Donald J. Szejk

Don passed early on Monday, October 3, with his loving wife of 58 years, and the rest of his family, at his bedside.

A Polish Hill native, Don grew up in Penn Hills, with his older brother, Ted.  His mother; Mary, owned the “Mar-Ted” corner diner in Wilkinsburg, and his father, Ted, ran a pest control business and sold Ford cars.

As a young man, Don enjoyed playing sports.  Working as a “doubles” caddy at the Churchill Valley Country Club; he learned to play and appreciate golf, and at Penn Hills High School, where he graduated in 1961, he excelled in baseball, football and track events.

After high school, Don earned a degree in Technical Drawing from Point Park College in Pittsburgh, and began working as a Draftsman, where he worked on a wide variety of public and private projects.  Early in his career, he did design drawings for the aviation industry, and later he helped with the design and construction of the “Runaway Truck” safety ramps on Pittsburgh highways—a project he was especially proud of.

During this time, he met and married his wife Mary, a registered nurse. They raised three sons, Donald Jr., Matthew and James, and stayed married, through thick and thin, for 58 amazing years.

After the demise of the steel industry, Don enjoyed a second career with his own company; Industrial Training Systems, where he wrote and published a book on forklift safety procedures, and served as an Expert Court Witness for industrial accident investigations.

When he wasn’t working, Don’s life was centered on his wife and family, and he enjoyed nothing more than filling up his charcoal grill with chicken wings and cooking for everybody during summer gatherings, and Steeler football Sundays.

He was active in the Penn Hills Baseball Association, where he coached various youth baseball teams with his sons, and was an enthusiastic booster of youth and high school hockey.  After his coaching days ended, Don stayed involved in the sports he loved, serving as a home plate umpire for several different area baseball leagues.

In addition to sports, Don loved campfires and hiking with his family, enjoyed old sportscars and attending race day at the Vintage Grand Prix.  He loved watching old Western Movies, and sports of all kinds.

A man of honest, open opinions, and dogged determination, Don was always quick to help out friends and family whenever needed, had a great sense of humor, and enjoyed telling and hearing a good story.

He was a loving and devoted husband and father who valued his family and integrity above else, and will be greatly missed by all who were blessed to know him well.

Don is survived by his wife, Mary, his sons, Donald Jr., Matthew and James.  daughter-in-laws, Becky and Jodi, grand-daughters, Jocelyn and Isabel, and various nephews, nieces and cousins.


Friends will be received at William F. Gross Funeral Home, LTD., 11735 Frankstown Rd. (at Rodi Rd.) Penn Hills, on Sunday, October 9, 2022 from 3-5 p.m.