Robert Edward Podlasiak, of Woodsfield, Ohio, died on November 7, 2020, at Astoria Place in Barnesville, Ohio, where he had been a resident for the past few years. A second-generation immigrant, he was born October 3, 1928, the son of the late Edmund Podlasiak, who immigrated from Germany, and the late Kreszenz Mair Podlasiak, who immigrated from Austria. He was raised in Shadyside, where he graduated from high school in 1946.
Following graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines, and served his country on active duty as a rifleman with the “China Marines” during the unrest following World War II. He graduated in 1952 from West Liberty University, with a B.S. degree in music and social studies, and a minor in mathematics. He played clarinet in the college orchestra, and was on the football team.
He spent his 30-year career as the band director and vocal music teacher at Woodsfield Jr. High and High School. A proponent of instilling discipline and pride in his students, he believed that every student should be involved in extra-curricular activities. When he began teaching, there were only 10 students in the band, which grew under his direction to an all-time high of 150 members. In 1957, he became an assistant football coach in order to help reinstate football, which had been defunct since 1942. The only drawback was that he couldn’t go into the locker room at half-time because he had to direct the band. Following his retirement, he was a substitute teacher in area school districts for three decades. Even though health issues eventually prevented him from working, he never missed an opportunity to encourage students to maximize their potential.
He was an active member of the VFW Post 5305 in Woodsfield, Ohio, where he served as commander for several years. His dedication to honoring our nation’s military and veterans inspired others, especially his family, to “never take a knee” and live as true American patriots.
He was a member of the Church of Christ in Woodsfield, Ohio, where he was a faithful servant of the Lord, and song leader. In the twilight of his life, when his body and mind began to fail him, he remarkably never lost his gift of having “perfect pitch,” and often led the singing in church services while residing at Westwood Place in Woodsfield.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Garnet Loper Podlasiak, whom he married July 26, 1953, and who died March 1, 1985; a brother, Richard Podlasiak; a sister, Katherine Podlasiak Smith; and brother-in-law, Charles Smith.
He is survived by two sons, R. Michael Podlasiak and his wife Mary Lou of Caldwell, and Steve Podlasiak and his wife Kathy of Gahanna; one daughter, Barbara Clark and her husband Randy of Bethesda; two granddaughters, Rachael Tullius and her husband Matt of Lowell, and Sarah Podlasiak of Gahanna; three grandsons, Ryan Schumacher and his wife Jenny of Barnesville; Scott Podlasiak and his fiancé Courtney Cruz, of Columbus, and Brian Podlasiak of Washington D.C.; three step-grandsons, Nicolas Lloyd of Gahanna, Justin Clark and his wife Marleena of Charleston, West Virginia; and Jason Clark of Washington, PA; five great-grandchildren, Billy and Seth Schumacher, Clayton, Evie and Nolan Tullius; a step-great-granddaughter, Olivia Clark and a step great-grandson Becks Clark; a brother-in-law, Jim Keevert; two sisters-in-law, Sylvia Podlasiak and Janet Keevert; several nieces and nephews; and the countless number of former students whose lives he touched.
There will be no calling hours or funeral service at this time, but a celebration of his life is being planned for a later date. Per his request, interment of his ashes will be in Oaklawn Cemetery at the convenience of his family. Memorial contributions may be made to the following: The Monroe County VFW, 112 Sycamore Street; The Monroe Theatre, 118 South Paul Street; or the Monroe Central High School Band, 469 Lewisville Rd., Woodsfield, Ohio 43793.
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