Latrobe machinist George Schrack loved family, working on cars
Deborah Kosor of Ligonier remembers going on Sunday drives in her father’s Chevy Chevelle, and listening to eight-track oldies as she and her siblings fought over who would get to sit on “the hump” in the back seat.
She remembers waiting for him to come home from work at Morgan Advanced Ceramics in Latrobe, because he would bring her the little caramel candies she loved.
“We had everything we needed,” Kosor said. “Maybe not everything we wanted, but we certainly didn’t go without.”
George H. Schrack Sr. of Latrobe died Sunday, Dec. 20, 2018, of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. He was 78.
Mr. Schrack was born Feb. 1, 1940, in Latrobe, a son of the late Howard J. and Beatrice M. (Haase) Schrack.
“He was the only boy, and there were four girls to deal with,” said his sister Dorothy Ann Shaffer of Upper Marlboro, Md. “He was a quiet man and a good listener, but he would give you his two cents if you asked.”
Mr. Schrack worked for 46 years at the Glass Beads Co., which became Morgan Advanced Ceramics, first as a tool-and-die worker and eventually as shop manager.
“He was a craftsman,” said his daughter Cindy Ziegenfus of Latrobe. “Originally he went there as a tool-and-die worker, worked his way up and took over the shop in the 1960s. He was very good at what he did.”
According to his son George Jr., there wasn’t much Mr. Schrack couldn’t figure out how to do.
“If something needed fixed, he’d figure out how,” Schrack Jr. said. “Being a machinist, if something needed made, he would figure out how to make it.”
That included making his own dump truck.
“He designed the bed and put the whole thing together,” Schrack Jr. said.
Mr. Schrack met his wife of 56 years, Betty, when the two went on a blind date. They were married on May 5, 1962.
“He was a very ambitious boy, and man,” Betty said. “He was a hard worker, very serious and very stubborn, but also very loving and kind.”
Mr. Schrack’s granddaughter, Tiffany Jackson of Latrobe, can recall growing up around her grandfather’s junkyard off Route 982.
“Still to this day, anytime I smell car oil, it takes me back to my childhood watching him work on cars,” Jackson said.
Granddaughter Crystal Johnson of Greensburg agreed.
“I can still remember the smell of the old truck exhaust,” she said. “He always had the cutest nicknames for the grandkids, names only he used. Mine was ‘Six-Pack’ because of my tummy. There was ‘Cookie’ and ‘Buddy.’ He always had a nickname ready.”
Mr. Schrack’s sister, Diana Neal of Latrobe, fondly recalled her brother’s annual visits on Christmas Eve.
“He’d come by, he’d bring me a big poinsettia, and we’d have ham sandwiches,” she said. “He did that for a lot of years.
“He was just always there for me and was very special,” she said.
Mr. Schrack is survived by his wife, Betty; his three children, Cindy Ziegenfus, Deborah Kosor and George Schrack Jr; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren and three sisters.
An 11 a.m. funeral service will be held at the John J. Lopatich Funeral Home, 601 Weldon St., Latrobe, with interment to follow in St. James Lutheran Cemetery in Youngstown.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.