Pioquinto Voluntad Jr., 85, restaurateur, civic leader

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Pioquinto “Skip” Voluntad Jr.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 18, for Pioquinto "Skip" Voluntad Jr., 85, a restaurateur and civic leader, who died Tuesday, April 26, from renal failure at Suburban General Hospital.

Mr. Voluntad lived most of his life in Germantown before moving to Whitemarsh Senior Village in Conshohocken last year

He was well-known as the manager of the Kona Kai and Windjammer restaurants on City Avenue and as a leader of civic organizations, some of them in the Asian community.

From 1967 to 1985, the Kona Kai was housed in the Marriott Motor Hotel, near the entrance to the Schuylkill Expressway in Bala Cynwyd. Not long after the Kona Kai closed, the Marriott was razed to make room for an office building.

The Windjammer was next to the Kona Kai.

Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Voluntad moved for several years to the Philippines when he was a boy, but returned here and graduated from Northeast High School.

His first name was Pioquinto, but no one could pronounce it when he was a child. So one day, as someone struggled with the name, he said, "Skip it."

He was known as "Skip" ever after, he told his family.

He and wife, Vannette Lee, met at Camp Venture, a program for inner-city teens. They married in 1952, and she followed him to South Carolina, where they lived while he served in the Marine Corps. After he was honorably discharged, they moved back to Philadelphia to start their family of seven children.

Mr. Voluntad had a long career in the restaurant business, where he told family he met Asian immigrants who were having trouble adjusting to their new surroundings. He tried to help by sponsoring and mentoring them, and getting them social services.

A 37-year member of Alcoholics Anonymous, Mr. Voluntad was not shy about telling people he was a recovering alcoholic. He acted as sponsor for many others struggling with the addiction.

"We would be having Thanksgiving dinner, and he would bring along someone he sponsored," said daughter Valerie.

Mr. Voluntad was chairman of the board of the Pan Asian Association in Chinatown, and also served on the board for the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.

Mr. Voluntad was happiest when deep-sea fishing, a sport he taught his children and grandchildren. He was "thrilled beyond belief" the day his granddaughter, Antonia, reeled in a 61/2-pound flounder, his daughter said. It was the biggest fish of the day.

He also loved pets. At various times, he kept parrots, a rooster, dogs, cats, mice, and guinea pigs.

In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by daughters Felicia Lewis, Dominga Compton, and Anita Voluntad-DePace; sons Pio and Gabriel; 10 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; a sister; and nieces and nephews. A son Christopher died in 2006.

A visitation from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 18, at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Parish, Church of the Holy Child, 5200 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, will be followed by a Funeral Mass in Tagalog, a Filipino language. Burial is private.

Donations may be made to the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging Emergency Fund, 642 N. Broad St., Philadelphia 19130, or through www.pcacares.org. The fund provides aid to low-income seniors in financial crisis. Checks should indicate that the gift is in memory of Mr. Voluntad.

bcook@phillynews.com

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