ROBBINSDALE, Minn. — Paul Peter Szydlik, 83, died Friday, April 7, 2017, at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale, Minn., following a brief illness. Paul was a lifelong learner, a creative thinker and problem solver who was forever interested in God's creation of an orderly and amazing universe. Born and raised in Duryea, Paul spent a long career as a physics professor at SUNY Plattsburgh before retiring to Minnesota to be closer to his children. He was the first of his family to earn a college degree, graduating from the University of Scranton, where he majored in physics. He continued his study of physics, earning a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. from Catholic University in 1962. While at Catholic University, he met his beloved wife, Mary (nee Stauss). They were married on July 7, 1962. Paul put his degrees to good use at General Electric and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory before settling in Plattsburgh with his family. He was instrumental in establishing the computer science department at SUNY Plattsburgh and he built one of the first computers used in the physics department. Paul spent many summers learning and experimenting at national laboratories including NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Naval Ocean Systems Center, Brookhaven National Laboratory and the United States Air Force. Paul loved the outdoors, especially hiking in the Adirondack Mountains and camping with his family. He loved to travel and was dedicated to sharing the world's wonders with his wife, children and grandchildren. In his later years, he took great joy in his family, especially his many grandchildren. He was an avid reader of history and he enjoyed classical music and birdwatching; on the other hand, he found left turns, grey squirrels and bathroom tiles particularly nettlesome. He lived a life of charity and was an active parishioner at Holy Rosary Church in Duryea, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Plattsburgh and at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Robbinsdale. Paul was preceded in death by his parents, Helen (Madrak) Szydlik and Paul Alexander Szydlik; and by his sisters, Victoria and Alfreda. He leaves his wife of 54 years, Mary (Stauss) Szydlik; daughters, Catherine (Thomas) Johnson, of Sunfish Lake, Minn., Clare (Thomas) Whitten, of Evansville, Wis., and Anne (John) Maloney, of St. Anthony, Minn.; sons, James (Elizabeth) Szydlik, of Midland Park, N.J., Stephen (Jennifer) Szydlik, of Oshkosh, Wis., and Father Thomas Szydlik, of Nauvoo, Ill.; and grandchildren, Nicholas, Samuel and Monica Johnson, Margaret and Theresa Szydlik, Joseph and Benjamin Szydlik, Thomas, Max and Marcella Whitten and Michael, Catherine, Lucy, Gregory, Rita, Richard and Margaret Maloney. A funeral Mass was held on April 11, 2017, in Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Robbinsdale, with burial at Gethsemane Cemetery in New Hope, Minn. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to FOCUS, Food for the Poor, Saints Peter and Paul School (Nauvoo, Ill.), Holy Rosary School (Duryea) or Sacred Heart School (Robbinsdale, Minn.).
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