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Hardworking dad sent 5 kids to college

Renatta Signorini
| Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Michael Misko, 91, of North Braddock, subject of the feature obituary for Monday.
Michael Misko, 91, of North Braddock, subject of the feature obituary for Monday.

Michael R. Misko was a private, hardworking man.

After his service with the Army in World War II, he worked at Mesta Machine Co. in West Homestead and held a few second jobs. As a result, Catholic school tuition for the North Braddock man's five children was paid for, and each had an opportunity to attend college.

“I never saw a bill,” said son James M. Misko of Manor, who attended Community College of Allegheny County. “I don't know how they did it.”

After decades of work, Michael Misko died on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. He was 91.

During the day, Mr. Misko worked at Mesta, a manufacturer of steel mill equipment and machinery along the Monongahela River. After his first job, he'd spend a few hours helping out at a gas station to earn extra cash, said daughter Juliann McDermott of Monroeville.

Even after he was laid off from the manufacturer, Mr. Misko took on jobs with North Braddock Borough, James Misko said.

“My dad worked an awful lot,” said Michael A. Misko of North Carolina. “I don't know I really appreciated all my dad did until I became a father.”

The family had been learning more recently about Mr. Misko's World War II service as his health declined. Growing up, the children said, he didn't talk much about the war.

“He was very proud of it,” McDermott said. “He did talk a lot about it in the end. We didn't realize until he was ill how much it meant to him.”

Mr. Misko was a corporal in the 13th Engineer Battalion. He received the Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon, Bronze Star, Phillippine Liberation Ribbon, Good Conduct Ribbon and Victory Medal.

After the war, he and his wife, Rose, worked hard to provide for their children. She worked as an operating room technician at a local hospital.

Mr. Misko was active in Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church in Braddock, said the Rev. Thomas Burke, former pastor.

“Him and his wife were daily Mass people,” said Burke, who knew the Miskos for four years.

Mr. Misko volunteered to count the church's weekly collections, and he worked during Tuesday evening bingo. Burke said he wishes more parishioners were like Mr. Misko.

“He was very, very devout in his Catholic faith,” Burke said. “He always wanted me to come and visit him” in the hospital.

While Mr. Misko was the quiet type, daughter Theresa Ballas of North Carolina recalled a softer man.

“When we left and we moved away, we saw a different side of him,” Ballas said. “He was very kind-hearted.”

McDermott recalled a time when she was having difficulty in college and she reached out to her father. An ice cream date in Oakland helped her get back on track, she said.

In addition to his wife of 66 years, two sons and two daughters, survivors include a third daughter, Mary Jo Woods of Wilkins; a brother, Robert “Bob” Misko of Erie; 11 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by siblings Elizabeth Haberle, Martha Andrascik, Anna Newton, William Misko, Irene Misko and Margaret Ondrey.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in Schleifer Funeral Chapel, formerly the Ronald V. Lucas Funeral Home Inc., in North Braddock. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in Good Shepherd church. Burial with military honors will be in All Saints Catholic Cemetery, Braddock Hills.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or

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