ShareThis Page
Obituary Stories

Teacher, firefighter from West Newton shared love of music

Stephen Huba
| Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, 11:00 p.m.
John A. “Jack” Savinski, 70, of West Newton, died Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018.
John A. “Jack” Savinski, 70, of West Newton, died Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018.

Wherever he went, Jack Savinski touched people's lives with his love of music.

He brought music to a generation of students at the Yough School District, played in a firemen's band in Mt. Pleasant and helped found a community band in Jeannette that is still going strong.

“Until the day he died, he was involved,” his daughter Melissa McWilliams said.

Mr. Savinski taught in the Yough School District for 38 years, first as a band director at the junior and senior high schools and then as a band teacher at the elementary level. He played clarinet and saxophone.

“He spent a lot of years teaching others, setting an example for others, and touched so many lives,” his daughter said.

John A. “Jack” Savinski of West Newton died Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, at Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, after suffering a heart attack. He was 70.

Born in Greensburg on Feb. 28, 1947, he was a son of Naomi (Free) Savinski and the late Anthony J. Savinski. He graduated from Jeannette High School in 1965.

Mr. Savinski studied music education at Saint Vincent College and got his master's degree at Duquesne University. He taught at Yough his entire career.

While at the elementary school, he organized a concert series called “Let's Go Band” that blended the band programs of all district elementary schools.

“It was something that everybody looked forward to, and that they took with them and remembered,” his daughter said. “He made such an impact on people in music and how he taught.”

Mr. Savinski played in the Mt. Pleasant Fireman's Band and the Jeannette Community Band, which he helped form for the city's centennial celebration in 1988. As recently as last year, he was listed as a clarinet player on the band's website. He played with childhood friends and former students, his daughter said.

Mr. Savinski was a longtime volunteer firefighter, first with the Saint Vincent fire brigade and later with Herminie Station No. 15. He was instrumental in restoring a 1926 fire engine so it could be used in parades and displays, she said.

His daughter said she remembers going to the fire station with her father when she was a child. If there was a fire call while her mother was working, Mr. Savinski took her with him.

“He had me trained — if the fire whistle blew, I knew to run to the steps, put my shoes and coat on and go to the fire hall with him,” she said. “I would just go and sit in the fire hall and watch TV.”

Mr. Savinski is survived by his wife, Elizabeth “Betty” (Rhoads) Savinski; two daughters, Melissa McWilliams and Susan Martin, both of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and three grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Edward Parish. Interment will follow in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Hempfield.

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

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me