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Veteran known for compassion, love of camping

| Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Richard Truxal, 87, of Greensburg, died Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, in Westmoreland Manor.

Richard Truxal of Greensburg loved to go camping with his family, so much so that he took them across the nation in a camper and flew to Hawaii to go camping on the islands, his family said.

“We didn't even know that hotels existed. We thought everybody went camping,” said his son, Jay Truxal of Greensburg.

Richard Truxal was so enthusiastic about camping that in the mid-1960s, he became a charter member and one-time president of the area's Ten-Tra-Hi camping club, which stands for tent-trailer-hiking, his son said. The organization was chartered through the National Campers & Hikers Association.

Mr. Truxal, 87, died on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, of complications from heart disease in Westmoreland Manor, Hempfield.

He was born Sept. 18, 1926, in Mutual, son of the late Roy and Laura Haines Truxal. He grew up on the family's dairy farm.

As a teenager, Mr. Truxal left Greensburg High School after his junior year and enlisted in the Navy in 1943. He served aboard the USS Amsterdam and fought in the South Pacific during World War II, Jay Truxal said.

Mr. Truxal was a longtime active member of First Reformed United Church of Christ, Greensburg, where he was an usher and served on the church consistory, the church's governing body, said the Rev. Steve Craft, church pastor.

“He was very active in our various ministries,” Craft said.

Craft said Mr. Truxal's ancestors were among the charter members of the church, which was founded in 1796 by German immigrants.

He was a retired mould maker and plant manager for the former Keystone Mould Co., which was located in South Greensburg.

He volunteered for Tri-City Meals on Wheels in Southwest Greensburg, delivering food to area shut-ins for about a dozen years. Jay Truxal recalled that his father would give one of the shut-ins on his route a hair cut and shave, because the senior citizen was unable to leave his home.

“He was a compassionate guy,” Jay Truxal said.

Mr. Truxal was preceded in death in 1996 by his first wife of 48 years, Gladys Schindler Truxal; a sister, Helen Truxal; and two brothers, Charles and Wayne Truxal.

He is survived by his wife of 15 years, Norma Jean Stofko Truxal; two daughters, Beverly Bortz of Greensburg and Lori Hughes of Monroeville; one son, Jay Truxal of Greensburg; one stepdaughter, Paula Hildenbrand of Madison; nine grandchildren and a stepgranddaughter.

Family and friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday in Kepple-Graft Funeral Home, 524 N. Main St., Greensburg. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in First Reformed United Church of Christ, with the Rev. Steve Craft officiating. Interment, with full military honors accorded by the South Greensburg American Legion Post 981, will be held in Westmoreland County Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to First Reformed United Church of Christ, 312 S. Maple Ave., Greensburg, PA 15601.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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