Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Active Local Fundraiser Who Treated Everyone with Respect June 4, 1943 - July 7, 2019

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Active Local Fundraiser Who Treated Everyone with Respect June 4, 1943 - July 7, 2019

Article excerpt

Ellen Golonski, a philanthropist who planned many large fundraisers, was known for sporting bold colors and floppy hats.

"She was so pretty and dressed so lovely that you wouldn't think that you could just go up and talk to her like anyone else, but she was so down-to-earth even though she looked so stately," said Virginia Gates, who met Ms. Golonski around the time each got married 57 years ago.

Ms. Golonski met the man who would become her husband, Tom, in the cafeteria at Robert Morris College, as it was then called. They began dating and got married at age 18.

"I always like to think of us as growing up together," said Mr. Golonski, former president and chief executive officer of National City Bank of Pennsylvania. "We were young, and when you're young and get married, you either don't last or you hang on so tight that you just grow together."

Ms. Golonski, 76, of Marshall, died Sunday. For the past eight years, she had Alzheimer's disease, which became more debilitating during the past four years.

Mr. Golonski described his wife as a "true partner" who found roles at his various workplaces. When he was chairman of the board of trustees of Point Park University, she chaired the Starmakers Gala, one of the university's largest fundraisers. And when he served as chairman of hospital boards, she became chairwoman of the hospital auxiliaries at Oil City Hospital and Northwest Health Systems.

As chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery's annual POWER Promises fundraiser, Ms. Golonski helped raise more than $150,000 annually for the organization.

In her work, Ms. Golonski was always willing to put in extra time and was known for treating everyone, from janitors and parking lot attendants to bureaucrats and businesspeople, with the same respect.

"No matter what she did, she taught us all how to do it even better," said Angela Longo, who worked with Ms. …

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