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Obit for a Proud Slovak

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  • BobHORGOS@aol.com
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 16, 2001
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      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
      County.
      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
      Union.
      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
      Matuschak said.
      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
      Cemetery.
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