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Paul Demciak, 93, a former resident of Gouldsboro, fell asleep in the Lord in the early hours of Wednesday, Aug. 24, in the care of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Plains Twp., where he was recently being treated for an illness.

Born Sept. 15, 1922 in Wilkes-Barre, he was a son to the late Peter and Anna (Homyak) Demciak. Paul was educated in the city schools, and after his formal education, proudly served our country with the Army during the World War II. Mr. Demciak served with the 82nd Airborne Division, then later with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, being a part of the Pathfinder Team. His military service included participation in the Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. For his service to country, Mr. Demciak was the recipient of two Purple Hearts for wounds received on the battlefield, and also two bronze stars with V-Device for his participation in the war effort. Mr. Demciak was held captive as a prisoner of war for three months from June 6 to Sept. 6, 1944 in the European Theatre Campaign.

Mr. Demciak was a member of Holy Assumption of Saint Mary Byzantine Catholic Church, North Wilkes-Barre, and held membership Saint Nicholas of Myra Byzantine Catholic Church and also attended Saint Rita Roman Catholic Church, both of the Pocono Summit area. He was a proud member the Disabled American Veterans , Post 1 of Scranton; The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5207 of Moscow; The American Legion Post 2449 of Gouldsboro; the National Association of Federal Retired Employees and the American Ex-Prisoners of War, Keystone Chapter of DuPont, Pa.

He retired in October of 1977 having been employed some 27 years as a criminal investigator with the Tobyhanna Army Depot.

Paul was preceded in death by his wife, the former Sophie M. Gajewski on June 24, 1975; and by brothers, John, Michael, Andrew and Joseph Dancheck [sic], Nicholas and George Demchick [sic]; sister, Mrs. Anna Coburn.

Surviving are numerous nieces, nephews, fellow parishioners and dear friends, including his caregiver, Mr. Robert Hnatko of Chesapeake, Va.

Funeral services with Panachida* will be conducted on Monday at 9:30 a.m. from the North Wilkes-Barre location of the John V. Morris Family Funeral Homes Inc., 625 N. Main St., followed by the Office of Christian Burial with Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m. in Holy Assumption of Saint Mary Byzantine Catholic Church, 695 N. Main St. The Rev. Michael Kerestes, pastor, will serve as principal celebrant and the Rev. Michael J. Salnicky of Saint Nicholas of Myra, concelebrating.

Interment with Rite of Committal will follow next to his beloved wife, Sophie, in the parish cemetery, Lake Street, Dallas, where military honors will be accorded him by the Army and the American Legion.

Relatives and friends may join Mr. Demciak's family for visitation and remembrances Sunday afternoon from 2 to 5 p.m. A military honors prayer service will be conducted at 4 p.m. by the VFW Post 5207, followed by a Parastas service at 4:30 p.m. with Father Michael officiating.

[Scranton Times, Aug 26, 2016]


1 - * A panachida service remembers the deceased and is traditional to the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

2 - the Demciak name is often seen alternatively spelled as Dancheck and Demchick]

Paul enlisted in the Army at Wilkes Barre, PA on 27 November 1942.

On 24 May 1944 Pvt Demciak, a member of Medical Detachment, 508th PIR was appointed to the grade of T/5.

T/5 Demciak was attached to Hq Hq on 26 May 1944.  He was reported as MIA on 6 June 1944.

His name then appeared on the POW Train list, Rennes, France.  He had   suffered a "perforating wound, right shoulder" in the Langeais strafing attack and had been taken to the Tours Hospital.  He later was  transferred to southern France; where he escaped and rejoined allied forces..

Paul later reported:

"On September 4th we met MI-5, English and American intelligence agents and officers in the French underground.

They informed us that 9 P.O.W.'s on the morning of 5-6 September will be sent by plane and taken to safety.

On September 6th, we were awakened at 4.am and taken to a grass field where the French underground had secured the area from the Germans. They had parked vehicles with small lights to guide the plane in.

The British Dakota [C-47] plane was flown by a British crew. The plane landed safely.

We took off and I could hear the plane being hit by small arms fire.

A few hours later we landed in Naples, Italy.

While in the 118th Station Hospital, I was treated with a fluid diet and vitamins. I weighed 160 pounds when I jumped on D-Day, now 60 days later I weighed only 98 pounds.

On 13 September 1944 T/5 Demciak was transferred to the Department of Patients in an Army field hospital."

Paul's military decorations include Bronze Star Medal with "V" device, the Purple Heart with 1 OLC, Prisoner of War Medal and the French Legion d'Honneur.

  On 17 January 1950, Paul submitted this application for the Pennsylvania WWII Veterans Bonus.  He was credited with 29 months of domestic duty and 10 months overseas. As a consequence he received a bonus award of $440.  After what he went through it almost seems unfair that he did not receive the maximum payment of $500 but the system calculated service completed, not how it was spent, i.e., it was quantitative, not qualitative.

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