Obituary for George Rusnak
George Albert Rusnak passed away peacefully October 25, 2017 with his family at his side. George was born September 30, 1927 in Whitaker, PA to George and Helen (Chope) Rusnak. He attended Munhall High School; upon graduating in 1945 he enlisted in the US Navy. Prior to entering the Navy George worked two summers for U.S. Steel Homestead Works where he trained as a Ladle Liner (brick layer).
Upon his enlistment in the Navy he was sent to Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, IL where he attended school and trained in U.S. Navy Basic Electronics completing this training in Gulfport, MS. Next he went to Corpus Christi, TX for training in U.S. Navy Aviation Electronics. After completing training he was stationed aboard an Aircraft Carrier, The USS Antietam which operated out of Pearl Harbor and toured the Pacific. He was part of a team which tested the effect of high altitude radar. He also served as a Police Petty Officer and stood Shore Patrol. George received the Victory Medal for WWII and the American Area Medal. After his discharge he returned to Whitaker, Pa, where he became a charter member of Whitaker American Legion and served on the Honor Guard.
The GI Bill enabled George to attend the college of his choice, Carnegie Institute of Technology, CIT (now Carnegie Mellon University). During his years at CIT he was a 4 year member of the Football team, played Intermural sports, member of the Varsity ”C” Club, AIEE (now IEEE) and Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Upon Graduating with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering in 1952 George accepted a job with Westinghouse Electric East Pittsburgh Plant in the Corporations Distribution Apparatus Division as a high Voltage Design Engineer. During his 40 year career he had several Patents, Disclosures, co-authored and authored technical papers which were presented at technical meetings throughout the United States. One such paper has been used as a reference at the University of Pittsburgh. After his retirement from Westinghouse George continued to work as a consultant with ABB, was a project manager for PSARA and became a member of the Monroe County Assessor’s Board of Appeal certified for both Residential and Commercial properties.
George had been an active member of the Bloomington Community. He served on the Volunteer Action Committee and the Health and Safety Committee. For many years he volunteered with the Red Cross as a Board Member, taught CPR and First Aid, maintained First Aid stations for the County Fair, Harrodsburg Heritage Days, I.U. Fun Frolic and IU Ball Games. Involved with the Boy Scouts he chaired several Scout-O-Ramas, was on the District Board and served as District Vice Chairman & District Chairman, served on the Council Board, was a First aid counselor and was an advisor to the ALPHA PHI OMEGA (APO) Fraternity at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN). The Boy Scouts awarded him the Order of the Arrow, the Vigil Award, District Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver Award. George was a life Senior Member of IEEE where he served as Program Chairman Secretary/Treasurer, Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Bloomington Sub Section of the IEEE. George helped wire seven of the Habitat Homes in Bloomington. He also organized and enlisted other retired Westinghouse Engineers to volunteer their time, knowledge and skills.
George’s interest in Fire Fighting and Fire Safety began at an early age. During WWII the Whitaker, PA VFD was short of men to help fight fires as their younger men were helping defend our country. George and the other young boys in the community were trained in fire safety and to help assist with hoses and equipment needed during a fire. They were not permitted to enter an engaged fire. This early training began what was to be a lifelong commitment. When George was aboard ship in the Navy he received more firefighting training and once home he joined the VFD in Whitaker which is where his passion for firefighting and safety began. As an Engineer at Westinghouse he was able to join Westinghouse’s own fire department at the East Pittsburgh Plant. When he was transferred to Bloomington, IN in 1958 the company asked him to take over Fire Protection and Safety as the Fire Chief for the plant in addition to his engineering position. In 1970 George was part of a group who founded the Perry Clear-Creek Volunteer Fire Department. He then served the VFD as a Firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain, Diversion Chief and sat on the Advisory Board. He went on to teach “Learn not to Burn” classes to school age children throughout Monroe County. Perry Clear Creek Fire Protection District awarded George with the Bronze Axe award for 42 years of service in 2014. In 2016 Indiana Governor Mike Pence recognized him in a ceremony at the Capital for his 50 years as a Volunteer Firefighter.
Bloomington has recognized George’s contributions with the “Bloomington Volunteer of the year award”, “Education Award” for Fire Prevention, Bloomington Northside Exchange Club “Lifetime Service Award”, Bloomington Herald Times, “Every Day Hero Award” and Westinghouse “Community Service Award”.
George has been a member of St Marks United Methodist Church since 1959. He served on the Trustee’s board several different times. He gave of his many construction talents not only to the church but to the parsonages. In recent years he organized the Men’s Lenten Breakfasts for all the Methodist Churches in our district. George belonged to several Masonic organizations. He was a 60 year member of Homestead Amity McCandles Lodge 582 F. & A.M., Life member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite N.M.J. USA 32nd degree Valley of Pittsburgh, Life member of Syria Shriners Cheswick, PA, Bloomington Commandery No.63 Knights Templar Bloomington, IN and a proud honorary member of Monroe Lodge No. 22.
George is survived by his loving wife of 62 years Nancy (Lalich), his much loved daughter Jerri, his precious granddaughter Alexandra and his endearing daughter-in Law Sandra (Long) Rusnak. He was preceded in death by his parents, Sisters Louise Bly, Elsie Rusnak, Helen Letchworth, Bernadette Caspar, Joan Rusnak and his beloved son George Alan Rusnak (Sandra).
A Celebration of George’s Life will be held at 3 PM Saturday, November 11, 2017 at St Marks United Methodist Church located at 100 N. State Rd 46, Bloomington, IN. One hour prior to the Celebration of Life service there will be a Masonic Service at 2 PM also at St. Marks. In lieu of Flowers, donations may be given to St Marks United Methodist Church.