Decorated veteran of East McKeesport believed in working hard
Throughout his life, Gene Fialkovich let his actions speak louder than his words.
As an Army infantryman during World II, Mr. Fialkovich was awarded the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
Eugene M. Fialkovich, 85, of East McKeesport, formerly of Braddock, died Wednesday, July 29, 2009.
On Aug. 6, 1944, during the heavy fighting around Granville, France, Mr. Fialkovich volunteered to go into a battle area and help pull out wounded GIs so they could be transported to field hospitals.
On Oct. 29, 1944, while fighting at Saint Remy, France, he once again volunteered, while under heavy enemy fire, to help clear an enemy roadblock so U.S. trucks carrying supplies could go through.
And in 1945 during the last days of the fighting, he was wounded in Germany
"Very few of Gene's friends were aware of his accomplishment in battle," said his son-in-law, John Ontko of North Braddock.
Born and raised in Braddock, Eugene Fialkovich was one of five children in the family of steelworker Michael and Frances Bonn Fialkovich.
In 1943, a year after he graduated from Braddock High School, Mr. Fialkovich was inducted into the Army and placed in an infantry outfit. It wasn't long before his unit was sent to the battlefields of Europe.
"Gene had quite a temper in his younger days," said his son-in-law. "But he began to mellow in later years.
"He was also a strict dad," John Ontko added. "When I was dating my wife, Lucy, he let me know in no uncertain terms what time she had to be home. And believe me, I had Lucy home on time."
After his discharge from the military in 1945, Mr. Fialkovich began his 30 years of employment with Bethlehem Steel Co., in Rankin and later in the Leetsdale plant.
Two years later, he married Mary Loposky of Munhall.
"Gene was a hard worker," said his son-in-law. "Even after he retired, he kept busy by working at small jobs."
Mr. Fialkovich is survived by his wife, Mary L. Loposky; a daughter, Lucy Ontko of North Braddock; three grandchildren; two great-grandchildren, and a sister, Velma Schcosky of Churchill.
He was preceded in death by his brothers, Clarence and Michael, and his sister, Sissy.
Friends will be received from 2 to 8 p.m. today in the Patrick T. Lanigan Funeral Home, 700 Linden Ave., East Pittsburgh, where a Parastas will be prayed at 3:30 p.m.
A Divine Liturgy will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in SS Peter and Paul Byzantine Church, Braddock, followed by burial with military honors in Monongahela Cemetery, North Braddock.