Latrobe farmer's 'greatest joy' sustained family
Fred Stynchula was able to make a good life for his large family through farming, self-reliance and ingenuity.
Mr. Stynchula operated the family farm on the side, in addition to working at Latrobe Die Casting for 35 years. He used the farm to provide for his family and teach his children valuable life lessons and skills, said his daughter, Bernadette Carbone.
“We all knew how to farm, how to plant our gardens, how to split and stack wood. We did everything together,” she said. “He was the best teacher around.”
The family of seven children hopes to keep the farm going and continue the legacy of their father, who took over the farm from his parents. His truck and tractor were to be part of his funeral procession Saturday.
Fred Stynchula of Latrobe died Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, at his home. He was 90.
Born in Greensburg on Sept. 10, 1927, he was a son of the late Joseph and Amelia Stynchula. He was drafted at 18, near the end of World War II, and served in the Army. He was sent to Missouri and worked as a cook, serving both U.S. servicemen and German POWs.
He returned to Westmoreland County and took a job at Heinnickel Farms near Hannastown, his daughter said. He worked there for seven years, before getting a job at Latrobe Die Casting.
Mr. Stynchula got married to Mary in 1952 and started farming on the family homestead in Greenwalt near Crabtree. He eventually took over operation of the 28-acre farm, which had beef cattle, chickens, turkeys and geese, and grew corn and hay.
“He did it for pleasure,” his daughter said. “When he retired, he enjoyed it even more. His greatest joy was tending the fields on his tractor and caring for his cows and chickens.”
“He never called it work,” said his son, Chuck Stynchula.
When workers at Latrobe Die Casting went on strike for two years, Mr. Stynchula was able to provide for his family through the farm, his son said.
“We never missed a meal. He always provided for us. He never took any charity. He was a very proud man,” his son said.
The children participated in the farming operations.
“We all had our chores and knew what to do. We just did it. It was a great life,” Chuck Stynchula said. “When we were little kids, we'd go into Latrobe. We'd sit there and sell sweet corn. We did what we had to do.”
Later in life, Mr. Stynchula enjoyed working in his garden, feeding the birds, sitting on his front porch, using his woodburner and driving around to admire the fields and farms of the surrounding areas, his children said.
“There's not a farmer in the area that he doesn't know,” his daughter said. “He knew all the farms in the area. He knew what fields were theirs.”
Mr. Stynchula was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Mary.
He is survived by seven children, Karen Stynchula Kazousky of Penn Township; Paula Stynchula Dorko of Latrobe; Susan Stynchula Heintzelman of Latrobe; Fred Stynchula of New Alexandria; Bernadette Stynchula Carbone of Crabtree; Charles Stynchula of Murrysville; and James Stynchula of Latrobe; 18 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Visitation was at John J. Lopatich Funeral Home in Latrobe. A funeral Mass was held Saturday at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, Crabtree. Interment is private.
Memorial contributions may be made to Westmoreland County 4-H, 214 Donohoe Road, Suite E, Donohoe Center, Greensburg, PA 15601.