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Colleagues, Friends Mourn Stabbing Victim

September 15, 2016 GMT

The food business was in David Sinoracki’s blood since taking his first job at age 15 washing dishes at a Duryea restaurant near his boyhood home.

Working at various venues, he rose through the ranks to become a chef and then a manager before eventually running his own catering business.

Sinoracki, 45, who was stabbed to death Sunday at his Kingston Township home, most recently was a leading regional sales representative for food supply giant Sysco Corp.

“He started as dishwasher and became the chef. It was all on-the-job training and he earned his way up,” said Diane Klink, 69, who got Sinoracki his first job three decades ago as a dishwasher at Mo-Ritz Restaurant in Duryea.

Klink’s family moved next door to the Sinorackis on Coxton Road in 1972 when Sinoracki was just 2 years old. She watched him grow up, supported his career and kept in touch when he regularly visited his parents until their deaths in recent years.

She was shocked to hear the news Sunday that her old neighbor was killed in a knife attack that also wounded his wife and teenager daughter. Police say a 14-year-old neighbor, Zachary Hockenberry, ambushed the family, first stabbing Sinoracki’s wife in the back while she vacuumed.

“It’s terrible,” Klink said. “It’s so disturbing for someone to come over and randomly start stabbing people.”

After getting his start at Mo-Ritz in Duryea, Sinoracki went on to work at Fortunato’s Restaurant in Old Forge. There, a food sales representative spotted a budding talent and informed John Stuchkas, the owner of the fledgling Chicken Coop restaurant, which opened in 1988 with locations in Plains Township and Wyoming.

Stuchkas trusted his sales representative’s judgment and recruited the 20-year-old to work at his Wyoming location in 1991.

“Immediately, he became the kitchen manager. That’s how good of a worker he was,” Stuchkas recalled Wednesday.

They called him “Corvette Dave,” because he always was driving the popular sports car made by Chevrolet.

“He worked a lot. He was also single at the time,” Stuchkas joked.

Sinoracki worked at both Chicken Coop locations over 10 years before moving on to try new things. His death, nearly 15 years since leaving the Chicken Coop, deeply impacted past and present employees who recall working with him, Stuchkas said.

“It was a total shock. He was like family,” Stuchkas said.

In the following years, Sinoracki cooked and catered for Victoria Inns and Suites in Pittston Township and the Waterfront complex in Plains Township. In March 2007, he started his own catering business, called Sinmor Inc., according to Pennsylvania Department of State records.

The work consumed many nights and weekends, taking time away from his wife, Bobbi Jo, and their three children.

Five years ago, he took a job as a sales representative for Sysco Corp., the world’s largest food service distributor.

“He thought it gave him a better opportunity to be with his family,” Klink recalled.

Sinoracki died protecting that family. Investigators say Sinoracki was stabbed in the chest while trying to stop the knife attack on his wife and daughter.

Those in the food industry who dealt with Sinoracki posted condolences on a webpage raising money for his family, many saying he was the best at what he did.

Sinoracki likely competed with as many as 20 food sales representatives in his coverage area, which stretched from White Haven to the Back Mountain, according to Joe Tomasino, whose family owns Tomasino’s Original Italian Pizza and Restaurant in the Dallas Shopping Center.

His family’s restaurant chose to purchase supplies from Sinoracki.

Tomasino, 40, knows the pressures and hard work of Sinoracki’s job because he used to work in sales for Sysco before leaving six years ago to help run the business with his father. He was quick to admit one thing: Sinoracki had him beat.

“I took a liking to him because he almost reminded me of me. But he did it better than me,” Tomasino said. “He impressed me.”

Last year, Sinoracki was named to Sysco’s President Club and was honored as an elite “Torch Bearer” for finishing in the top 10 percent of the company in sales, Tomasino said.

“It’s an amazing achievement at Sysco. That’s incredible,” Tomasino said. “He worked hard. That doesn’t come easy.”

Tomasino and Sinoracki got to know each other well during Sinoracki’s twice-weekly visits during the past five years, so it was disheartening to hear about his death, Tomasino said.

“He became a good salesman and a good friend of mine,” Tomasino said. “It’s sad.”

Sysco’s corporate office released a statement Wednesday to The Citizens’ Voice.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic and sudden loss of our talented coworker, Dave Sinoracki,” the statement read. “Dave was well-respected and an integral part of our Sysco Central Pennsylvania team during his nearly 5 years with Sysco. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to his family during this most difficult time.”

bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2055, @cvbobkal