Medical 05

Dr. Joseph E. Golonka

September 14, 1936 ~ August 29, 2020 (age 83)



Dr. Joseph Emil Golonka, 83, of Lake Luzerne, NY, passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 29, 2020 at the University of Vermont Medical Center, in Burlington, VT, following a long illness.

Joseph was born on September 14, 1936 in Troy, NY, the son of the late Emil and Agnes (Tworek) Golonka. He was a 1958 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, and a 1962 graduate of the State University of New York Medical Center, in Syracuse, NY. He served his internship at Albany Medical Center Hospital, and became a clinical professor at the Albany Medical College in 1968.  He started a long- standing private practice in Albany, NY as an Endocrinology and Internal Medicine specialist. Respected and loved by all of his patients and colleagues, he retired from private practice in 2002, but remained active in the medical field as a Research Fellow, U.S. Public Health Service Physician, Associate Chief of Medicine at St. Peters Hospital, Clinical Physician at the Capital District Psychiatric Center, and Medical Director for Blue Cross of New York. He and his wife coauthored the book Hospital Battlefield: A Field Manual for Survival, to help people become advocates for themselves and their family members in hospital settings.

He married the love of his life, Mary Lynne Pendergast, on June 25, 1960, recently celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. His greatest joy was spending his days with her and their Irish Setters, Jamie and Maddie, at their house on Lake Luzerne. He enjoyed many memorable moments with his six children, 19 grandchildren and 6 great- grandchildren, whom he delighted by slipping them money when his wife wasn’t looking. He was a lifelong fan of the NY Yankees and NY Giants, although they were a source of constant frustration.  He loved donuts, doing the daily Cryptoquip in the newspaper, reading novels, grumpily joking with his grandchildren that they should have gotten A+’s instead of just A’s, and working on home improvement projects with his son-in-law John (his “5th son”). He often told the story of when he was a very young child playing alone in front of his house. He ran out into the street in front of an oncoming car, and suddenly felt a strong angel grab him and pull him back to safety. He said that God must have had plans for him to live a long and full life, and his family is grateful that he did.

Joseph was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Anne. He is survived by his wife Lynne, his sister Carolyn Veshia of Port Charlotte, FL; his children: Maribeth (John) Twerdok of Pittsburgh, PA, Matthew Golonka of Annapolis, MD, Timothy (Penny) Golonka of Philadelphia, PA, Michael (Jennifer) Golonka of Wilmington, NC, Thomas (Cyndy) Golonka of Montpelier, VT, Christine Tyksinski of Shamong, NJ;  his grandchildren: Erin (Stephen) Ritchey, Dr. Sara (Michael) Wells, Amy (Theodore) Wilson, Julia Twerdok, Ryan (Stacey) Golonka, Justin Golonka, John (Pauline) Golonka, Joseph Golonka, Andrew Golonka, Nicholas Golonka, Lucas Golonka, Jeffrey Golonka, Grace Golonka, Chloe Golonka, Kelsey Golonka, Joshua Golonka, Gregory Golonka, Kenzie Golonka, Bridget Tyksinski;  his great-grandchildren: Evelyn Ritchey, William Ritchey, Adam Ritchey, Adrienne Ritchey, Logan Golonka, Nora Golonka; and many nieces and nephews.

In keeping with Joseph’s wishes, there are no calling hours or funeral services scheduled. A celebration of his life will take place at a later date. 


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