Michael John Onderko (Mike)
April 18, 1968 –
May 27, 2021
Michael John Onderko died on May 27, 2021 in Kansas City Hospice House (MO), following a long illness.
He was born on April 18, 1968 in Erie, Pennsylvania, to his parents John E. Onderko Jr. and Sandra Lee (Parker) Onderko. He attended Harborcreek Elementary School and in 1986 graduated from McDowell High School in Millcreek Township, Pennsylvania.
He obtained several degrees: a bachelor’s degree in special education from Indiana University in Pennsylvania; a master’s degree in education from Fredonia State University in New York; a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of South Carolina, Columbia SC; and a Doctorate (ABD) in Educational Administration from Capella University.
Using his formal education, gentle nature and willingness to give, he gave a lot to the communities and people he served. He began his career as a special education teacher at the Dr. Gertrude A. Barber Center in Erie. He affectionately called himself “Mr. O”. by the special needs children he taught and cared for in Dunkirk NY school districts; Louisville, Kentucky; Florence SC; Conway SC; Phoenix AZ; Bakersfield CA; California of Monterey; Greenfield CA; Leavenworth KS; and Laurent KS. In these school districts, he held educational and administrative positions, including: teacher in special education, program coordinator, director of special education, regional director of special education, director of alternative education and services to students and deputy director.
In his youth, he was an avid racquetball player participating in many tournaments when he lived in the Erie, Pennsylvania area. He was an Erie, a regional champion and a nationally ranked racquetball champion. Later in his life he got involved in community sports like softball and volleyball. Mike loved spending time with his family and friends, delighting everyone with his humor and love of board games. Mike loved his three dogs the most who were his closest companions, Dot, Finn and LB. He loved to cook (and eat) and was a staunch follower of the “Food Network”. He also loved renovating his home, doing serious ceramic tile projects. He loved to gamble and loved to take trips to Las Vegas. When he was young he fished with his grandfather in Pymatuning Lake and with friends in Lake Erie. He wanted to come home and fish in Lake Erie again.
He is survived by his parents and his sister Carrie Onderko; brother Nathan Onderko, niece Isabella Onderko; two half-brothers Erik Balodis, Alan Balodis; and two stepmothers, Ann Onderko and Angela Onderko.
Funeral arrangements will be private. A private memorial will be held by the family along the shores of Lake Erie. Memorial donations in memory of Michael can be made to Kansas City Hospice House, 12000 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO 64145, or to a local hospice organization; or any animal rescue organization.
Published on June 4, 2021