Our servicemen and women have put their lives on the line, serving our country with honor and dignity.
Their sacrifices have not gone unnoticed, which is why I want to highlight several programs I have championed to help benefit our veterans.
Startups for Soldiers
I created the Startups for Soldiers program to help veterans seeking to start a business. The program, signed into law in 2016, has proved to be a great success.
Since January 2018, 5,403 veterans and reservist business owners have saved more than $604,720 in business startup and licensing fees.
Jean Fridirici, 91, formerly of Orefield, died Nov. 9, 2019, in Park Lane at Bellingham, West Chester.
She was the widow of Curtis A. Fridirici.
Born in Allentown, she was the daughter of the late Lewis and Anna (Christoff) Downing.
Raised in East Allentown, she was a 1946 graduate of William Allen High School.
She was a switchboard operator for Bell Telephone for several years before marrying and becoming a homemaker in Fogelsville.
A longtime member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Fogelsville, she sang with the choir for many years.
Charles A. “Chuck” Myers, 76, of Macungie, died Nov. 4, 2019.
Born in Bosworth, Mo., he was a son of the late Merrill H. and Mary E. (Kinnear) Myers, and husband of Virginia Ann (Schultz) Myers.
Serving with the Army Corps of Engineers, he was a Vietnam veteran and earned the rank of captain.
A graduate of the University of Missouri, Rolla, and a member of Sigma Xi, he was a nuclear engineer with TVA and PPL.
A member of Asbury United Methodist Church, South Whitehall, he enjoyed teaching and playing with his grandchildren.
Walt Pumm was 83 years young when he was called home on Oct. 25, 2019.
Born in Allentown, he was a son of the late Walter E. Pumm and Grace (Olewine-Pumm) Huber.
A proud, loving, charismatic and effervescent man, he loved reminiscing about the years he proudly served his country in the Air Force and lived abroad in Germany.
He worked for Mack Trucks for 15 years on the assembly line and was a proud member of the UAW and loved to do crossword puzzles.
Married this past June for 60 years to his wife, Mae (Santee) Pumm, he loved his family above everything.
The Rev. Michael J. Bodnyk Sr., 68, of Orefield, died peacefully Nov. 7, 2019, in Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township, surrounded by his loving family.
He and his wife, Sandra L. (Smith) Bodnyk, were married 44 years on Feb. 8.
Born Dec. 5, 1950, in Allentown, Pastor Mike, as he was known, was the son of the late Dorothy I. (Shankweiler) Bodnyk and the late Lt. Col. Metro Bodnyk, U.S.A.F., retired.
Audrey B. Hoffman, 93, of Allentown, died peacefully Nov. 5, 2019, in her home.
She was the wife of the late Gerald R. Hoffman.
Born in Trexlertown, she was the daughter of the late Oliver and Blanche Miller.
A long-standing member of 4-H, she loved cats and enjoyed gardening.
Roger W. Steele, 88, of Allentown, formerly of Neffs, died on Nov. 7, 2019, in Country Meadows, Upper Macungie Township, surrounded by his loving family.
He was the husband of the late Carolyn L. (Krause) Steele.
Born March 6, 1931, in Palmerton, Carbon County, he was the son of the late Clifford B. and Carrie E. (Straup) Steele.
He faithfully and honorably served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean War era.
He was a metallurgical engineer at Cabot Corp., Boyertown, for 45 years before retiring.
George W. Lowin, 84, of Macungie, died peacefully on Nov. 5, 2019.
He was the husband of the late Helen (Smith) Lowin who died in July 2016.
Born Dec. 26, 1934, in Newark, N.J., he was the son of the late George and Muriel (Stark) Lowin.
He owned and operated, with his wife, the former George’s Sunoco, Emmaus.
Before 2008, he and his wife lived in Delaware for 19 years.
Janice E. Wagner, 79, formerly of Fogelsville, died Nov. 8, 2019, in Cedarbrook, South Whitehall Township.
Born in Breinigsville, she was a daughter of the late Edward and Evelyn (Herbst) Wagner.
She was a seamstress at various places in the Lehigh Valley for many years.
Her survivors include a sister Evelyn Schock and her husband, Carl of New Tripoli; brother Robert Wagner and wife, Linda, of Seipstown; 17 nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her brother, Edward Wagner; and sisters Lois Bittner, Betty Billig and Shirley Billig.