|Paul E. Obrochta, Jr. (Sonny)
After fighting a long battle of health issues, Paul E. Obrochta Jr (Sonny) passed away peacefully at home with his wife, Shirley (Baroody) Obrochta, by his side early Friday morning, November 22, 2019 at 66 years old. He was born on May 9, 1953 in Bath NY to Paul E. Obrochta Sr. and Mary A. (Coots) Obrochta. Sonny was raised on Knightsettlement Rd on his family’s farm.
Sonny and Shirley shared 47 years of marriage, married on January 8, 1972. Sonny is survived by his wife, his children and grandchildren: Scott (Lorrie) Obrochta of Bath, NY and their daughter Kylie Obrochta, Douglas (Jill) Obrochta of Cohocton, NY and their children Trevor, Ariana and Aidan Obrochta, Eric (Vanessa) Obrochta of Bath, NY and their children Gavin, Evan and Trinity Obrochta, and his daughter Elizabeth (Derick) Nadjadi of Avoca, NY and their children Kendal and Jax Nadjadi.
He is survived by his two sisters Barbara (Steve) Strzpek of Ormond Beach, FL and Lori (Tim dec.) Fuller of Bath, NY and many nieces and nephews. Sonny is also survived by his close friends, John Schumaker of Cohocton, NY, Dave Hall of Cohocton, NY, Roy Shiloh of Howard, NY and his cousin and good friend Richard Hargraves of Bath, NY. Sonny was predeceased by his father Paul Obrochta Sr. and brother-in-law Tim Fuller.
Sonny attended and graduated from Haverling High School, Bath NY. Over his lifetime he was involved in many different organizations like the Avoca Fire Department, the Avoca Free Masons, the Champagne Whirl-A-Ways square dance club, and Murphy’s Bowling leagues.
For 35 years, Sonny owned and operated Sonny’s Service auto and truck repair in Avoca, NY. He and Shirley started out in a small two bay garage on Main St in Avoca in 1981. Within 6 years the business had grown and expanded with addition of a large truck bay. He then added the heavy duty wrecker service and was the only one in the area to do so at that time. In 1997 they built the new shop and moved their business to County Rt 70A in Avoca. His hard work and dedication to perfection had paid off.
Over the years Sonny touched the lives of so many people. Customers, neighbors, friends and family all share stories of how Sonny had helped them at one time or another. From rescuing them from ditches in the middle of the night or just answering their questions when a mechanical issue had them stumped. Sonny was not only truly gifted with endless mechanical knowledge but most importantly he was caring and compassionate too. Newcomers share how his kindness made them feel welcome to the area. He did not judge or discriminate. He offered a helping hand and was always there when anyone was in need.
Through 35 years of business, Sonny also had many employees, who still to this day appreciate all that they had learned from him. “I’ll never forget what Sonny taught me.” Sonny wasn’t always the easiest to work with as he always had a certain way of doing things. But, if you were fortunate to have learned from him, or to have worked alongside Sonny, you know how truly invaluable that time and information is.
In 2013, life as a business owner came to an abrupt halt for Sonny when he was diagnosed with stage three multiple myeloma cancer. Those who knew Sonny, know how difficult it was for him to step away from the shop and leave the life he had always known, but his health was a priority. All 3 sons have successfully carried on Sonny’s legacy and life passion in their own businesses. His determination, drive, work ethics and care for others are evident in all his children. Sonny was very proud of the accomplishments of his children and because of them his legacy will live on.
Scott and his wife own and operate Scott’s Tire and Repair on Windfall Rd, Bath, NY, where he specializes in farm equipment repair, and tire sales. Doug and his wife own and operate Sonny’s Service on County Route 70A in Avoca, NY where he specializes in tractor trailer repair. Eric and his wife own and operate South Main Auto in Avoca, NY where he specializes in all automotive and truck repairs. Elizabeth and her husband chose to follow in Sonny’s footsteps as a business owner by opening their gym Project Iron in Kanona, NY.
After a brief retirement, Sonny returned to the life he knew so well. As a mechanic on John Schumacker’s farm in Wayland, NY, Sonny serviced and maintained all of the farm’s trucks and farm equipment. He took great pride in diagnosing and repairing equipment. He also found comfort and happiness being back on a farm.
Despite being faced with constant medical challenges, Sonny was a fighter and didn’t give up. He continued to work, despite the risks and his wavering physical health and strength. Sonny loved to work and continued to do so. To say he was a “workaholic” would be an understatement. He fought courageously to the end of his life, astounding his doctors with his strength and resiliency to live, and amazing him with the unique health situations he was always able to overcome. He refused to let sickness keep him down or define the rest of his life. Despite a leaky heart valve, an aortic aneurism, open heart surgery, multiple myeloma, another open heart surgery, countless infections, Sonny continued to live, to thrive, to teach and to help others. Sonny lived his life he did not live his cancer.
Sonny will be missed by many. The knowledge and skills he took with him is more than anyone will ever know. His wife says “he was truly the strongest man I ever knew.”
The Avoca Funeral Home, 22 N. Main St., Avoca is honored to serve the family of Paul E. “Sonny” Obrochta Jr.
Please join Sonny’s family in celebrating his life.
Calling Hours: Friday, December 6, 2019 from 4:00pm – 7:00pm at the Avoca United Methodist Church
Celebration of Life: Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 11:00 AM at the Avoca United Methodist Church
Burial & Luncheon immediately following at the Avoca United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flower donations can be made in honor of Paul E. Obrochta to:
Wilmont Cancer Institute, Blood Cancer/Multiple Myeloma, 300 E. River Rd., Box 278996
Rochester, NY 14627.
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