On the afternoon of March 31, 2019, Stanley A. Polega died peacefully in his home, with his wife, Paula, his son, Birch, and his dogs, Laddie and Kate, by his bedside.
Stanley was preceded in death by his daughter, Sky, his brothers, Dick and Ralph, and his sister, Gloria. He is survived not only by his wife, Paula, and his son, Birch, but also by his sisters, Adaline, Dee, Vivian, Marian, Charlene, and by his brother, Martin.
Stanley was born May 11, 1926, in Niles, Michigan, the son of Clara Isabelle Ochap Polega and Stanley H. Polega. He was raised during the Depression in a farming family of ten children, all of whom were expected to help with the work on the farm. By the age of seven, Stanley was already plowing the fields with a span of three work horses. At the age of twelve, he was required to leave home and school to earn money for his family.
Years later, after military service in WWII and work on the railway, Stanley worked with heavy equipment and on construction. He was a superintendent with Place Construction Company in Niles, Michigan, and later owned a concrete construction company with his brother, Ralph Polega.
In 1975 Stanley moved from Michigan to Henderson County, NC, and married Paula Steichen. Early in their marriage he worked full-time for various construction companies, and still spent every free hour working to create the home where he and Paula were to live for the next 44 years and raise their daughter, Sky, and their son, Birch. Stanley cleared the land for their farm, built their home, garage, greenhouse, barns and out-buildings. Throughout his lifetime, he was known for his self-reliance, strength, tireless work ethic, and his ability to solve just about any problem, generally with the help of his 1953 Ford tractor.
After the age of sixty-five, Stanley started his own company in Hendersonville, Polega Concrete Construction, and was the first person in Western NC to offer concrete forming of building foundations, as an alternative to cinder-block construction. Even into his eighties, Stanley was still pouring some foundations, and loading and un-loading his truck of the seventy-five pound concrete forms.
While hard work and an independent spirit were at the core of Stanley’s personality, he was also known for his generosity, his appreciation of friendship, and his enormous love of nature. His gardens always flourished, and he gave away his flowers, pumpkins, potatoes, beans and other produce readily to anyone who wanted or needed them. He formed strong bonds with friends and family and even into his nineties he kept in close touch with people he had known throughout his life.
Stanley will be dearly and deeply missed by those who loved him, but he will be forever remembered for his attention to each sunrise and each sunset, and for his ever-vigilant following of the paths of the stars and of every bloom of his tens of thousands of daffodils of all varieties. His joy in the satisfaction of work and in the marvels of nature are a great part of the legacy he leaves behind.
Paula and Birch Polega wish to express their deep gratitude to the staff of Pardee Hospital and Four Seasons Hospice for their support and kindness.
A funeral service was held for Stanley on Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Niles, Michigan, where he was born and raised. A memorial celebration for Stanley will be held at his home in Hendersonville, NC, on his birthday, May 11, 2019. Everyone who was a friend of Stanley’s is welcome to attend this event and should call his home for further information.