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Eugene George Rutkowski

January 31, 1927 - February 8, 2020

U.S. Veteran

Burial Date February 13, 2020

Vistation will be held on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the funeral home.

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OBITUARY OF EUGENE “GENE” RUTKOWSKI, as written by his own hand…

Eugene “Gene” Rutkowski, 93, a resident of New Bethlehem, PA since 1953 passed away Saturday morning, February 8, 2020. He was born on January 31, 1927, Waterford, PA, the son of Theodore and Walerya Rutkowski who are since deceased.

1944

Inspired by the Allied Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, he enlisted in the Army Air Corp Reserve Program at 17 years of age on August 2, 1944. He qualified to train as a Pilot, Bombardier, or Navigator. He was called to active duty on June 8, 1945. He completed his training at Kessler Field Air Base and Scott Field.

During World War II, he served 12 months with the 8th Air Force in the E.T.O. (enlisted to officer training) followed by 3 years in the Occupation Forces of the US Air Force in Germany and the Cold War and Russia Berlin blockade.

Upon his active duty of 4 years, he was discharged July 30, 1949 and enlisted in the US Air Force Reserve and was discharged July 30, 1953.

He graduated from Slippery Rock State College in 1953 with a degree in Health and Physical Education and Biological Science.

He participated in football and baseball and was a 4 year Letterman in the “Rock” Varsity Club.

A standout southpaw pitcher, he had the distinction of the “ROCK” opening season and started all four seasons. He was elected Captain his last two seasons.

He married his college sweetheart Elizabeth (Hoodie) Miller after a 3 year courtship at the ROCK on August 22, 1953 in Pleasant Hills, Pittsburgh, PA.

In 1953, he began a 36 1/2 year career with the Redbank Valley School District as a Health and Physical Education Instructor. Mr. Rutkowski served as Athletic Director for 17 years and was responsible for implementing the present Redbank Valley Christmas Wrestling Tournament. He served as Head Basketball Coach, Assistant Football Coach for many years, and Head Track and Field Coach. He compiled over 120 victories and two District IX Championships.

He was a registered PIAA Basketball, Football, Volleyball, and Track and Field referee throughout his athletic career.

He was instrumental in charting the PIAA Basketball, Volleyball and Track and Field programs for Clarion County. He served as Secretary/Treasurer from inception to his retirement in 1990. Gene also served as a Secretary/Treasurer of the Northwest Mountain Coaches Association for 17 years which promoted the betterment of coaches within high school programs.

Gene was a lifelong avid outdoorsman. Fall, winter and spring, he walked the woods and streams with a fishing pole, compound bow, shotgun, rifle or muzzleloader as to what was in-season with his family, friends, and extended family relatives from Pleasant Hills.

He enjoyed organizing and hosting trout fishing camping for the first day of Trout Season, with a traditional Saturday night fish (trout) fry for 20 or more of family and friends for 42+ years. He would spend weekends in Cameron and Potter counties fishing Driftwood and Sinnamahoning waters.

He was a Life member of the PSEA & NEA, and a life-time member of Post VFW 419 of New Bethlehem, PA

He belonged to St. Charles Catholic Church in New Bethlehem, PA.

He worked as a professional paint contractor for 40 years during the summer months and full time upon his teaching retirement. When asked if he was a painter, his reply was “No, I am a Beautification Engineer as anyone can paint”.

He is survived by his wife of over 66 years, Elizabeth R. Rutkowski of New Bethlehem, three daughters, Deborah Jo Rutkowski of Genesee, Sandra G. Rutkowski of Pittsburgh, and Elizabeth A. Griffin of Kossuth, two sons, Gary T. Rutkowski of Rimersburg and Perry E. Rutkowski of Eustis, Florida, eleven grandchildren, Larkin, Kristen, Michael, Michelle, Mitchell, Jonathan, Emily, Aubrey, Kalob, Ian, and Gavin, and eight great grandchildren.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death a grandson, Jacob T. Griffin, five sisters, Thelma, Florence, Bertha, Anna, and Irene, and eight brothers, Benjamin, Raymond, Theodore Jr., Leroy, John, Edward, Edmund, and Matthew.

Visitation will be on Wednesday, February 12, from 2 to 7 at the Alcorn Funeral Home in Hawthorn. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, February 13, at 11:00 am at the St. Charles Catholic Church in New Bethlehem with Father Samuel Bungo serving as celebrant.

Interment will follow in the St. Charles Catholic Cemetery in New Bethlehem where the Walter W. Craig Post 354 of New Bethlehem American Legion will honor their fallen comrade.

Online condolences may be sent to the Rutkowski family at www.alcornfuneralhome.com.