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Carpenter had thirst for American history, visited battle sites

Stephen Huba
| Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
David Durkota of Ligonier died Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, after a long battle with cancer. He was 64.
David Durkota of Ligonier died Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, after a long battle with cancer. He was 64.

David Durkota became a carpenter almost by accident.

After graduating with a degree in criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, he started to do home rehabilitation work with Indiana County Community Action.

“He got quite good at it,” said his wife, Rosalie Durkota.

Although he did an internship at the former State Correctional Institution Greensburg, his professional life went a different direction after college.

Mr. Durkota got a job with the former Wilkins Lumber Co. in Ligonier and, after a layoff, started his own carpentry business, Dave's Tool Box, which he operated for 30 years.

“He especially loved to put wooden decks on homes,” his wife said.

David Durkota of Ligonier died Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, after a long battle with cancer. He was 64.

Born in Braddock on June 27, 1953, he was a son of the late Michael and Anna (Matykow) Durkota. He attended West Mifflin High School and graduated from IUP in 1974.

He did home rehabilitation work, including carpentry, plumbing and electrical work, through his business and sometimes as a subcontractor for Hood Construction, Rosalie Durkota said.

He closed Dave's Tool Box after receiving training as a machinist and worked in that field — for Farzati's Manufacturing Corp. and National Hydraulics — for 10 years.

“He thought that would be a good fit for him because he liked to work with his hands and was good at calculating,” she said. “When you're coding the computer for the machine, it helps to have good skills in math.”

Mr. Durkota was a history buff with a particular interest in American military conflicts, especially World War I and World War II, said his son, Jon Durkota.

He visited Civil War sites in the South, Pearl Harbor, the Alamo, Gettysburg, the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas, and sites associated with the development of the original Jeep in Butler County.

Mr. Durkota also enjoyed target shooting with his family.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Rosalie (Lastik) Durkota, whom he met at IUP; three children, Jonathan, Jeremy and Jessica; and a granddaughter.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Snyder Funeral Home, 402 E. Church St., Ligonier. A blessing service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, shuba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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