RUCOSKY---Robert Leonard, 92, Johnstown, died Dec.30, 2020, at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center due to COVID-19. Born Nov. 21, 1928 in Johnstown. Preceded in death by parents Charles and Agnes (Harris) Rucosky, brothers Joseph, Charles, Lawrence, Walter, Herbert, and Raymond, and granddaughter Casey. Survived by loving wife of over 70 years, Helen (Della) Rucosky and children Cathy Riley (Jim), Waldorf, MD., Debbie Martin, Midlothian, VA., Kris Srodawa (Marty), Watkins, CO., Jim, Johnstown, and John (Anne), Jennerstown; Grandchildren Mike Riley (Marisa), Port Tobacco, MD., Erin Cornette (Dale), Alexandria, VA., Dylan Martin, Chesterfield, VA., Adam Rucosky, Norfolk, VA., Grace Grimaldi (Armando), Twentynine Palms, CA., and Noel and Jenna Rucosky, Johnstown; Great-grandchildren Jon and Tessa Riley of Port Tobacco, MD.
Commonly known as Bob, or "Ruke", he grew up in Ferndale, where he resided for 89 years, living just a block away from his childhood home. A 1947 graduate of Ferndale-Dale High School, Robert excelled as a Yellow Jacket basketball team captain, baseball pitcher, and football halfback in the days of leather helmets. He also ran track, and was proud of once hitting a home run over the net at Johnstown's Point Stadium while playing in the city's Junior League. Robert served on Ferndale Borough council for 28 yearsmany as president. He was a lifetime member of the Ferndale VFD, a founding member of St.Andrews Catholic Church, and member of the Elks, Harmony Club Singing Society, Moxham GBU, Greater Ferndale Sportsmen, and Centennial Farms Gun Club. He started his 73-year career at the coal mines in Tire Hill in 1947, where he often recalled working alongside mules. Working underground for many years as an electrician, he was a proud member of the UMWA, once suffering a broken leg while picketing with USWA members in Johnstown. He credited coworker Geno DeRubis for once saving his life by pulling him back by the collar moments before a roof collapse. He eventually became foreman, then superintendent as the company changed from Bird Mines to Island Creek Coal Co. When mines were sealed in 1990 he treated water for 30 years, designing the treatment plant that converted acid mine drainage into water clean enough to raise troutwhich he enjoyed feeding in the settling ponds owned by his most recent employer Warrior Services. With Helen managing five children and all household chores, Robert took a second job at Westmont Sunoco for 19 years, often joking that vacations were spent with a paintbrush in hand, working on the couple's home on Ogle Street. Robert and Helen moved to Southmont in 2017. His loving family is blessed with memories of him singing to them as children while seated next to him on his wooden porch swing in Ferndale. An ardent Notre Dame football fan, Robert's framed prints of Knute Rockne and the Four Horsemen shared space with family portraits in the home, and the couple's annual summer vacations to the West always began with a stop at Notre Dame University in South Bend, IN. Yearly favorite haunts included Yellowstone Nat'l Park and Jackson Hole, WY., the canyons of Utah, and Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah Nat'l Parks in TN. and VA. Known for his kindness, generosity, and selflessness, Robert's witty personality garnered him many lasting friendships. A dedicated husband, father, and devout Christian, he lived by the motto found in a favorite book, "I Am Third", by former Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers: "God is first, my family and friends are second, and I am third." A service will be held at a later date due to the pandemic. Harris Funeral Home is handling arrangements. Donations may be made to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, and online condolences at www.wharrisfuneralhome.com.
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