OBITUARY: OLGA POTAPCHUK- CARTWRIGHT
Olga was born on 30 September 1931 in Frackville, Pennsylvania, to her parents Victor and Irene Potapchuk, who had previously given birth to her brother Paul. Her father was a coal miner, and both parents were hard working Russian immigrants who instilled in their children the value of a good work ethic, and integrity in their daily lives. They also instilled the value of assimilation into American culture. Her brother Paul would go on to serve with the distinction in the Army paratroopers in both Korea and Vietnam.
The family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania when Black Lung began to affect Victor. Victor took employment with, and retired from, the Budd Plant. After graduating high school, Olga met and married John Andrew Cartwright; he had served with the Merchant Marine and Navy Seabees, and then became a Philadelphia Police Officer. Olga became an accomplished beautician/hair stylist, and together they raised three children: Christine, John and James.
As a team, John and Olga were very ambitious and John often worked two or three side jobs to supplement their income. About 13 years into their marriage, John’s sister Dorothy, passed from cancer. Without hesitation they took in two of her children, Georgianne and Bobbi, to raise. Resources became thin, but the values of “Family First,” persevered and the family moved forward.
During this time period John and Olga risked it all to become do-it-yourself, home center, business owners. Starting with one small location it grew into three. Eventually, they consolidated the three into one larger location. They had grown to become a premiere unfinished furniture retailer when they took another risk and ventured into the Recreational Vehicle market. That business would grow into two locations and becoming a premiere distributor for a major RV Class A manufacturer. Other smaller businesses came along the way, and together the two of them thrived in their enterprises.
When John passed, Olga lost some of her drive to thrive. Businesses were sold and she accepted a semi-retirement lifestyle. But her personal life continued to offer her opportunities of service to others. She was there 100% through the illnesses and deaths of her father, brother and mother. She was there for the health problems of her youngest son, and the care of his five children. She was there when one of those five children passed unexpectedly. She was always there when any family member needed assistance. She was always a rock against the storm when needed.
The life of Olga “Lori” Potapchuk-Cartwright was a very full nearly 90 years. Olga was feisty, fully of energy, and always a direct and blunt honest speaker. She is survived by her daughter Christine, her son, and one grandchild. Also, her son John and his four children, and seven grandchildren. And finally, her son James and his remaining four children and six grandchildren. Her tremendous energy had her children believing she would outlive them all. To those who truly knew and loved her, she will be greatly missed, and no words can express the void left by her leaving. Until we meet again, goodbye for now, may she rest in peace in the love of Christ.
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