte agreed to a date which, in time, led to their marriage in 1957. They moved to Camp Hill a short time thereafter, where they went on to build a happy, loving family and relationship for over sixty-six years. This story and more about Don’s and Charlotte's seventy plus year relationship can be heard on the Pod Cast “Good Things Come in Threes” at https://www.trinitycamphill.org/messages/meet-the-love-couples/
Don was a member of Good Shepherd Church in Camp Hill and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Harrisburg, and later joined Trinity Lutheran Church in Camp Hill, where he treasured Bible study, visitation, and serving as a lector.
Don was a lifelong “do-it-yourselfer” who enjoyed maintaining, landscaping, and building several additions to their Camp Hill home, and worked with his son Don on major renovations to two houses. He was also an accomplished musician who played six different musical instruments: piano, clarinet, alto and tenor saxophones, string bass and bagpipes. He played in clubs as the only high school-aged member of a popular local jazz band. Don was also a gourmet cook who created special meals for birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, graduations, and other family get togethers.
Don loved visiting and spending time with family. He ran the “Olympic Games” at a family reunion that were enjoyed by all ages. Each event started with the sound system blaring a recording of the “Olympic Theme” for extra motivation. The annual beach house reunion with Charlotte’s extended family were some of his favorite times.
Don loved to travel. He drove his young family on a month-long, cross-country road trip around the US, as well as on numerous trips to Florida. Later in life, Don and Charlotte enjoyed traveling all over the US and in Europe.
Don was a devoted husband, and as a father and grandfather, he personified patience, kindness, and love. He enjoyed taking his children to Indian Guides, canoeing, camping, crawfish catching, archeology expeditions, science fairs and even reptile hunts. He spoiled his grandchildren at every visit with elaborate birthday celebrations, Easter egg hunts, backyard bonfires, and fireworks shows. Hershey Park and Chocolate World, Lake Tobias Wildlife Park, and Roadside America were regular hangout spots for him and his grandchildren. As adults, his grandchildren loved to visit him and were able to provide an amazing amount of hands-on care giving, support, and love during his brief illness.
A celebration of Don’s life will be held at 11 am on July 29, 2023, at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2000 Chestnut St., Camp Hill, with Pastor Jack Horner officiating. A visitation with Don’s family will be held at the church from 10am until the time of the service. A reception at the church will follow. Myers-Baker Funeral & Cremation Services, Camp Hill, has been entrusted with funeral arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.