Chester Joseph Sokol, 88, of Wheeling, West Virginia, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 17, 2015.He was surrounded by his loving wife of sixty-one years and his four adoring children.
Born in Benwood, West Virginia on December 29, 1926, he was the son of the late Thomas and Aniela Szostek Sokol.
Mr. Sokol was a graduate of St. Ladislaus Catholic Grade School in South Wheeling. An exceptional athlete, he was a member of the Wheeling Central Catholic High School football team and State Championship basketball team.
Always loyal, Mr. Sokol declined a contract offer from the Cincinnati Reds professional baseball team to maintain his eligibility for his beloved Maroon Knights.
A WWII era veteran, Mr. Sokol joined the U.S. Army Air Force in 1945 and proudly served as a corporal in the Provost Marshall’s office in Germany.
Chester graduated from Wheeling Central Catholic High School in 1947 after completing his military service. Upon graduation, Chester attended West Liberty State College and continued his athletic career as a catcher by signing with the St. Louis Browns minor league organization in 1949.
After two years with the organization and a career-ending injury, Mr. Sokol returned to Wheeling and played semi-professional baseball for the Bellaire A.C.’s and the Elm Grove Civics.
Mr. Sokol was a member of the Wheeling Fire Department for over thirty years, eventually retiring from his positions as Assistant Chief and Director of the Office of Emergency Services.
Following his retirement from the Fire Department, he became the Executive Director of the Ohio Valley Regional Transit Authority OVRTA and Eastern Ohio Regional Transit Authority EORTA.
Chester was a lifelong member of the Polish American Patriot PAP club and took great pride in entertaining those around him with his limited Polish vocabulary. His family particularly enjoyed his occasional renditions of the Polish National Anthem.
Prior to its closing, Green’s Donut Shop was the daily meeting place for Chester and his friends. When his beloved South Wheeling gathering spot closed, he joined the “bunch” at McDonalds in Elm Grove.
Mr. Sokol morning ritual of coffee and donuts was always followed by a shopping trip to Riesbeck’s and a round of golf at the Wheeling Park Golf Course.
When he wasn’t actively participating in sports himself, Chester could be found watching a game in person or on television. His favorite sports to watch were those that were played by his children and grandchildren.
In addition to his parents, Mr. Sokol was preceded in death by an infant son, Thomas Joseph Sokol; a sister, Jane DeBonis; and a brother, Leo Spyra.
Surviving are his wife, Kathleen McCann Sokol; a daughter, Kathy Zimmerman and her husband, Mark, of Troy, OH; a son, Patrick Sokol and his wife, Mary Anne, of Louisville, Kentucky; a daughter, Susan Porco and her husband, John, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; a daughter, Paula Schafer and her
husband, Patrick, of Cincinnati, Ohio; 13 grandchildren including Jeremy Brittany Zimmerman, Alyssa Stephen Gibson, and Kyle Zimmerman; Brian, Kevin, and Kyle Sokol; Christopher and Andrew Porco; and Catherine, Caroline, Patrick, Matthew, and Elisabeth Schafer; a brother-in-law, Nelson McCann; and several nieces and nephews.
Friends will be received from 1-3 and 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 at Altmeyer Funeral Home, 154 Kruger Street, Elm Grove, Wheeling.
A vigil service will be held at 3 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 2244 Marshall Avenue, with Fr. Gary Naegele as celebrant.
Interment will be at Mount Calvary.
Personal condolences may be offered to the family at altmeyer.com.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Vincent DePaul School, 127 Key Ave., Wheeling, WV 26003.