Gabriel "Gabe" Maskarinec of Idaho Falls died peacefully at home of old age one day short of his 90th birthday Tuesday, September 24, 2013.
Gabe was born to Michael and Mary (Yablonsky) Maskarinec, immigrants from the former Austria- Hungarian Empire, in Sutersville, Pennsylvania, on Sep- tember 25, 1923. Baptized at Saints Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Church in Braddock, Pennsylvania, Gabe learned his "Otche Nash" (the Lord's Prayer in Old Church Slavonic) at the end of a ruler at the church school.
High school graduation was followed by six weeks working in the Signal Corps in Philadelphia, which led him to join the U.S. Navy Air Force (1943-1947) as a radioman/gunner, stationed in Pensacola, Florida, and attending officers' training in Naval Sciences at Harvard University. He received bachelor's degrees in metallurgical engineering and business administration after 12 years of night school at the University of Pittsburgh. During this time, he worked for Westinghouse, later working at Westinghouse Nuclear at the NRTS, transfer- ring to Idaho Falls in 1966.
He married Barbara Ann Lorinc of Pitcairn, Pennsylvania, in 1949, whose heart he won by presenting her with a white orchid on Easter, when his income came the hard way, shoveling coal into blast furnaces in the Pittsburgh steel mills. Gabe and Barbara celebrated their 64th anniversary last month.
Besides logging thousands of miles driving four children to art, music and sports lessons and activities, Gabe put his heart and mind to many interests: playing softball and bowling; serving as a borough councilman; serving as a lector, usher and Eucharistic minister in the Catholic Church, Bonneville Country Jail and Behavioral Health Center; helping organize the Idaho Falls Food Bank; promoting literacy through VISTA; and building community understanding of mental health by expanding NAMI in Idaho. He inherited his love of horse racing from his mother.
A man of great empathy, loyalty and love of God, Gabe was also blessed with a happy and easygoing disposition. Anyone who met him would describe him as "a really good guy." Gabe is survived by his wife, Barbara; son, Gregory (Gertraud Sommer) of Honolulu, Hawaii (children Malika and Maya); daughter, Karen Maskarinec (Richard Crabtree) of Chugiak, Alaska (children Gwenyth and Steven); son, Gary (Bernadette Jilka) of Tucson, Arizona (children Luke Gabriel, Cerelia, and Genevieve); son, Gerald of Idaho Falls; four great-grandchildren; and his sister, Genevieve Blasko of East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
He was preceded in death by his sisters, Mame, Shorty, Martha and Millie; and two brothers, Michael and Raphael, completing the trio of archangels, now celebrating their reunion in their heavenly home.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, September 30, at Christ the King Catholic Church, 1690 E. 17th St., with Fathers Raul Covarrubias and Gerald Funke, co-celebrants. A rosary will be recited from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, with a viewing from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Buck-Miller-Hann Funeral Home, 825 E. 17th St. in Idaho Falls. Interment will be in Ammon Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be to
, or by placing a bet on a trifecta in Gabe's memory.
Online condolences for the family may be left at www.buckmillerhann.com.