Michael Richard Wasilko

Michael Richard Wasilko, 74, of Hernando, Fla., passed away at his home on March 12, 2019.

Michael was born Sept. 14, 1944, in McKees Rocks to the late Michael and Anna (Marmura) Wasilko.

He was a graduate of McKees Rocks High School. He went on to earn a degree in music education from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and he taught music for several years in Washington County near Pittsburgh.

Wasilko arrived in Mifflin County in 1970 to become the first and only band director for the county’s, then new, Penn Highlands High School. After the dissolution of Penn Highlands in 1973, he continued as band director at Lewistown High School and later at Indian Valley High School and Strodes Mills Middle School. Under Wasilko’s leadership, his bands traveled to many out-of-state events and competitions including Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the Apple Blossom Festival in Virginia, winning universal praise and many awards. Michael’s significant and positive influence went well beyond musical development, as he imbued a sense of the value of hard work, perseverance, ambition and the “art of the possible” in his students.

Michael enjoyed discovering new restaurants and posting messages to family and friends on Facebook. He is survived by: his son, Patrick; sister, Carolyn Wasilko Daniels and her husband, Serge; sisters-in-law, Judie Wohnsiedler and Susan (Michael) Marrone; and brother-in-law, Michael (Jane) Bailey.

He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Anita Smith Wasilko, on Aug. 9, 2015. Michael’s passing will also be mourned and he will be sorely missed by his many nieces, nephews, cousins, former students and Facebook friends.

A funeral service was held Saturday, March 16, 2019, at St. Raphael of Brooklyn Orthodox Church in Inverness, Fla., with Fr. Sergious Gerken, Celebrant. Michael was laid to rest at Hills of Rest Cemetery in Floral City on Monday, March 18, 2019.

A service to celebrate the life and legacy of Michael Wasilko will be held Sept. 28, 2019, at the Evangel Church Auditorium at 375 W. Fifth St., Lewistown, PA 17044, beginning at 10 a.m. Light refreshments will be served following the celebration. Contributions in Michael’s honor can be made in advance by making a check out to “MC Music Boosters” with “Michael Wasilko Tribute” in the memo line and sending it to MC Music Boosters, P.O. Box 44, Burnham, PA 17009. MC Music Boosters is a qualified 501C3 organization. Contributions can also be made at the Celebration of Life event on Sept. 28.