Friends Remembered: Louis R. Zabinski

Louis R. Zabinski

Louis R. Zabinski, 90, of East Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, died Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022, at Allegheny Valley Hospital in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania.

Born Oct. 3, 1932, in East Vandergrift, he was the youngest son of the late Jacob and Mary (Gajowska) Zabinski. Zabinski was a 1950 graduate of Vandergrift High School. A Veteran of the U.S. Army, he served during peacetime in the 1950s.

In 1959, Zabinski received the Carnegie Medal after saving a 9-year-old boy from drowning in the Kiskiminetas River in East Vandergrift. The boy climbed into a canoe and then was pushed into the river by two other boys. As the swift current carried him downstream, the boy, who could not swim, panicked and jumped from the canoe into water 9 feet deep. As Zabinski, then a 27-year-old grinder, responded, the boy lost consciousness in the water. Fully clothed except for shoes, Zabinski entered the cold water and swam 210 feet to the lifeless boy. Holding to his chin, Zabinski towed him to wadable water and then carried him over his shoulder to the bank where the boy was revived.

Zabinski volunteered with the East Vandergrift Volunteer Fire Company, was an active member of the Polish National Alliance 791, Slovak Club, and Lithuanian Club, as well as VFW Post 566 and American Legion Post 114. He loved listening to polka music and went to many polka festivals. He enjoyed hunting and fishing, and was an avid gardener.

Zabinski is survived by his wife of 66 years, Virginia (Golla) Zabinski; children, Debra Zabinski, Donna Valdiserri, Daniel Zabinski, and Richard Zabinski; grandchildren, Adam, Meg, Logan, and Rowan; and nieces and nephews.

Zabinski was preceded in death by sisters Anna Mazia and Catherine Mary Vitkay; and brothers, Andrew, William, Albert, and Henry Zabinski.