Michael Mazur, Jr. really never thought of himself as a philanthropist. Mike was a frugal man who
worked on the railroad as a maintenance foreman. He also owned a garage and sold used cars.
He credited his personal accomplishments to the greatness of the United States of America,
where, in his words, “a man can achieve the American Dream by having a focused goal, and the
willingness to do the hard work to achieve that goal.”
Michael and Anna Mazur, Michael’s parents emigrated from Ukraine through Ellis Island, eventually met
in Lilly, and dated for two weeks before deciding to marry. Their union lasted 65 years. Michael’s four
siblings, who grew up with him in a bicultural home, learned the value of hard work, strong beliefs, and
a love of patriotism. Of his siblings, he was the only one who remained in the area with a
ferocious loyalty to his hometown.
Over the years, Mike contributed his time, talent, and treasure to the Lilly-Washington Township
community. Mike’s philanthropy extended to family members, to the nation and beyond. Working
with the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, he established a scholarship fund for
graduates of Portage Area High School in memory of his wife Alice Kay McGivney Mazur, who
worked in the district as a second-grade teacher for more than 30 years. She and Mike had
been married for 49 years.
Mike later created three additional funds at CFA, a scholarship fund in memory of his sister,
Ann, for students at Penn Cambria and two designated endowments.
In addition to local causes, Mike contributed significantly to the Disabled Veterans, St. Jude and
Shriner’s Hospitals, the Smile Foundation for children with cleft palates, and to Doctors Without
Borders. As a woodworking hobbyist, Mike constructed picnic tables, benches, and sundry
cabinets, for his church. To honor his parents, Mike orchestrated the installation of a memorial bell
tower at the Lilly-Washington Memorial Park. The bell tower also serves as a memorial to veterans past
In early 2019, Mike approached his friend Ron Muldoon about the possibility of building a
community center. He offered to finance and design the project. “Mike had a strong mind and ideas
– he could be difficult at times,” said Muldoon. “He literally scratched out the design on an 8 ½ by 11
sheet of paper, handed it to me and said ‘this is what I want’”. Ron went on to describe Mike as
bullheaded and frugal, but his heart was in the right place, and if he felt it was worthwhile for the
community, he would make the financial commitment to make it happen.
Planning for the community center started in Fall 2019. A section of property was donated by St. Luke’s
Lutheran Church in Lilly, which fulfilled the mission of building the community center in the area of the
war memorial where the bell tower and other monuments exist. In a joint effort, Washington Township
and Lilly Borough personnel cleared the land and developed the site for the water and sewage
Sadly, in November of 2019 Mike passed away. His brother John graciously wanted to keep Mike’s
vision alive and said that he would continue the financial support as well as providing input on the
design of the Community Center, and asked if Ron would continue with his support of the project.
The project was finally starting to move in the right direction, then the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the
project was delayed. Once construction of the building resumed, one issue that required planning was
the need for volunteers to keep the building open.
Ron suggested to John that they invite the Lilly-Washington Public to become tenants, this way the
Community Center could remain open. Ron approached the Lilly Public Library with a proposition
–become a permanent tenant in the building to ensure that the facility was open at least five days per
week. The library agreed and that problem was solved.
Although John lived in Hawaii, he was very influential in all of the construction. Ron describes many
email and phone messages during the long-distance planning.
Unfortunately, neither Mike or John saw the final building when construction was complete in 2021. The
building now houses the library, historical displays, a meeting room, and an auditorium for art, aerobics,
yoga, and music classes. Ron explained that the educational programming continues to grow. In the last
six months the multi-purpose auditorium has housed baby showers, small banquets, and funeral
receptions. The latest addition is a meeting room that displays a 1940s style kitchen at John’s request.
He wanted visitors to understand what life was like in those years. The room includes a full replica
kitchen and historical artifacts.
“From the coal miners’ monument, the gazebo, the memorial bell tower, and of course the community
center, Mike’s vision became a reality. The center is a real jewel – a gift to the community,” continued
Muldoon. Mike and John would both be proud of the final product and its impact in our community.
“Giving back was so important to Mike,” said Katrina Perkosky, Director of Donor Services. “His
generosity of spirit continues to touch lives and will for years to come. It’s an honor to be able to keep
his legacy alive.”