Anthony (Tony) Pesta of South Main Street, Ashley, died Saturday morning, Nov. 10, 2012, at the home of his son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Joan Pesta, Cary, N.C.
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Born in Swoyersville, he was the son of the late John and Helen Ustewicz Pesta. He attended Swoyersville High School, where he played varsity football for the Swoyersville Sailors. After the death of his father, Tony had to leave school to work and support his mother and family.
In March 1943, at the age of 19, he enlisted in the Army and was sent to Texas for basic training in automatic weapons and anti-aircraft artillery. During World War II he served in battles in Belgium, Central Europe and the Rhineland, where he was awarded the American Campaign Metal, EAME Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Army of Occupation Medal and was promoted to the rank of sergeant. After the fighting was over, his company stayed in Germany for an additional period of time where Tony supervised German prisoners of war in the rebuilding effort.
He received an honorable discharge in June 1946 and returned to Swoyersville but expressed an interest in moving to Chicago, where some of his Army buddies lived. Tony's mom tasked his brother, Frank, with the job of finding a nice girl who would keep Tony close to home. Frank's girlfriend, Frances, whom he later married, had a friend, Lillian Zawatski, who fit the order. Tony and Lillian were married in June 1948 and he moved to South Main Street in Ashley, where they had two sons and lived happily together for 64 years until her passing this past January.
After getting married, Tony got his blasting license and worked as a coal miner in several mines in the area. When the mines closed he went to work as a lineman for Sardoni Construction and became an electrician. When construction slowed in the 1970s he took a job alongside his wife with the maintenance department of Bishop Hoban High School, where they worked together until they retired. Tony and Lillian were very involved with the school, where they were fixtures at most sporting events and were liked by faculty and students.
Tony was preceded in death by his wife, Lillian; son, Anthony J., in 2002; his grandson, while serving in the U.S. military, Spc. Christopher J. Pesta, in 2006; and siblings, Anna, Adam, Stella, Joseph, Tessie, Sophie, Henry, Frank, Josephine, Leonard and two infants.
He is survived by a son, Robert Pesta and his wife, Joan, Cary, N.C.; grandchildren, Robert Jr. and Jessica Pesta, Emily Cooper; one great-grandson, Anthony Pesta; and daughter-in-law, Mary Ann Pesta, Rome, N.Y.
Tony will be missed by everyone blessed to have known him.
The funeral service will be held at 9:30 a.m. Thursday from Lehman Family Funeral Service Inc., 689 Hazle Ave., Wilkes-Barre, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in Holy Family Church, Sugar Notch.
Military service and interment will be in St. Mary's Cemetery, Hanover Township.
Friends may call from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home and from 9 a.m. until the time of service Thursday.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of Wake County, Raleigh, N.C., or a hospice facility of your choosing.
Condolences may be made by visiting the funeral home website at www.lehmanfuneralhome.com.
Lehman Funeral Home - Wilkes-Barre
689 Hazle Ave. Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Published in Citizens' Voice from Nov. 11 to Nov. 14, 2012