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Civic leader, fireman served borough with love

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Richard A. Senic, 88, of Hernando, Fla., formerly of North Braddock, died Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013.
By Bill Zlatos
Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Richard Senic served 12 years as a council member and one year as mayor of North Braddock, where he helped to improve the fire trucks and station and negotiated a contract with drivers of the fire trucks.

“I got from him how to deal with people,” said his nephew Al Senic of North Braddock, who joined the borough council after his uncle's departure. “He was a good public servant. He would listen to their complaints. He always worked for the people.”

Richard A. Senic of Hernando, Fla., formerly of North Braddock, died Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, in a hospice in Lecanto, Fla. He was 88.

He was born Sept. 10, 1925, in North Braddock to Anthony and Teresa Senic. His father was a machinist for Westinghouse Electric, and his mother was a homemaker.

He graduated from the former Scott High School in North Braddock and joined the Army. He served as a postmaster at Fort Lee, Va., and later had the nickname “Sam the postman” back home. When the war ended, he worked as a quality control engineer at Westinghouse Electric, where he was involved with reactors for the Nautilus submarine.

He used to ride the bus to work with Eleanora A. DeVincent, who worked at Bell Telephone in East Pittsburgh. He bought a car in 1948, and offered her a ride home. She accepted, and they were married for 61 years.

“You could see the affection they had for each other,” said their son Tony Senic of Lebanon. “They would kid with each other, but they would always end it with a kiss.”

Lightning struck his barn in North Braddock, and the subsequent fire killed his two horses. At 22, he helped found the North Braddock Volunteer Fire Department. His nephew said a broken fire hose once struck him at a house fire, and he was taken to a hospital. He remained a charter member of the fire station for 66 years.

Al Senic said his uncle served on the borough council from 1971 to 1983. The council appointed him mayor to succeed Elmer Devay, who died in office in 1983.

“He's probably the most honest guy I've ever known,” Tony Senic said. “He cared for everyone. He helped care for his mother and sister when they were getting up in age.”

Mr. Senic enjoyed hunting deer and fishing. He taught his grandchildren to fish and collected toy Hess gas trucks for them.

He was preceded in death by his son Patrick Senic and daughter Marilyn Joschak, brothers Albert Senic and Patrick Sonita and sister Della Sonita. Survivors include his wife, son Tony, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in Patrick T. Lanigan Funeral Home, 700 Linden Ave., East Pittsburgh, where a fireman service with the North Braddock Volunteer Fire Department will be held at 7 p.m. Monday. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Sacred Heart Church of Good Shepherd Parish, Braddock. Entombment with military honors will follow in Braddock Catholic Cemetery.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

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