Coach Julius Prezelski, 94, a resident of Forest City, passed away peacefully on February 11, 2021. His wife, the late Mary Markel, preceded him in death on March 26, 2008.
Born December 13, 1926, and raised in Forest City, son of the late Frank and Pauline Kulikowski Prezelski, Julius was the youngest of 16 children. He was a 1945 graduate of Forest City High School where he played football and basketball. Julius joined the US Navy in his senior year and is a veteran of WWll. While in the US Navy he continued his love of sports, playing in the 7th Fleet USS Los Angeles flagship basketball and baseball teams. While stationed in the Pacific he officiated basketball games for the China Relief Fund of the Hong Kong YMCA and was presented with a service medal for his volunteerism.
Julius Prezelski was honorably discharged in 1946 and entered Lock Haven University where he earned a BS in Health Education and Social Studies in 1950. While at college, he played football, baseball and basketball.
Graduating from college, he took his first teaching job at Waymart High School coaching soccer, basketball and baseball. He established himself as a hard task master and strategist while winning boys and girls team championships. Following Waymart, he landed in Delaware Valley and in four years, built programs that would compete with larger New York and New Jersey high school teams. Moving closer to home, Julius took a position at Mt. View High School where he coached track and basketball and won a county track championship and competed for basketball league championships.
Julius returned to his hometown of Forest City in 1958, where he established a legendary mark in regional sports. In addition to coaching high school, he was a president of the local PSEA, founding member of the Northeast Athletic Conference and long-term member of the District 12 PIAA Athletic Committee. He was also a registered PIAA basketball and baseball official for over 20 years. Julius and his teams received numerous awards during his career. Most notable is the setting of the North League record of undefeated seasons in basketball for 5 years (82-0) and in 1993 becoming Pennsylvania’s most winning basketball coach with 757 wins and 282 losses. In 1991 he was PA (A) Coach of the year, received the Lock Haven Alumni award and PA State Athletic Director’s Award. He ended his coaching career on a high note, winning the 1993 McDonalds’s All-American Game. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and the Wayne Area Sports Hall of Fame. Julius will be remembered for instilling worthwhile attitudes and the will to win in his athletes.
Julius was an active member of the Sacred Heart Church and a past officer of the Holy Name Society. He was very proud of his Polish heritage. He served as the Chairperson for the Danny Thomas Drive for Crippled Children. In 1986 he received the Distinguished Citizen Award from Forest City. Julius was a loving husband, father and grandfather.
He is survived by his four children, Denise and husband Marty O’Neill, Arnold, MD; Janis and husband Michael Vollkommer, Johns Creek, GA; Julius Prezelski and wife Amy, Mt. Airy, MD; and Paul Prezelski and wife Lisa, Warrington, PA; 11 grandchildren, Jack, Liam and Lily O’Neill; Dana, Matthew and Luke Vollkommer; Juliana and Leya Prezelski; Taylor, Brady and Cole Prezelski; and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staff of Glenmaura Senior Living for all the compassionate care he received from them during his residency.
A memorial celebration will be delayed due to the pandemic, and will be held Friday, May 21, 2021 from 4 to 7 PM at the Kevin M. Lesjack Funeral Home 513 Main Street, Forest City, followed by mass on Saturday, May 22 at Ascension Parish 612 Hudson Street, Forest City. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Julius’s name to the Forest City Regional High School Letterman’s Club, 100 Susquehanna Street, Forest City, PA 18421.
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