Rillton’s George Matovich valued family, heritage
Two things were important to George Matovich — his grandchildren and his Serbian heritage.
He began taking one granddaughter to practices, games and tournaments when she was 6 years old and continued taking her throughout her school career.
“He was always on the sidelines,” said his daughter, Melissa Aird. “I’m lucky he was retired by the time my kids were active. … He had all the time in the world to just be with them.”
Aird estimated her father attended hundreds of Little League games, soccer games and basketball games for his grandchildren. “He was their greatest fan,” she said.
George Matovich of Rillton died Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, at his home. He was 74.
Born on Jan. 22, 1945, he was a son of the late Peter and Anna (Perich) Matijevich. He graduated from Sewickley High School in 1962 and enlisted in the Marines. After a year, he transferred to the Navy and was honorably discharged in 1966.
Upon his return, he went to work at Westinghouse in East Pittsburgh. After being laid off, he continued his career at the U.S. Steel Mon Valley Works, where he worked as a crane mechanic. He retired in 2001.
Mr. Matovich was proud of his Serbian heritage and attended Holy Ascension Serbian Orthodox Church in Youngwood. “He was 100% Serbian,” Aird said.
Aird said she and her sisters, although raised Catholic, celebrated “Serbian Christmas” with their father on Jan. 7. They enjoyed Serbian potato salad, Serbian Christmas bread and other traditional foods.
“When I was a kid, it was an extra day I would get home from school,” she said. “We always thought of it as Serbian Christmas, but for him it was just Christmas. It was important for him to observe the Orthodox holidays.”
Aird described her father as a simple man but not when it came to woodworking. In his wood shop, he made furniture for family members and for his house.
“There was nothing he couldn’t make. … The intricacy was amazing,” she said.
Mr. Matovich was preceded in death by a daughter, Yvonne Ference Crawford; and three brothers.
He is survived by three daughters, Denise Ference, of Madison, Shannon M. Shupe and her husband, Kenneth, of Smithton, and Melissa Aird and her husband, Christopher, of Irwin; and five grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Holy Ascension Serbian Orthodox Church, 24 N. Third St., Youngwood. Interment with full military honors will follow in Youngwood Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the church.
Joseph W. Nickels Funeral Home in Herminie was in charge of arrangements.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .