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PR executive had brush with history

| Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Robert A. Deasy Jr., 89, of Hampton, died Feb. 23, 2013.

Bob Deasy went from Central Catholic High School drum major to United Press International reporter to representing Westinghouse at the launch of the Apollo 11 space mission.

“My father loved working for Westinghouse. He took us to that launch,” said his daughter, Deborah Deasy of McCandless, a Trib Total Media staff writer.

Robert Ambrose “Bob” Deasy Jr. of Hampton died on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, after battling pneumonia and suffering a stroke. He was 89.

His job at Westinghouse Electric Corp. gave his family a “front-row seat on history,” his daughter said.

“We went to both Kennedy funerals, “ she said.

Mr. Deasy worked for Westinghouse for nearly 35 years in the firm's public relations and corporate communications department. Representing the company at the Apollo 11 launch was a highlight of his career. Westinghouse developed the camera that filmed the first steps on the moon.

“Bob was the ultimate gentleman. He never lost his temper,” said Vaughn Gilbert, 59, of Elizabeth Township, whom Mr. Deasy hired at Westinghouse. “I've never been around a guy who was so polite.”

The son of Robert Ambrose and Margaret Conlon Deasy, Mr. Deasy was a World War II veteran, co-piloting B-24 Liberators and flying 11 missions with the Army Air Corps' 489th Bomb Group based in Halesworth, Suffolk, England.

After the war, he received a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a reporter for UPI.

Upon retiring, he led tours of the former home of Henry Clay Frick. He was a past district governor of Serra International, an organization of lay Catholics who work to promote religious vocations, and volunteered with the St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Hampton, where he served as an usher.

“We will always remember Bob as the consummate gentleman and all-around great guy,” said Tom Hotopp, a parishioner with Mr. Deasy at St. Mary. “We loved the quick one-liners that seemed to just flow out of his mouth.”

In addition to his daughter, Deborah, Mr. Deasy is survived by his wife, Marie Downs Deasy; son, Mark Deasy of Shaler; and nine grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Maxine Benson Deasy; sister, Patricia Baczewski Klemens; and his son, Air Force Lt. Col. Robert A. Deasy III.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the Kyper Funeral Home, 2702 Mt. Royal Blvd. at Mt. Royal Cemetery, Shaler. A funeral prayer will be said at 9:15 a.m. Thursday in the funeral home, followed by Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in St. Mary of the Assumption Church, 2510 Middle Road, Hampton, with the Revs. John Marcucci and Ed Schleicher officiating.

Interment with military honors will be in Assumption of St. Mary Cemetery in Hampton.

Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or csmith@tribweb.com.

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