The Life of Norman Duke Kaunas
Norman "Duke" Kaunas, 88, of Saint Clair, passed away Tuesday surrounded by his loving family while at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, Allentown.
Born Dec. 18, 1930, in Saint Clair, he was a son of the late Anthony and Mary Yuritus Kaunas.
Norman was a graduate of Saint Clair High School, in 1949, and then went on to serve in the Navy during the Korean War. He received an honorable discharge in 1955 and returned to Saint Clair where he worked as an apprentice and then licensed barber for John Chizmar. He also dedicated his life to helping the youth of Saint Clair and surrounding areas.
Duke was a scoutmaster for Saint Clair Boy Scouts. He was an instrumental part of the Biddy Basketball Program and coached the Dukes of Saint Clair. He helped form the Saint Clair Midget Football Program and was also the president of the Saint Clair Little League for 20 years. In 1986, the Saint Clair Old-Timers honored Duke with a plaque that read: "For his devotion to the welfare and recreation of the youth in football, basketball, and Little League baseball programs." He was inducted in to the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. Throughout the years, it was his honor to serve with many great people who all had a vision for the betterment of our youth.
In addition to his work with the youth of the area, Duke was also dedicated to his community. He was a member and past financial secretary of Saint Clair American Legion Post 719. He served as the treasurer of the first Saint Clair Sewer Authority. He was the president of the Saint Clair Lions Club, financial officer of the Saint Clair Old-Timers Association, and a member of the Saint Clair Fish and Game.
Duke was an active member of St. Casimir Catholic Church, where he participated as a lector, was on the picnic committee and was even a pierogi and candy maker. He was also an accomplished boilo maker and won first place at the Lithuanian Boilo Contest.
Duke worked at United Metal Cabinets in Pottsville and later retired from American Argo, in 1994, after 23 years.
While Duke spent much of his time dedicated to his community and the youth of our area, his true devotion was to his family. He was married to his true love, the former Dorothy L. Lapinsky, for 60 years before she passed Dec. 5, 2017. Together they attended all their children's and grandchildren's sporting events and activities and were proud of all their accomplishments.
Duke was thankful for all the doctors and nurses from the VA, Schuylkill County and the Lehigh Valley Hospital. He was also thankful to a true friend, Joanie. She was there every step of the way through Dot's battle with cancer and upon her passing, she continued to care for Duke. She was a once in a lifetime friend.
Duke is survived by his children, Janet Hutchinson, wife of Dr. Thomas Hutchinson, Emmaus, Bobby Kaunas, husband to Carol Steranko, Schnecksville, and David Kaunas, husband to Stephanie Slotcavage, Orwigsburg. He is also survived by eight grandchildren, Jason, Marcus, Alexa, Kurt, Kiera, Brent, Ty and Keegan. Duke was always appreciative of his children, their spouses and his grandchildren.
A funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at St. Clare of Assisi, 250 E. Hancock St., Saint Clair. Monsignor William Glosser will officiate. A viewing will be held from 8:30 a.m. until the time of Mass. Interment will follow on the grounds of Schuylkill Memorial Park, off Route 61, Schuylkill Haven. Grabowski Funeral Home, Schuylkill Haven, is entrusted with services. Donations in Duke's memory can be made to St. Clare of Assisi Memorial Fund, 250 E. Hancock St., Saint Clair, PA 17970, or Mass Intentions c/o Monsignor Al Bartkus, 7000 Beach Plaza, Apt. 405, St. Pete's Beach, FL 33706. Memories and condolences can be shared at www.grabowskifuneralhome.com.