Leon F. Waszk, 92, of Lincoln Park, passed away January 29, 2021 in the Reading Hospital where he was a patient.
Born in Reading, he was a son of the late Frank & Mary (Wierzbicki) Waszk. He was the husband of Barbara B. (Day) Waszk. They celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary on Sunday, January 24th.
Known as the “Polish Pickle”, he was a tile setter all his life. He started at Malsnee Tile and later worked for John Delucia Tile until retirement. He was an Army veteran of WW II and a member of St. Stephen’s Polish National Catholic Church and their Y.M.S of R.
Leo started playing softball in grade school, as a pitcher at Tyson Schoener. At South West Jr. High he played basketball, baseball, ran track, swimming, and soccer. He played on the championship team in 1944 and hit .380. Leo went on to play in the City League, pitching and playing in the outfield in the Class C League. He played with Vogel’s Luncheonette winning the championship and moved up to Class A. In 1950, he played with the Pendora Wildcats. He was voted MVP with 30 RBI’s, stole bases, and hit .390. He went into the service for 2 years, serving in Panama. While in the Army, he played with Special Services and led the team in HR’s with 3 in 15 games, hitting .400. After that, he played in the City League, then signed up to play pro ball for the St. Louis Brown’s Baltimore Orioles. Starting in Class C at Pine Bluff, the Cotton Street League. Hitting .240 his first year with Triple League, he then came back to Pine Bluff the next year and hit .299 leading the team in hitting and was voted to the 1st string catcher in the ALL-STAR Team. Moving up to Class B in the Tri-State League, hitting .280. He was on the All-Star team as 1st string catcher and had a rare play, unassisted double play. He had an A.A. contract but ended up at York in the last B Piedmont League and hit .280. He quit Pro ball after that year coming back to play and manage the East End’s in the City County League. He coached the West Lawn Owls in Am. Legion League and was MVP in 1950.
In 1957, he started to play softball for Reading House in the City League. Later, he played for the Rising Sun ball club for 10 years. They won 3 State Class A State championships, hitting a double with the bases loaded to help win the game against York. He moved up to the Atlantic Seaboard minor league, catching 5 games in 1 day and lost the game in the World Championship game. He played basketball for Tyson Schoener in the City Recreation League, winning the Championship in 1955. He coached in the Glenside gym for the City Recreation Dept. basketball and managed softball in the City League. He coached the West Lawn team and played fast pitch softball until he was 58 years old.
Leo said, “ I played under the best managers, coaches and sponsors in the World!! That’s why I did what I did. Also, the guy UP STAIRS, helped a lot. I also played with the best teammates in PA.” He played for the South Ends Social Club for 3 years and was City Class A. They were champs in 1981 and 1982. Softball champs, Class 57, 58, 59, 60, 61. Playoffs 81, 82 and 83. Playoff champs Fireman’s League in 71, ASA State Champs Central Atlantic Champs in 1961.
In addition to his wife Barbara, he is survived by his children – Gary L. husband of Jane Waszk, Shillington, Leann M. Waszk-Becker wife of Carey Becker, Leesport, his Granddaughter – Shelley wife of Robert Fraker, Bethlehem, and his grandpups – Ricky & Teddy. He was predeceased by his brothers John and Frank Waszk.
Requiem High Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 11:00 AM at St. Stephen’s PNC Church, 20 St. Stephen’s Church Lane, Reading, PA 19607. Father Sr. Donald Wunderlich celebrant. Military honors will be rendered by the U.S. Army Honor Guard and Ray A. Master Post 217, American Legion, immediately following Mass at the church. Rather than flowers, please honor Leon by making a contribution to his St. Stephen’s PNC Church at the above address. The Klee Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc. Shillington is assisting the Waszk family. www.kleefuneralhome.com
Date: Saturday, February 6, 2021
Time: 11:00 am
St. Stephen's PNC Church
Requiem High Memorial Mass – Father Sr. Donald Wunderlich celebrant
Military honors will be rendered by the U.S. Army Honor Guard and Ray A. Master Post 217, American Legion immediately following Mass at the church.