Polifka, Donald Kenneth, 95, of Brigantine passed away on Tuesday, March 19, 2019.
Donald “Don” Polifka was born in Hays, Kansas to the late Charles and Elisabeth Polifka. He was an honors graduate of St. Joseph’s Military Academy, Hays, Kansas, class of 1942. Prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army, he served as an instructor for Ft. Hays Kansas State College, Kansas.
Don is survived by his daughter Mary H. Crane (Glenn) of Brigantine, NJ; Donald K. Polifka, Jr. (Judy) of Kinsale, VA; and son Christopher A. Polifka of Kona, Hawaii; four grandchildren: Deborah Batson (Robert), Wendy Bates (Alan), Amy White (Tom) and Donald K. Polifka, III (Joyce); nine great grandchildren: Samantha Fabrizio, Michael Fabrizio, Jade Bates, Gannon Bates, Elle Polifka, Luke Polifka, Jane Polifka, Amalia White and Isabella White; and great great grandson Nicholas Fabrizio. Don was predeceased by his sisters Helen Vitztum and Alice Polifka, and brothers Charles and Alvin Polifka.
Donald met his wife Winnie while in the hospital after World War II. Winnie, who was from Atlantic City, NJ was a nurse and Donald, originally from Hays, Kansas was an Army officer. He had 62 wonderful years with Winnie who passed ten years ago in Brigantine, NJ. Don was a loving father, husband, grandfather, great grandfather, and friend to everyone.
Don is a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and the Korean War, where he earned several medals, including the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars. He was wounded in the South Pacific and received other commendations for his dedication and bravery. In addition, Don received the Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters representing his meritorious service while stationed at Ft. Myers and Ft. Monroe, Virginia. He held such positions as Ceremonial Officer for the Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery and Ft. Myers, Virginia and held a key military headquarters position at Ft. Monroe, Virginia. During this time, he was responsible for organizing and overseeing General MacArthur’s funeral, President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural parade and was a key decision maker during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After 24 years of military service, Don retired as a Lt. Colonel. The discipline and patriotism he learned in the U.S. Army never left him, as friends and family will attest.
Following his military career, he retired in Virginia and he and Winnie bought a store in Upperville, Virginia. At this point in his life, going back to a more slower country lifestyle was just his thing - he grew up on a farm near Hays, Kansas, where he learned to plow fields, sow and harvest wheat, herd cattle and help with the multitude of tasks that come with farm life. This latest move was a great segue as he excelled at organizational leadership and turned a small country store into a thriving and personable business.
In the late 1980’s, Don and his wife decided to move back to where they met. They settled in Brigantine and Don fully retired. For many years, he volunteered for Meals On Wheels, and was a star player for the Bocce Ball team. He remained in Brigantine for the rest of his life and proclaimed this is “the city you would love for life.”
Relatives and friends are invited to attend Don’s Life Celebration gathering on Tuesday April 2, 2019 from 10 to 11 am with a Memorial Service to follow at the Brigantine Community Presbyterian Church, 1501 W. Brigantine Avenue, Brigantine NJ. A final military salute will follow the memorial service. Concluding the service, all are welcome to attend a reception at the American Legion, Brigantine Post # 396, 3218 Brigantine Avenue, Brigantine, NJ. Don’s final resting place will be at Arlington National Cemetery, VA.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the South Jersey Cancer Fund, P. O. Box 1084, Brigantine, NJ 08203 in Donald’s’ memory will be appreciated.
To share your fondest memory of Don please visit www.keatesplum.com.
Family services by Keates-Plum Funeral Home, Brigantine NJ