Stephen "Steve" John Barnic Jr., 89, passed away suddenly on Sept. 23, 2013, in his home in Old Forge, Pa., where he resided with his loving wife of 68 years, Leona "Lee" Barnic.
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He was born on August 27, 1924, to parents Stephen Barnic and Sophie Douglas Barnic in West Scranton, Pa. Steve and Lee were married on May 5, 1945, shortly after returning home from Iceland where he proudly served his country in World War II while enlisted in the Construction Branch of the U.S. Navy. This battalion of personnel, created with the intent to be able to combat the logistical and infrastructure challenges of fighting in distant theaters around the world while supporting the U.S. Navy and Marines, would be officially named the Seabees. Their motto was Construmus Batumius, We Build, We Fight. That experience would never leave him, and his legendary stories of crossing the North Atlantic Seas and bearing the winds of Reykjavik will remain with his children and grandchildren forever.
Steve worked his entire life. His father was a Burschel Dairy Milkman in West Scranton and as a young boy of only eight years, arose each morning around 4 a.m. to run the wooden cases of milk, cream and butter from the horse-drawn wagons to the homes of Scranton. Afterword, he would complete his paper route before he headed out for school. After school, he would work at the local drugstore stocking shelves, mopping floors, serving ice cream and filling candy bags until closing. By the age of sixteen, he became the personal chauffeur to Mr. James Blair, a prominent and affluent banker in the city whose stately, white, recently renovated home still stands today as an iconic structure on the corner of Jefferson and Mulberry. From there, he departed the area for employment in Rhode Island where he worked a lathe in a defense plant that manufactured submarine components. While in Rhode Island, the war escalated and like many of our young men of that time, he enlisted in the service. After his return from overseas and subsequent marriage to his wife, he began working as a mechanic for Coyer Motor Company on Wyoming Avenue. His intelligence, personality, mechanical skills and work ethic were soon to be noticed by more than just his employer as Chrysler Corp. of Detroit, Mich., would soon offer him a position within their Service Division in the Philadelphia Zone. Again, he showcased both his mechanical and personal communication skills as he excelled in various roles within the division. His people skills would attract the most attention and Chrysler promoted him to a management position within its sales division, where he would spend more than 25 years of his successful 34-year career before retirement in 1989.
His personality and genuine love of people would continue to until his death. The employees of many of the areas grocery stores and pharmacies are sure to be able to recount daily encounters with Steve with a smile on their face.
He and his wife Lee had five children, 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren who they loved dearly. Life, though, would take a harsh turn for them in their latter years as Alzheimer's would strip away his wife's memory of their entire life together. He cooked for her, cleaned for her and cared for her every need until the moment of his passing. There is no doubt that the Lord has prepared a special resting place for him. He will be missed by all who knew him and he will loved forever by his family.
Steve was preceded in death by a son, Brian. He is survived by his wife, Leona; his daughter, Patricia and husband, Joe of Old Forge; his son, Stephen and his wife, Beth Ann of Inkerman; his son, Greg and his wife, Colleen of Moosic; and his daughter, Shannon and her daughter, Rhyan of Old Forge; 12 grandchildren, Joseph Gaughan, Shelly Egan, Kelly Dolphin, Amy Gaughan-Kurpiewski, Kevin Gaughan, Stephen Barnic IV, Erin Sciandra, Kara Wrubel, Christopher Barnic, Brittany Barnic and Bridget Barnic Rhyan Barnic; 12 great-grandchildren; and a sister, Josephine Griffiths, Delaware.
A 9:15 a.m. blessing service by Rev. Francis L. Pauselli will begin the funeral on Friday from the Thomas P. Kearney Funeral Home Inc., 517 N. Main St., Old Forge, with a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at St. Lawrence O'Toole Church, 620 S. Main St., Old Forge. Interment with full military rites by the AMVETS Honor Guard will follow at Cathedral Cemetery, Scranton.
Relatives and friends may pay their respects on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Ann's Basilica's Stations of the Cross Memorial, 1250 St. Ann's Street in Scranton, PA 18504. Please visit www.kearneyfuneralhome.com for directions or to leave a condolence.
Kearney Funeral Homes
517 North Main Street Old Forge, PA 18518-1811
Published in Scranton Times on Sept. 25, 2013