Obit for a Proud Slovak
- Obituary: Joseph Matuschak / PUC judge proud of his Slovak roots
Wednesday, October 17, 2001
By Mike Bucsko, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
As children of an immigrant coal miner, Joseph Matuschak and his 10 brothers
and sisters were steered away from the hard life in the mines of Fayette
Instead, Mr. Matuschak's Slovak parents emphasized education as the way to
succeed in the United States, and Mr. Matuschak followed their advice.
He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1933 in the depths of the
Depression, then worked his way through law school at Duquesne University as
an employee of the Fayette County prothonotary's office.
Mr. Matuschak, 89, a Connellsville native, died Sunday at his home in South
Mr. Matuschak's fledgling law career was interrupted when he was drafted in
1942. He spent three years as an artillery forward observer in Europe in the
13th Armored Division, part of Gen. George S. Patton's 3rd Army.
After his return from World War II, Mr. Matuschak opened his own law
practice. His fluent Slovak lent itself to a steady clientele of Fayette
County's Slovak immigrants, said his son Mark, of Marblehead, Mass.
While Mr. Matuschak was keenly aware of his ethnic heritage, he made sure his
own children spoke English and were proud to be Americans, his son said.
"On the one hand, he didn't want us to emphasize [his Slovak heritage], but
it clearly was an important part of his legal practice and his life," Mark
Mr. Matuschak served one term in the 1950s as Fayette County's treasurer and
was the solicitor for a number of municipalities, including Dunbar, South
Union, North Union and Franklin.
In the 1960s, he began a long association with the Pennsylvania Public
Utility Commission as a part-time administrative law judge. He began working
full time for the PUC in the 1970s and worked steadily for the PUC until his
retirement in 1988.
In addition to his son Mark, Mr. Matuschak is survived by his wife, Irene;
son George of St. Louis; a daughter, Irene Egan of Burlington, Mass.; a
sister, Margaret Levin of Belle Vernon; and six grandchildren.
A Mass for Mr. Matuschak will be celebrated today at 11 a.m. in St. Mary the
Nativity Church, Uniontown, followed by burial in Uniontown's Mount Macrina