Wayland / Hornell-John T. Senka, 68, of 2282 County Route 50, Wayland, NY (Town of Dansville) died Monday morning (July 13, 2015) at his home, following a brief illness.
Born in Weehawken, NJ on July 12, 1947 and was the son of John & Julia (Jurkovic) Senka. He was raised in Arkport when his widowed mother married his stepfather, Joseph Katsur.
He was a graduate of Arkport Central School (class of 1965). He attended Alfred State College where he met the love of his life, Sandy Nikl.
John served in the US Army Infantry from 1967-1969, including a combat tour of duty in South Vietnam. He received numerous decorations — among them the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Army Commendation for Valor Medal. He was severely wounded in December of 1968.
Following his Honorable Discharge, he returned home to marry his college sweetheart, Sandy. They married on November 15, 1969 in Endwell, NY.
John began his career in the insurance business in 1969 as a debit agent with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. He became manager of the Dansville, NY office. Throughout the years he helped many young men and women get started in insurance careers.
In 1983, he and his family moved to Montour Falls, NY where he became a Principal/President of the Senka agency. John loved the insurance business — especially helping families at the time of a loss. He taught insurance classes for many years at Corning Community College in an effort to help young people and to “give back” to the insurance industry.
John’s greatest love and proudest achievement was his family — his wife, Sandy and his children, Debbie, Johnny and Jeff along with their spouses and his grandchildren.
He and Sandy developed “Oak Tree Farm” throughout their marriage and spent weekends mowing the meadows and enjoying nature. In 2004, John authored the book “Wounded Body-Healing Spirit” which dealt with his combat experiences as well as his struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Clinical Depression. It was an unselfish endeavor to help others. He truly enjoyed helping veterans at the Bath VA Hospital and would often supply them with some of the things that they needed — sometimes as simple as a suitcase in which to carry their clothing.
John was a spiritual man who believed strongly in God and cherished his personal relationship with Him. He was a member of many service and fraternal groups, including the VFW, American Legion, DAV, Moose and Lions. He served on many boards, including Livingston Mutual Insurance Company, Schuyler County Chamber and St. Joseph’s School Board. In 2012, John was the recipient of the Watkins Glen chamber of Commerce’s Prestigious Catholic Award. He was a Roman Catholic.
Surviving are his wife, Sandy; sons, Johnny (Carola) Senka of Arkport and Jeff Senka of Odessa, NY; his daughter, Debbie (Don) Ames of Montour Falls, NY; his sister, Jean (Mike) Howe of Bloomfield, NY; his brothers, Joe (Kim) Katsur of Wayland and Bob (Bonita) Katsur of Wasilla, AK; his grandchildren, Grace Ames, Everett Ames, Ava Senka and Johnny Senka; many nieces, nephews and valued friends.
The family of John T. Senka will receive friends on Monday from 3:00 PM until 7:00 PM at the Dagon Funeral Home, 38 Church St., Hornell, NY. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday at 11:00 AM at St. Ann’s Church in Hornell, NY. Burial with full military honors will follow at the Bath VA Cemetery, Bath, NY at 1:00 PM.
John’s life was, in many ways, about service. He used his time, resources and faith to serve those in need. He would love to inspire others to be of service and make a difference in the life of a family member, friend or stranger, a person, a fellow human being. So, we ask that, in lieu of flowers, you decide where you can best serve the needs of others and do that in honor of John’s spirit of concern and generosity.
In honor of John’s military service, the American Flag at the Dagon Funeral Home will be flown at half-staff.
To leave an online condolence or share a memory, visit www.dagonfuneralhome.com