Obituary: Carl J. Piekarski / Architect, head of home-building firm
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About five years ago, Carl J. Piekarski's home was destroyed by a chimney fire. Feeling that a contractor's estimate was too high, Mr. Piekarski took the matter into his own hands -- literally -- and rebuilt the home himself with the help of some friends.
The decision wasn't surprising given Mr. Piekarski's training as an architect, skills as a carpenter and his position as president of Stanford Home Center, with locations in Leechburg and Plum, and its home-building division, Commander Homes.
Mr. Piekarski died Friday at Good Samaritan Hospice in Cabot, Butler County, following a three-month battle with cancer. He was 73.
A lifelong resident of Washington Township, Westmoreland County, he worked his entire life for Stanford, a business begun by his parents, the late Stanley Piekarski and Ottilie "Tillie" Piekarski, out of their home.
Mr. Piekarski graduated in 1957 from Washington Township High School, and earned a degree in architecture from Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University).
His architectural and carpentry acumen helped Stanford grow and he oversaw the startup of Commander Homes, said his wife of 46 years, Frances M. "Fran" Piekarski.
"He brought in a lot of business. As an architect he would design decks, buildings, barns and as a carpenter he would go and actually help put them up," she said.
Mr. Piekarski, who served with the U.S. Coast Guard, was a member of Our Lady of Joy Parish in Plum and a former member of St. James Church in Apollo, where he sang with the choir.
Mr. Piekarski enjoyed woodworking. He sang with the Alle-Kiski Barbershop Quartet and was active in the Strongland Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity, and the Building Construction Technology Board at Forbes Road Career & Technology Center.
In addition to his wife, survivors include daughters Angela M. Clark of Camp Hill, Cumberland County and Susie L. Reese of Murrysville; son Darin J. Piekarski of Washington Township; brother Robert H. Piekarski of Greensburg; sister Lorraine Piekarski of Washington Township; and five grandchildren.
Friends will be received today and Monday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Curran-Shaffer Funeral Home and Crematory, 100 Owens View Ave., Apollo. A celebration of life tribute service will be held at the funeral home Monday at 8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Tuesday at 10 a.m. in Our Lady of Joy Parish, where attendees should meet. Interment will be private.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers a tree be planted in Mr. Piekarski's memory, or a memorial contribution be made to the soon-to-be established Carl J. Piekarski Memorial Fund, with information forthcoming at the websites of either Curran Funeral Home or Stanford Home Center.
First Published May 20, 2012 12:42 am