Joseph J. Churbock Sr., 95, of Greensburg, died Monday, July 8, 2019, at St. Anne Home. Joe was born into humble circumstances and spent many of his childhood years in Loyalhanna. The oldest of four siblings, his mother, Anna (we all called her Annie), had worked as a housekeeper for some families in the Latrobe area. His father, Joseph (we all called him Pappy), was from Eastern Pennsylvania and came west as a Pennsylvania State Police trooper. (His cruiser in 1919 was a horse; we have photographic evidence!) After marrying Anna, which at that time precluded him from remaining with the PSP, he went on to various and sundry jobs including day laborer and security guard. The family never had a lot of money but never missed a meal. Some of Joe's earliest memories included following the ice wagon during the summertime, where the driver would chip off pieces of ice for the neighborhood children. He also fondly remembered his bike with the wooden wheels, where he would have to soak the wheels at night in order to bend them back into the round shape so he could ride the bicycle the next day. He also did not like school in the early days, escaping from the classroom at the morning recess and running home and hiding among the grape arbors. Those days passed and he eventually excelled in the classroom, even becoming a member of the National Honor Society at Derry Township High School. He graduated in 1942. He served in the Navy during World War II, a great deal of the time in the Pacific Theater. As an engineering student when he entered the Navy, at the end of the war, the small town boy from Loyalhanna was assigned to the Detroit, Mich., area to assist with the decommissioning of the River Rogue military machine for return to private/civilian use. One Saturday, while on a three-day pass and in uniform, he was walking down a busy boulevard in downtown Detroit, gazing up at the skyscrapers, the likes of which he hadn't seen in Loyalhanna, and he ended up bumping into a cute, brown-haired city girl. He always said that he never knew if he bumped into her or if she bumped into him. That girl was Grace. Service members were revered at that time. They engaged in some small talk, she invited him home for dinner, and her parents invited him to stay the night. He had to share a bed with Grace's kid brother, Stanley, who is reported to have kicked all night, and that was the beginning of what turned out to be a lifelong love and a 52-year marriage. Joe eventually mustered out of the Navy, relocated back to the Pittsburgh area, and he finished his education at Carnegie Institute of Technology, or Carnegie Tech, with a degree in electrical engineering. His entire professional career was spent at Westinghouse Electric Co. in East Pittsburgh, retiring as a senior engineer in the switchgear division. Along the way, Joe and Grace moved to Greensburg and brought into the world and raised five sons, all who survive and miss him: David (and Teresa), Joseph (and Sumlee), Thomas (and Dianne), Steven (and Maskiah) and Scott (and Stephanie). He is also missed by his eight grandchildren and his five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Anna, and also by his wife and his love, Grace. Additionally, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Jacob and John, and his brother-in-law, Armand. He is survived by his sister, Catherine, and his sisters-in-law, Liz and Mamie. Joe lived a full life for his 95 years. He always worked full time. He attended countless Little League games, countless high school basketball and football games, as well as wrestling matches, participated in different golf and bowling leagues, "engineered" some memorable family vacations, and even had his motorcycle license for a while. And yes, to unwind after a long day of work, he always enjoyed his one shot and a beer before dinner. Relatives and friends are invited to celebrate the life of Joseph from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at CLEMENT L. PANTALONE FUNERAL HOME INC., 409 W. Pittsburgh St., Greensburg, PA 15601, 724-837-0020. Parting prayers will be held in the funeral home at 9:30 a.m. Friday, followed by a funeral Mass to be celebrated at 10 a.m. in Our Lady of Grace Church. Interment with military honors will follow in Greensburg Catholic Cemetery. The family would like to express appreciation for the staffs at both UPMC Weatherwood Manor and St. Anne Home, both in Greensburg. The staffs of both of these two wonderful establishments never let the difficulties of the job get in the way of showing kindness, dignity and respect to all of the folks who depend on them. Joe's journey was enriched because of the wonderful folks at both of his most recent residences. Thank you. Joe's family has entrusted his care to Pantalone Funeral Home Inc., Greensburg. To share your memories and photos, offer your condolences or for directions, please visit us at www.pantalone.com. Natale N. Pantalone, supervisor.
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