Remembering the life of Ed Mihalcak 1954 – 2020

Ed Mihalcak, 65, of Countryside Convalescent Home, Mercer, formerly of Shenango Township, passed away Sunday, May 17, 2020, after a courageous fight with cancer.
He was born Sept. 22, 1954 in Sharon to the late Edward and Mary Ann Stefanak Mihalcak. Ed graduated in 1972 from West Middlesex High School and was of the Roman Catholic faith.
He will always be remembered by friends and family as “Uncle Ed.”
Ed was a man with many skills, hobbies and passions. From his early days, he enjoyed helping his cousins and uncles on the Stefanak family farm, just a short walk up the hill from his parents’ house. Some of his favorite chores at the farm were splitting firewood with his cousins, plowing perfectly straight fields for uncles Matt and Lou, and chasing crows away from the corn crib. There also was a chance encounter with a runaway pickup truck loaded down with hay, which Ed steered to a stop after the truck’s brakes went out.
This may have led him to his next hobby – fast cars. As Ed entered his late teens, cars, and more specifically, fast cars, grabbed his attention. He because a fierce competitor on the local drag racing scene, and his ’67 Camaro left quite a few trails of rubber on East State Street.
He began to spend a lot of time with his drag-racing buddies and hanging out at Quinn Performance in Farrell. He eventually ran a few years on the AHRA drag racing circuit in his custom ’71 Monza.
With his drag racing days behind him, Ed still had a passion for the racetrack, so he got involved in local Sprint Car racing. Anyone who knew Ed would surely recall that he never went half-hearted into an adventure. So, after a few years, Ed’s garage became the center of a high-performance Sprint Car team and side business of plumbing, fuel, and brake hose and fitting systems.
They were racing Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, and hitting every All-Star and World of Outlaws show in a two-hour radius. It was during his early Sprint Car days that he met the love of his life, Tammy White. Tammy joined the racing team and was at Ed’s side ever since.
In the early 2000s, Ed’s involvement in Sprint Car racing came to an end, and so began his next hobby – fishing. After spending 52 consecutive weekends on the trout streams of Pennsylvania, he decided it was time to get a boat. He spent many weekends on the state’s waters with rod and reel in hand, and a few nephews and nieces in tow. When Ed and Tammy were not in the boat, they could often be found touring the forests of Pennsylvania on his Harley-Davidson.
With his fishing career slowing down and his Harley sold, Ed found his next passion, trapshooting. Ed joined the Hidden Valley Sportsmen’s Club in Shenango Township, where he quickly became involved in the maintenance and range repair committee. He met a great group of friends there and restarted trap shooting at the club.
He retired from work during this time and so devoted many hours to fixing things up at the club, and shooting the bull with the other members and officers, eventually becoming treasurer.
In his work life, Ed was a proud pipefitter for Local #449. He began his apprenticeship with family-owned Stefanak & Sons, where his uncles, cousins and father all taught him the trade. When the family business closed, he went on to work for A&B Mechanical in New Castle. Ed ended his career at Renick Bros. in Slippery Rock, where he transitioned from foreman to project manager.
Along with his retirement plans of fishing, sightseeing and trap shooting, Ed converted his old racing shop to a state-of-the-art hobbyist machine shop. Here, he taught himself CNC machining and plasma cutting, along with detailed CAD drawings to make his parts, all with skills he taught himself in retirement.
When Ed was leaving family gatherings, he would always say he was, “heading to the Lube or Golden Bear for a bucket of wings and pitcher of beer” – a tribute to his younger years.
Ed lived his life to the fullest, filling his days with hobbies and spending time with family. He always had a passion for nature and animals, and always dreamed of settling on a quiet country farm at the end of a long dirt road. Hopefully, we can all get as much out of life as he did, and everyone who knew him has a few stories to preserve the memory of Uncle Ed.
He is survived by a brother, Daniel J. Mihalcak and wife Pam, of Pulaski; a sister, Rebecca and husband Larry Habarka of West Middlesex; his significant other, Tammy White; nieces and nephews, Jason and Jen Habarka, Joe and Liz Habarka, Dan and Emily Mihalcak and their son Camden, Marisa and Gary Kanaga, and Logan and Kenzie Mihalcak; and his beloved cats, Willow and Cheyenne.
In addition to his parents, Ed was preceded in death by a sister, Patricia Mihalcak.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family asks that any donations be made to a local food bank or animal shelter.

Ed, 65, of Mercer, formerly of Shenango Township.
Funeral services: Private. Arrangements by A.E. PUSTINGER FUNERAL HOME LTD., 1310 Idaho St., Farrell.
Burial: Haywood Cemetery, West Middlesex.

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