HARPSWELL — Emile Joseph Chonko, 81, of Harpswell, died peacefully on Aug. 8 at his home, surrounded by his family.

Chonko was born Jan. 14, 1933, to Slovak immigrants Suzie and John Chonko, of Topsham. A graduate of Lisbon High School, he went on to become actively involved in the community, serving on the Topsham Board of Selectmen and as a School Board member of School Administrative District 75.

Before retiring, he worked for Pejepscot Paper Co. for 38 years and for Statler Tissue, in Augusta, for four years.

In June, Chonko celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife, Joan, family and friends. He was a dedicated husband and family man, and a devout Catholic who was very involved in his church, giving of his time as a member of the parish council.

Chonko loved the outdoors. He was an avid gardener and was recognized for his knowledge of the woods. He spent many leisure hours cutting and splitting wood, searching for Christmas trees, and picking mushrooms and blueberries. He also was a sports enthusiast who loved golf, sailing and the Red Sox.

Chonko had a dry sense of humor, was hard-working and determined, and made family and friends his first priority. He was always willing to extend a helping hand to those in need.

He is survived by his wife, Joan Chonko; a daughter, Cheryl, and husband, William Card, of Harpswell; and a son, Michael, and wife, Kimberly Chonko, of Topsham. Survivors also include grandchildren Ashley and Matthew Card and Nicholas and Benjamin Chonko; sisters Mary Aderhold and Dorothy Cardali; and brothers John and Mike Chonko.

In his memory, donations may be made to CHANS Home Health Hospice or to the Maine Cancer Foundation.

Visiting hours were held Aug. 12, with a Mass of Christian burial the next morning at St. Katharine Drexel Church, in Harpswell.

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