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John Stuka

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John Joseph Stuka

1917 - 2013 HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. John Joseph Stuka, known as "Mush," to everyone who knew him growing up in the Clay Hill section of Hoosick Falls.

Mush was born Sept. 23, 1917, son of Andrew and Rozalia (Symolon) Stuka. Mush attended St. Mary's Academy.

He was the husband of the late Janet Carolyn (Wright) Stuka who died Feb. 18, 2001. They were married Nov. 18, 1939, and together for 62 years.

Mush enlisted in the Army Aircorp on March 16, 1943, where he was a Ball Turret Gunner in a B24 named "Lady Luck." Between April 29, 1944, and August 22, 1944, he flew a total of 51 combat sorties, some of them being the Ploesti Oil Refineries on the 10th and 17th of August, 1944. In June of 1944, the Lady Luck was involved in the Vienna, Austria, bombing and was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. Among other medals awarded the crew were two Air Medals and two Distinguished Cross Medals with four bronze battle stars.

Mush was formerly employed at Wright Way Laundry in Bennington, Vt., owned by his brothers-in-law, Lester and Arthur Wright. He was also employed at the Specialty Mfg. Company and retired in May of 1986 from the former Wood Flong Corp., both in Hoosick Falls.

In his youth, he played baseball for the City League in Hoosick Falls and was known as "First Ward's Steller Pitcher," and was second in the batting averages with an average of .425. He also enjoyed gardening and loved teasing his grandchildren with his famous cucumber in a bottle trick. He was famous for his sense of Humor and quick wit. Mush had many favorite fishing spots at Babcock Lake where he spent many summers at the family camp.

He is survived by two daughters, Emmy Piritz (Carl) of Hoosick Falls, and Rosemarie Cave of Liverpool, N.Y.; a son, William Stuka of Wells, N.Y.; eight grandchildren, Michael and Robert Piritz, Lisa Davis, Adam, Janet and Ethan Foucher, Brandon and Jennifer Stuka; 20 great grandchildren, eight great-great- grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by four sisters, Helen Coulter, Florence Scoville, Clara Pettibone and Sophie Petralia.

FUNERAL NOTICE: Funeral service were held Saturday, June 22, with burial at St. Mary's Cemetery in Hoosick Falls.

Arrangements were by the MAHAR FUNERAL HOME, 43 Main Street in Hoosick Falls.

The family thanks the doctors and nurses at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, the staff at the Center for Living & Rehabilitation and Dr. Marcus Martinez for their kind and loving care.
Published in Bennington Banner on June 24, 2013
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