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Veteran maintained allegiance to wife, country

| Thursday, April 4, 2002

Ed Puskar wasn't going to let military red tape stand between himself and the young German woman he loved and wanted to marry.

He was told by the U.S. Army that he could marry Hilde Bind but wouldn't be able to bring her to the United States because she wasn't an American citizen. After getting married, Mr. Puskar returned to the States, was discharged and, for two years, worked at McFeely Brick Yard in the Latrobe area to raise money to return to Germany and bring back his wife and 3-year-old son.

Edward A. Puskar, a resident of Hostetter, Westmoreland County, died of complications from cancer on Monday, April 1, 2002, at UPMC Shadyside. He was 76.

His son, Michael, who was born in Germany, said that learning English was difficult for his mother.

"She picked up words as she went along but she never lost her German accent," Michael Puskar recalled. "Mom had a good life with Dad. She was a great baker. We always had baked goods around the house."

Hilde Bind Puskar died in 1995.

Although he had been bitter about the way the Army had handled the matter regarding his wife, Mr. Puskar became an ardent supporter of service organizations, including the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

As a member of Pleasant Unity VFW Post 8643, he helped to organize the post's Honor Guard and served as commander until his death.

"When we were kids, we'd go with our father to at least 10 to 12 Memorial Day ceremonies," Michael Puskar said. "And as soon as we were old enough, my brothers and I joined the Honor Guard and accompanied him."

Born in Southwest, Westmoreland County, and raised in Unity, Mr. Puskar was one of eight children in the family of Joseph and Elizabeth Maurer Puskar. His father, who worked in the Jamison mine, often commented that he saw daylight only once a week.

As a student, Mr. Puskar had the reputation of being a bookworm. By the time he entered Hurst High School, he had read many of the books in the school's library.

In 1943, following graduation from high school, Mr. Puskar enlisted in the Army Air Corps, where he served as an airplane mechanic. With the end of World War II, Mr. Puskar wanted to remain in the service. He was transferred to the Army Military Police in Germany.

He was employed by Latrobe Steel Co. for 37 years.

In his later years, Mr. Puskar became a serious stamp collector.

"My father had one of the finest collection of German stamps," Michael Puskar said. "He'd participate in stamp shows at the Youngwood Fire Hall and would walk away with stacks of ribbons. In fact, when other local stamp collectors heard that my father was going to participate, they wouldn't bother to enter."

Mr. Puskar is survived by his sons, Eric of Penn Hills, Michael P. of Latrobe and Eugene of Hotstetter; daughters, Linda Yasurek of Pleasant Unity and Juanita Davis of Ligonier, and nine grandchildren.

He was predeceased by his brothers and sisters, Rose Becmer, Agnes Veshnesky, Mary Puskar, John Puskar, Elizabeth Kmetz, Richard Puskar and Irene Heidi.

Visitation is from 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at Gaut-Bacha Funeral Home Inc., Pleasant Unity. A blessing service will be held at 9:20 a.m. Friday at the funeral home, followed by a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. in St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Whitney, with the Rev. Chad R. Ficorilli as celebrant.

Military services by his Honor Guard unit will follow at Unity Cemetery, Unity Township.

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