Paul Yablonsky, devoted husband to the late Patricia Yablonsky and beloved father of Lisa Yablonsky Thom and Matthew Yablonsky, died March 18 at Chilton Medical Center in Pequannock, NJ after a valiant battle with leukemia. He was 72. His children survive him, with two grandchildren, Nola and Joseph Thom, his sister Linda Yablonsky, and two cousins.
Paul retired last summer from his longtime position as deputy program manager for Kawasaki Rail Car, Inc., the company that supplies trains to New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, including the city’s subways, and both the Long Island and Metro North railroads. He had a degree in mechanical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he was a popular member of the school’s sports car club and drove an MG Midget in numerous road rallies. A tinkerer since childhood, he kept an older MG at home to use “just for parts.”
After graduation, he participated in the development of several nuclear energy projects in the employ of Burns & Roe, an engineering services company. Before joining Kawasaki as a quality control manager, he worked for Kearfott, a subsidiary of Astronautics Corporation of America, specializing in navigation, guidance, and motion control systems.
Paul married Pat, a grade-school teacher and his longtime sweetheart, in 1979. The following year they moved to Ringwood, NJ and started their family. Theirs was a notably strong, warm, wonderful and fully rounded marriage that ended last November only because of her passing from multiple myeloma. Paul worked long hours to provide for his family, but it was in his nature to give any assigned task the utmost of his abilities.
Paul began long-distance running as a student at Neshaminy High School in Langhorne, PA. In adulthood, when he wasn’t at work, the only time he spent away from his family was to train for the New York City Marathon. He ran in that race for years, always crossing the finish line in highly respectable time. In the mid-2000s, when an ultimately successful bout with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma curtailed his running, he continued to participate in the race as a course official or handicapped runners’ guide. Together with his wife, he also participated in the four-mile Midnight Run around Central Park hosted by the New York Roadrunners Club on New Year’s Eve.
Known to his family and his many friends for his diligence, thoughtfulness, deadpan sense of humor and the pride he took in baking pecan pies (a fitting symbol of his sweetness), Paul was never short on love for his wife and children or respect for others. His loss is profound.
His children will hold a memorial service in his honor from 1:00-3:00 pm at Vander Plaat Funeral Home in Wyckoff, NJ on Sunday, March 26. They ask that in lieu of flowers, mourners send donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: https://givenow.lls.org
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