Stephen Joseph Lalka

Lalka, Stephen Joseph, age 96, formerly of Atco and Hammonton, New Jersey, died on Friday, April 7, 2017, in Chatham, New York, surrounded by loving family. Born July 17, 1920, in Brehy, Slovakia, he was one of five sons of Anna (Slavka) and Kalman Lalka. He came to America at age 16 and lived and worked in New York City. He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 60 years, Anna (Selep) Lalka, son George Lalka, great granddaughter Eva Longo, and his four brothers. He resided in New York City, Brooklyn NY, Atco and Elm NJ, and in his later years, Chatham NY.

Stephen enlisted in the US Navy in 1943, using his critical skills as Aviation Metalsmith First Class in the production of Navy warships in New Jersey and California. He was a fighter pilot in training at the end of World War II. Following the War, Stephen earned a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from Fordham University in New York, with graduate education at the Graduate School at New York University Graduate School of Business. Stephen and Anna raised five beautiful children, and his most productive years came after moving to South Jersey in 1959. He used his skills and knowledge again in the shipbuilding industry working for New York Shipbuilding of Camden NJ, and the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. In mid-career and to retirement in 1988, he was employed as an auditor for the State of New Jersey assigned to Camden County.

He was proud of his Slovak and Catholic heritage, and loved his adopted country, the United States, which had given him many opportunities. In New Jersey, Stephen was a member of St. Joseph Church, Hammonton and Assumption Church in Atco, and the St. James Church in Chatham New York. Stephen loved gardening, mechanical work, and general tinkering and inventing. He gloried in his numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren and their accomplishments.

His memory lives on with his children, Stephen (Carol), Joseph (Teresa Ribadaneyra), Victoria Tauer (Charles), Nancy Longo (Jeff). His pride beamed in his 11 grandchildren: Carolyn (Dan) Waidelich, Brian (Marylee) Tauer, Linda Tauer Menne, Jeff (Kelly) Longo, Susan Lalka, Matthew (Laura) Longo, Kevin Longo, Emily (Ben) Almich, Michael (Emily) Lalka, Kelsey Lalka and Nicole Lalka, as well as 14 great-grandchildren, whom he called his "grand-grands".

He will be missed by many. Family and friends are invited to attend his viewing Wednesday, April 12, 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, at the Marinella Funeral Home, 102 N 3rd St., Hammonton NJ. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 2:00 PM at St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish - St. Joseph Church, 3rd and French Streets, Hammonton. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 124 S First Rd, Hammonton. Donations may be made to Joyful Noise Chorus, (http://www.joyfulnoisechorus.org/support_contribute.html ), Joyful Noise, 17 Springbrook Road, Morristown, NJ 07960; First Catholic Slovak Union - FCSU Scholarship Fund, 6611 Rockside Rd., Suite 300, Independence, OH 44131; or American Joint Care Foundation Van Fund at Whittier Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center, 1 Whittier Way, Ghent, NY 12075. www.marinellafuneralhome.com.