Longtime Latrobe councilman, municipal authority member dies from crash injuries
A longtime former member of Latrobe Council and the city municipal authority board died Monday from injuries related to a vehicle crash last week south of Twin Lakes Park, Allegheny County authorities reported.
Rudolph A. “Rudy” Prohaska, 92, of Latrobe died at UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh.
Prohaska died from chest injuries suffered in head-on collision between his car and another that happened about 9:20 a.m. July 23 on Donohoe Road in Unity, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Prohaska and the other driver were taken to Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg, according to firefighters at the scene. Prohaska was later moved to the Pittsburgh hospital.
State police investigated, but a report has not been issued. The identity of the other driver was not available from police.
Prohaska was born in Loyalhanna in 1927, the son of the late Rudolph A. and Anna Rose Prohaska.
His daughter, Karen Rafferty of North Huntingdon, recalled that her father’s mother, Anna Rose Prohaska, was a cook for Fred Rogers’ family. Sometimes Anna Prohaska would bring along her son, Rudolph, to play with young Fred.
Rafferty remembered her father telling her that one Christmas when he was young, the Rogers family limousine drove up to the house and he received toys as gifts, some Fred Rogers had played with and others that were never opened.
Prohaska dropped out of Latrobe High School in 1944 so he could enlist in the Navy. To get into the service, Rafferty said, “he lied about his age.”
Prohaska was a transportation supervisor for Kennametal Inc. before retiring in 1984. He also was a staff member of the Kennametal employees union. He later became a manager, working at company plants in Kingston, Chestnut Ridge and the main plant in Latrobe.
He was a 5th Ward councilman in the 1970s and 1980s, Rafferty said. He also was a member of the Latrobe Water Authority for about five years, she said.
Prohaska chaired council’s community development committee in the late 1970s when one of its major projects was improvement of Sulphur Run to help control flooding.
Former Latrobe Mayor Jim Gebicki, who grew up near Prohaska’s home on Avenue D, recalled him as “a gentleman who commanded respect. He was always clean-cut and well-dressed, and he was fastidious about his property. He had the most beautiful front lawn.”
Prohaska was preceded in death by his wife, Stella E. Warchol Prohaska, whom he married in November 1948.
He loved model railroads and belonged to a model railroading club, Rafferty said.
“That was a joy of his,” she said.
He also was a woodworker who made clocks.
He enjoyed polka dancing with friendVera Ferry. They were members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Polka Club, Rafferty said. They had been to Punxsutawney about a week before the crash.
In addition to his daughter, he is survived by two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Frederick Funeral Home, 1543 Ligonier St., Latrobe. Military honors will be conducted at 9:15 a.m. Friday in the funeral home by the Latrobe-Derry Veterans Honor Guard.
A funeral Mass will follow at 10 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church with the Rev. Eric J. Dinga officiating. Burial will be in Greensburg Catholic Cemetery, Hempfield Township.
Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter .