Southampton Village resident Michael Warchola died last week at the age of 94.
Warchola was born in Johnstown, Penn., on Nov. 16, 1918, and came of age during the Great Depression.
In a May 2011 interview with Patch, he said that when he was about 17 years old he joined the Merchant Marines. He served for 10 years and traveled throughout the world — too many countries to name, he said.
Warchola started out passing coal on the Great Lakes, according to his family, and by war's end he was a first assistant engineer. "Mike sailed the Seven Seas and saw so much, from shrunken heads on the Amazon River to the scuttling of the German Battleship Graf Spee in the Rio Plata in Uruguay," his family wrote. He rose through the ranks to become a lieutenant commander.
Later in life, he split his time between New York City and Southampton, and then in Southampton Village full time.
Warchola is predeceased by his wife, Norah whom he met at a dance while she served in the Womans Royal English Navy, plotting convoys in Greenock, Scotland. They married in 1943 and honeymooned in London. "They spent part of that short stay in the Underground ducking V-1 buzz bombs," the family wrote.
Warchola is also predeceased by a son, Michael, an FDNY lieutenant with Ladder Company 5, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11 just days away from retirement.
He is supervised by his son Dennis, who retired from the FDNY as a captain.
"Mike had a long interesting life, could fix anything, and will be missed by his family including his five grandchildren," his family wrote.
On Memorial Day 2011, Warchola was honored for his military service during a Southampton Village ceremony.
Visitation was Feb. 7 at O'Connell Funeral Home in Southampton Village. A remembrance service was held at the funeral home Feb. 8, followed by a private cremation.