Edwin J. Poplawski, 88, banker, community leader

Edwin J. Poplawski
Edwin J. Poplawski
Posted: July 16, 2014

Edwin J. Poplawski, 88, of Springfield, Delaware County, a banker, World War II veteran, and community organizer, died Wednesday, July 9, of lung cancer at Vitas Hospice at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital.

Mr. Poplawski worked for 23 years at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and another 23 years at the First Pennsylvania Bank before retiring as an assistant vice president in 1989.

As part of his job, Mr. Poplawski created and launched technical designs in the areas of computer automation, advanced security functions, and data integrity and controls. The work was cutting edge; at the time computers were just beginning to be used in banking.

Born in the front bedroom of his parent's house in Camden, Mr. Poplawski graduated from Camden Catholic High School. He served as an Army rifleman in the 100th Infantry Division during World War II. The division was famous for recapturing the Nazi-occupied ancient citadel of Bitche, France. The 100th broke through the Maginot Line, and liberated the town in March 1945 after a wintry three-month siege.

Later, Mr. Poplawski was inducted into the Society of the Sons of Bitche, an organization that commemorates the campaign and provides a social link for the men who fought there.

Mr. Poplawski was wounded on Jan. 28, 1945. He received a Purple Heart. He also was decorated with the World War II Victory Medal with oak leaf cluster.

After his military service, Mr. Poplawski graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and Penn's Stonier Graduate School of Banking.

In the community, Mr. Poplawski was a founding member of the Briarcliffe Athletic Association, which offered organized sports opportunities to hundreds of children.

"Each baseball season began with all the baseball teams marching around the Briarcliffe community behind a drum and bugle corps to the cheers of their parents and friends," his family said in a tribute.

He developed the first team sponsorship program for the association, and helped found the Briarcliffe Swim Club at a time when neighborhood swim clubs were in their infancy. By introducing an innovative method for financing membership, he was able to build and open the club within six months of its inception in 1960.

Above all, his family said, Mr. Poplawski used his talent and volunteer time to help keep his community unspoiled and a nurturing place for children.

"Anyone who knows Briarcliffe, Secane, and Sharon Hill in Delaware County in the 1950s and '60s knows what a joy it was to grow up in neighborhoods where you had the support of parents, other kids, and teachers," his family said. "There were sports, and enough undeveloped 'woods' to explore."

As a member of Our Lady of Fatima Church, in Secane, he was a choir member for 25 years. Mr. Poplawski was a member of a barbershop quartet called the Gents and the William Penn Community Chorus. He enjoyed travel, playing golf and solving puzzles.

In later years, Mr. Poplawski was an attentive caregiver to his wife, Ellen, when she became ill. She died in 2010.

He is survived by sons Paul, David, Michael, and Mark; daughter Donna White; a sister; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Services were Monday, July 14.

Donations may be made to Little Flower Manor, 1201 Springfield Rd., Darby, Pa. 19023, or Vitas Inpatient Hospice at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, 1500 Lansdowne Ave., Darby, Pa. 19023.



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