Michael Charles Urdzik, 91, of Latrobe, left this world on February 1, 2021. Mike always had a smile and a kiss for those he loved and no matter how hard a day he was having, always asked about his great-grandson, Sam, who he'd often say was just so bright and special. We felt the same way about Mike, Hun, Daddy, Grandpap, and Pap-we all had a different affectionate name for him. He hung on at the hospital for his daughter, Kathy, who he loved so much, to get there to hold his hand as he passed. He was waiting for her, his "Babe."
Mike was as perfect a person as was ever made. We would all be hard pressed to remember a mistake or a time when he wasn't gentle and kind-even when he was being strict. He was a man that you never wanted to disappoint. He was loved by so many and simply adored by his family. Mike was always loyal, always loving, always strong, and always put his family first. He took care of everyone-all of his girls and then his little Sammy. Anything we needed or didn't even know we needed, he took care of; mowing lawns, picking up our favorite food from the grocery store, making sure our cars had gas, taking us to school and appointments, and so much more. No matter what, he was our rock. We were all so lucky to have him for so long.
Mike and his beloved wife, Nancy, were high school sweethearts, graduating from Derry Area High School in 1948 and marrying in 1950. Nancy's passing (his "Mum") hit him very hard. They had a love that doesn't come along often, but when it does it is to be admired and cherished. Even in her death, he held her hand and apologized to her for not being able to save her. It was both beautiful and heartbreaking and we know that she was the first one to greet him when he finally let go. We are all comforted by their lovely reunion.
Mike grew up the son of immigrants, was the first in his family to graduate from high school, and was a Veteran of the Korean War where he served proudly in the US Navy. He worked as a brick layer and at his uncle's gas station while going to Saint Vincent College on the GI bill and raising a young family. He became a teacher. He built his beloved Nancy a house, all by himself, where they lived with their daughter, Kathy, who he loved with all his might. She even followed in his teaching footsteps. Mike got his Masters Degree at Duquesne University and was only a few courses away from his doctorate-finishing was never important to him, he preferred to spend that time with his family. Mike then became Vice Principal at his alma mater Derry and eventually Athletic and Transportation Director.
He retired early in 1986 when his youngest granddaughter was born. He always said he worked even harder after that-taking care of all of his girls. By then, his two granddaughters, Amanda and Angelica, were born to Kathy and Joe. He loved them just as fiercely and they were lucky enough to have him as a second father. He was so proud of all that his three girls had accomplished and did anything to be sure they were happy and comfortable. When Amanda had his great-grandson, Sammy, his favorites quickly shifted to his little boy. He loved that Sam called him Pap and that he got to play with him every day. Even in the nursing home, he and Sam would watch cartoons together and play with blocks. They were two peas in a pod and Pap loved him so.
Michael is survived by his daughter Katherine Ciranni (Daniel Spencer) of Latrobe, his granddaughter Amanda Ciranni Fisher of Murrysville, his granddaughter Angelica Ciranni (Matthew Matesevac) of Pittsburgh, and his great-grandson Samuel Fisher. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Michael was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy Urdzik, his parents Andrew and Mary Urdzik, his son-in-law Joseph Ciranni, and his siblings.
Our family would like to thank the amazing staff at both Brookdale Senior Living and Bethlen Home as well as hospice staff at Latrobe Area Hospital that took very good care of Mike.
A private ceremony will be through McCabe Funeral Home ,300 W. Third Avenue, Derry and interment in Unity Cemetery of Latrobe. In lieu of flowers, family would ask for a donation to be made in the names of Michael and Nancy Urdzik to the Alzheimer's Association (helping fight Alzheimer's and Dementia that afflicted both Mike and Nancy). Information can be found at www.alz.org.
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