WINSTON-SALEM, NC—Col. Stanford Irving Polonsky, 101, of Winston-Salem, N.C., passed away peacefully on December 25, 2021, surrounded by family.
Stan was born on November 24, 1920, in New York City, to Russian immigrant parents. He attended the University of Illinois and St. John’s University in Brooklyn. He left college to join the Army, which he served for over 28 years in the 82nd Airborne Division, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Office of Strategic Services.
During his career, Col. Polonsky made over 100 successful parachute jumps as a paratrooper. He was stationed and served in the United States, France, England, Japan, Korea, Italy and Germany. Col. Polonsky was en route to the Pacific Theater of Operations when World War II ended.
After the war, Col. Polonsky served with the engineer unit that built various camps and missile sites around the world, including Camp Darby in Italy between 1952 and 1955 and the Atlas F Intercontinental Ballistic Missile sites in Roswell, N.M. between 1960 and 1962. Among his accomplishments, he served as the Post Engineer at Fort Monroe, where he was in charge of the successful restoration of the historic Chapel of the Centurion in the late 1960s, while it was facing demolition.
Col. Polonsky retired from the Army in 1970, having received multiple decorations: Legion of Merit, Army Commendation Medal (4th Oak Leaf Cluster), Air Force Commendation Medal, American Defense Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal (1st Oak Leaf Cluster), and the World War II Victory Medal.
After retirement, Col. Polonsky was very active in his community of Hampton, where he lived for 48 years. He was a long-term member of St. John’s Church. He was a founder and former president of the Casemate Museum Foundation and served as a docent at both the Casemate Museum and the Mariner’s Museum.
Additionally, he was a member and leader of the Hampton Kiwanis Club, where he was honored with the Hixon Trophy Award for outstanding service. He also started and ran a chess club program for students in local elementary schools. In his free time, Stan was an avid reader and restaurant-goer, and loved spending time with family, friends and neighbors.
Stan and his wife, Jane Keane Polonsky, were married on January 15, 1947, in Raleigh, N.C. They celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary in 2011. Jane preceded him in death on September 2, 2011.
His survivors include three sons, Stanford I. Polonsky Jr. (Mary Virginia) of Bumpass, Thomas Henry Lee Polonsky (Becky) of Fletcher, N.C., and Peter Brent Polonsky (Sherry) of Winston-Salem; eight grandchildren, Stanford I. Polonsky III (Melissa) of Gloucester, Amy Ross Monahan (deceased, Joe Monahan) of South Riding, Courtney McManus (Scott) of Asheville, N.C., Kathryn Polonsky (Mark Beattie) of Bayfield, Colo., Joseph Polonsky (Kimberly) of Charlotte, N.C., Kayla Polonsky of Atlanta, Ga., Jenna Polonsky of Charlotte and Peter Brent Polonsky Jr., of Honolulu, Hawaii. He also had 10 great-grandchildren.
His brother, Abraham L. Polonsky of Beverly Hills, Calif., and sister, Charlotte Millhouse of Connecticut, preceded him in death.
Through Col. Polonsky’s career, he was most proud of his membership in the 82nd Airborne Division and his attainment of the Master Parachutists Badge while he was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., on multiple tours. As a final tribute to Colonel (ret.) Stanford I. Polonsky, his service with the United States Army and membership of America’s greatest generation, we end this farewell by saying “Airborne. All the Way.”
Col. Polonsky’s internment will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.