John T. Senka

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.

14 Responses to “John T. Senka”

  1. Angella McFall says:

    John Senka was such a wonderful person. My heart is very heavy after hearing of his passing. I worked for John along with some wonderful women for a year. It was a great place to work! He was so generous. When he would go out and about he would typically come back with some sort of treat for “his girls”. Ice cream, cannoli’s, sandwiches from Arby’s.. you name it! We always got spoiled on holidays too. When he hired me, I had absolutely no experience in Insurance. He knew I was desperate to get out of an awful job, and he gave me a chance. Circumstances changed for me and I had to leave after a year, but I could have worked there forever. My deepest sympathies to Sandy, Debbie, Johnny and Jeff. I am so sorry for your loss.

  2. Ron and Jane sprague says:

    we were blessed to have John and Sandy (my best friend from grade school) in our lives. We are and will be missing him. Our hearts are sad. We love and pray for all his family

  3. Bob Ardner says:

    I too was wounded during the same battle as John. In fact I was the medic who was in the bunker treating the wounded when the grenade attack occurred. For many years, I thought I was the only survivir of that terrible night. Then, through an online search, I met John and learned that he too had survived the same attack. My wife and I traveled to NY and met John and Sandy. During dinner, John gave me time to find expressions for my feelings. Even though we only met John once, I consider him a dear friend.

    From a fellow Mole Manchu, Rest in Peace, brother, you’ve earned it.

  4. Michael Minichiello says:

    Mrs. Senka, Deb, John and Jeff,

    I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband, and father. I always admired Mr. Senka. He was easy to be around, and you could always sense he truly cared. When talking to him, I always felt comfortable and better about myself. I’m certain he had that effect in a lot of people. He really left an incredible legacy and will be missed.

    My thoughts and Prayers,

    Michael Minichiello

  5. Lin Rosell says:

    John was a very nice man who helped me in insurance. I enjoyed our weekly lunches we had together during class. You will be missed.

  6. Dave Conrad says:

    I have been away from the area for a long time. But I remember John very well. We were Lions Club members together and I bought my first life insurance policy from him and I still have it. I remember John as a true professional and gentleman. My condolences to John’s family and may he rest in peace.

  7. Tracey Pierce Pratt says:

    Mrs. Senka, Deb, John and Jeff,

    I am so sad to hear of Mr. Senka’s passing. He was a wonderful man and welcomed me into your home like another daughter! I have very fond memories of him! I am praying for you all and sending you many healing thoughts and hugs….wishing I could be there with you during this extremely tough time.


  8. Michele Wolcott-Lovell says:

    My mother worked for John for several years, and the close friendships that she developed while working there continue to today. John created a work environment that made everyone feel like family. My heart goes out to his entire family. I hope that you all find peace during this very difficult time.

  9. Beverly Hubric says:

    My first acquaintance with John was when he was about 10. He’d come into my Dad’s store (Cy’s) when I was working and bought nickel candy. John was a few grades behind me at Arkport Central so I never had the opportunity to get to know him. He was a dear friend of my late husband, John, who he called Bud. John was one of our ushers in our wedding in 1967 and visited us often at Ft Campbell, Ky where Bud was serving his military commitment. When John returned from his tour of duty, he brought a lovely lady into the mix ….. Sandy. Bud returned the favor and was one of their users in 1969. We lost contact for several years while profession and child raring took precedent. John broke the silence and out of the blue, called us in Florida renewing the old friendship. We’d visit each other often and once vacationed in St Martens together. When Bud passed in 1996, John was the first to arrive from the North and he and another dear childhood friend, Chuck Schwartz gave eulogies. John, Sandy and I kept in contact and had several conversations about the Bible discussing our relationships with God and Jesus. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind where John is today. One thing John said to me close to the end was that he was anticipating being reunited with his old friend Bud!

    Sandy, Debbie, John and Jeff …….. Just know that my prayers will be with you all when you begin this new journey of grief. I regret not being there on Monday or Tuesday but I’ll be there in spirit.

    Love to you ……. Beverly Hubric

  10. Fr. Charles T. Manning says:

    I just learned of John’s passing today (Saturday) from Fr. Paul Bonacci.
    It came as a surprise as John and I are close in age. My prayers go out to Sandy and her children and the rest of his family
    I first met John and Sandy at the summer chapel of the Loon Lake Church where I served as Pastor. John eventually served on the church board.
    I visited the farm and celebrated a Baptism there for one one of his grandchildren. It was a wonderful and spiritual experience for the family and their friends. I won’t forget it.
    There was much I didn’t know about John until I read his obituary. That makes me feel honored to have earned his friendship and having him share his home and beautiful family with me.
    John has earned his home in heaven with all the good things he did here on earth. Be assured that he will remain alive in our hearts and pray for our well being until we meet again in the heavenly Kingdom.

  11. Janko Trenkoski says:

    John is the father of one of my best friends and a brother-Johnny. I have known John since the summer of 1995. Over the years, I feel that I have learned much of life’s wisdom from his fatherly advice. I was blessed to see, spend time, even staying with him and Sandy over the last few years. He was a dynamo. Always working on something, taking care of family, friends, vets, insurance and much/many more.
    This premature event is a shock to me. And I am honored to have known him. He loved to say something to me in Slovak. I cherish that very much. He is an American hero, with a Slavic heart. My condolences to Sandy, John, Debbie and Jeff.

    Odpočívaj v pokoji!

  12. Jose Olea says:

    As a friend, I would like to send a heartfelt feeling of loss and sympathy to John’s wife Sandy, his children and all of his family.
    John and I served together in the same platoon in Viet Nam. We shared many memories and experiences including the night he was grievously wounded. I respect John for all he endured and for all he accomplished during his life.

    Rest in Peace……..Jose Olea

  13. Shawn D. Hogan says:

    My sincerest sympathy to Sandy and the entire Senka family. I have known John my entire life, since High School, John was older then me but he had a tremendous positive influence on me, such a kind, compassionate caring individual, full of hope and love. I had and have so much admiration for him, our paths did not cross nearly enough. May you be in heaven on Angels Wings, rest in peace my friend.

    Shawn D. Hogan
    City of Hornell, New York

  14. Linn (Linnell) Trimbell says:

    Sandy and the Senka Family: I was sad to learn of John’s passing. We met when we began attending S.U.N.Y. Alfred, as young men. I remember John as a “good guy” with solid values, He was a very serious guy with a dry sense of humor. Little did we know what was ahead of us. We reconnected through another mutual Alfred friend, later in life. God Bless a good man who gave all his best that he could.