Andrew Huzinec, formerly of Perryopolis, PA, and Glassport, PA, fell asleep in the Lord on April 28, 2018 at Juniper Village at Forest Hills. He lived a vibrant life of 97 years. A shining example of the Greatest Generation, Andy was a quirky and accomplished man whose family was his cornerstone. His Carpatho-Rusyn, “coal patch’’ roots had a significant impact on whom he was. He was born to immigrant parents from the Transcarpathian region of western Ukraine, where he and his family visited many times. Their Byzantine-Catholic faith (in which he and his late father, were renowned cantors), had a profound impact of their hard-scrabble existence.
Andy, known to many as “Candy Andy,” because he loved to pass out candy to everyone he met, was amiable but reclusive, intellectual but “down home.” He was an accomplished athlete, carpenter, mechanic and bird enthusiast, especially fond of his beloved bluebirds, hummingbirds, and finches. An avid gardener, he grew a variety of vegetables, and would freely give them out, particularly his home-grown garlic, which he originally brought from “the Old Country.” He also raised an impressive array of roses. A natural linguist, his favorite pastime was to talk to anyone he encountered. His favorite subjects were language and ethnicity. “Where are you from?” he would ask, or “What kind of name is that?” And after discovering their ethnicity, he would find out if they knew how to speak their native language, and, if not, attempt to teach them a few phrases.
In 1938, Andy graduated from Perry Township High School. He studied chemical engineering at Waynesburg College. In World War II, he joined the 87th Infantry Division and transferred to the 8th Air Force, where he was a Tech Sergeant in the 401st Bomb Group. He received four Bronze Stars as a radio operator on 26 “Flying Fortress” B-17 bombing missions. He was also a charter member of the Perry VFW post 7023.
After the war, thanks to the GI Bill, he got a degree in secondary education at Penn State, and held teaching positions in Canton, PA, and Glen Burney, MD. Then, at Clairton High School, in Clairton, PA, he established a legendary teaching career from 1955 to 1983, where he taught the Russian language and World Cultures. His Russian language lab – in which he was one of only six teachers in America – was groundbreaking because it thrived during the Cold War.
Andy was the son of the late George Huzinec and Barbara Geles. He is preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Helen Basarab Huzinec, who was a beloved elementary teacher in the Frazier School District. His late siblings were Mary, John, George, Mike and Irene. He is survived by his children, George (Maureen) and step-grandson, AJ; Mary Suzanne, granddaughter Alexandra and step-granddaughter, Samantha; and Andrea. He also had many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held Tuesday from 2-4 & 6-8 PM at the Parzynski Funeral Home & Cremations, Family Owned and Operated, 191 Liberty St. Perryopolis, PA 15473 724-736-2515. Prayer service will be held Wednesday at 9:30 am in the funeral home followed by Divine Liturgy at 10:00 am at St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church with the Rev. Oleh Seremchuk as celebrant. Interment will take place in St. Nicholas Cemetery. Parastas Services will be held Tuesday evening at 6:30 pm and the Perryopolis VFW Post 7023 will conduct services Tuesday evening at 7:30 pm both in the funeral home. Memorial contributions be made to the church’s renovation fund 102 Railroad St. Perryopolis, PA 15473.