The Obit For Bart Pavuk

Bartholomew A. Pavuk

Published in Scranton Times on December 16, 2010


Bartholomew A. Pavuk, 89, formerly of Clarks Summit, Peckville and Jessup, fell asleep in the Lord on Monday evening in St. Lucie Medical Center, Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Born in Jessup on October 13, 1921, to the late John and Helen Micklick Pavuk, he went to work early in life, picking huckleberries and delivering newspapers to help his family through the Great Depression.

He spent his early adulthood laboring in the Anthracite coal works alongside his father and brothers. In 1938, he graduated from Jessup High School as a member of the Jessup Green Wave baseball team. He went on to play minor league baseball as an outfielder from 1945-1947.

He earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Pennsylvania State University in 1956 and a Master of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh in 1959.

He retired in 1983 as assistant superintendent of Dixmont State Psychiatric Hospital in suburban Pittsburgh, returning to the Lackawanna Valley, where he became a member and benefactor of St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Church in Mayfield.

Frequently traveling on pilgrimage to monasteries and Orthodox Christian sites in the U.S. and various countries, he forged a particular bond with the community of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York.

Helping attend to his elderly mother until her death in 1996, he spent the last two years of his life in the care of his niece and her husband, Illona and Patrick Christie. His final months were spent in the hands of the extremely kind and humane staff at Emerald Heathcare Center, Port St. Lucie.

Sportswriter-friend John Steadman once wrote of him in a 1955 issue of Baseball Digest magazine, "You could never forget Bart Pavuk. He ran with a gliding stride, fielded with grace and ease, and threw strikes from right field." Not for baseball would he be remembered by decades of acquaintances who — from children to bishops — affectionately addressed him as Uncle Bart, but rather for the big smile, the roaring laugh, and the abundant warm heartedness he fielded on every visit.

During his retirement years, he was fond of visiting Lackawanna State Park. There he became a friend, a confidante and sometimes a therapist to good people who also went there for peace and comfort. On those occasions when he found himself sitting alone, many a crossword puzzle met its match in the hands of "Uncle Bart." People who spoke with him could see why.

Despite his penchant for finding good conversation everywhere, from waiting rooms to airport ticket lines, few could remember — because they never knew — the extent of his generosity. This was the one subject he never spoke about. Often frugal when it came to his own needs, his munificence toward others knew no bounds. It bears repeating that this extraordinary generosity was the real hallmark of his life.

He is survived by three brothers, Dr. Myron, Clarks Summit and Port St. Lucie; Michael, Crystal Lake; and Dr. Peter, Peckville; two sisters, Mary Reposh, Jessup; and Helen Telep, Clarks Summit and Saugus, MA; nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

He was also preceded in death by five brothers, John Jr., Thomas, Dr. Daniel and infant brothers Andrew and Gregory.

Requiem services will be Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Mayfield, to be celebrated by the V. Rev. Mitred Archpriest John D. Sorochka. Interment, parish cemetery.

Friends may visit Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Harrison Funeral Home Inc., 374 N. Main St, Archbald. Parastas will be at 7. and transfer to the church at 9. Memorial contributions may be made to St James Orthodox Mission Church Building Fund 2201 Airoso Blvd., Port St. Lucie, FL 34984.