Kaniewski Funeral Home – South Bend
Ralph Anthony Pieniazkiewicz SR., 84 of South Bend died Monday July 11, 2022. He was born February 8, 1938 in South Bend to Peter and Evelyn (Laskowski) Pieniazkiewicz.
Ralph graduated from Washington High School in 1956. He played football, baseball and basketball. He was captain of the baseball team and co-captain of the football team. He performed in Senior Play and sang at Glee Club. He represented Washington High School as a Junior Rotarian in his senior year. Ralph was also the senior class president. In 2017, he was inducted into the Washington High School Football Hall of Fame. One of his achievements of which he is most proud!
Ralph graduated from Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky with a Masters in Education. He played football as a starter for 3 years. He was also a graduate assistant and football coach for a year. He was a proud member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. While in Murray, Ralph met the love of his life, Judith (Wiktor) Pieniazkiewicz. They were married on June 15, 1963, in the Cathedral of the Holy Angels, Gary, Indiana.
He was predeceased by Judith with her parents and her brother, Robert Pieniazkiewicz. Ralph is survived by his daughter, Valerie (Joe) Minder and son Ralph (Beth) Pieniazkiewicz Jr., both of South Bend. Seven grandchildren; Karlie, Gracie and Trevor Teumac, Morgan Minder, Lillian, Lauren and Peter Pieniazkiewicz. One sister, Margaret (Bruce) Nurton of Edwardsburg, Michigan.
Ralph began his teaching career and coached football, basketball and baseball at North Knox High School in Bicknell, Indiana from 1963 to 1965.
In 1965, Ralph returned to his beloved hometown of South Bend to teach industrial arts at Riley High School. He was an assistant high school football coach from 1965 to 1975 and a baseball head coach for 22 years. He also taught health and physical education. He was well known as Coach “P” or Mr. “P”. He touched so many lives as a mentor, role model and friend. Ralph was chosen to coach the North-South High School All Star game in 1998. He was also twice awarded the Who’s Who of American Teachers. After retiring from teaching in 1998, Ralph continued to help young people in South Bend serving on the South Bend Community School Board for 12 years. During the summers, Ralph painted businesses and homes. He was pretty good at putting together color schemes. Ralph, a very hard worker, after teaching all day worked night shifts unloading trucks as a second job on the Preston and Tucker freight lines. He was also a bartender at the first Barnaby’s when they opened in 1969.
He was an excellent teacher, not only for his students, but also for his family! An example of what a husband, father, grandfather and friend should be. A blessing for his family!
Ralph was a member of St. Jude’s Catholic Church where he served as an usher for many years. He was also a member of Council 553 and Council 5521 of the Knights of Columbus.
Ralph liked to fish. Cast a line every chance he gets in local lakes and ponds in Indiana and Michigan. He enjoyed fishing trips to Lake Kentucky and Lake Erie with his brother-in-law John Wiktor and his good friends Mike Mondovics and Al Horvath. He was known for his famous fried fish and often sported a red bandana while frying fish for his friends and family.
A great “Storyteller” of all the best moments of his life… there were many! His family loved to hear him tell the stories over and over again and he always had a joke to make people laugh.
Ralph was a huge New York Yankees fan and adored Peyton Manning. He was patriotic, loved the American eagle and was proud to be American!
Above all, Ralph loved watching and supporting his children and grandchildren in all of their events! He was proud of his family and especially loved family dinners at his house.
Our “Big Fish” escaped this time, but we know the Lake in Heaven is now Grander! He was loved and will be missed by all who knew him!!
A Parish Rosary will be prayed at 4:30 p.m. Friday, July 15, 2022, followed by a visitation until 8:30 p.m. at Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Drive, South Bend, IN.
A Christian Burial Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 16, 2022 at St. Jude Catholic Church, 19704 Johnson Road, South Bend, IN, where friends and family may visit one hour before Mass. Interment will follow at Southlawn Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the South Bend Education Foundation, South Bend Community School Corporation Building, 215 S St Joseph St, South Bend, IN 46601.
To send your condolences online, please visit www.kaniewski.com.
Posted July 13, 2022
Posted in South Bend Tribune
Christian burial mass
St. Jude’s Catholic Church 19704 Johnson Road South Bend, IN
July 16, 2022 at 10:00 AM