Memorial service for Old Greenwich pilot who once flew with Lindbergh
GREENWICH — Edward Wolak was born in Pennsylvania coal country, one of 13 children of Polish immigrants.
It was an inauspicious start, growing up in the Depression, but Wolak, a longtime Old Greenwich resident who died Tuesday, went far and wide in a long career in aviation.
Working with Pan American World Airways as a pilot, he once shared a cockpit with Charles Lindbergh on a voyage across the Pacific, according to his family. Wolak also met Marilyn Monroe while flying with Pan Am, and flew press corps flights for both President Gerald Ford and President Richard Nixon, his family said this week.
Wolak was born on Nov. 12, 1927, to Anna Pluta Wolak and Martin Wolak in Dupont, Pa. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1945 and served in the closing days of World War II in Virginia and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The retired pilot was also known locally for theatrical productions with the St. Catherine’s Players, performing in numerous musical plays staged at the St. Catherine of Siena Parish Hall. He also built sets for productions. Musically gifted, Wolak could play piano, guitar, saxophone, clarinet and harmonica, his family said.
His wife, Janice Swensen Wolak, predeceased him in 1984. Wolak is survived by four daughters and 10 grandchildren.
Services will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at Saint Catherine’s of Siena Church in Riverside.