PLAINS TOWNSHIP — Joseph Prociak, 87, of Margaret Street, Plains Township, passed away at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia on Monday, March 10, 2014.
Born in Plains Township, he was a son of the late Olga Utrysko Prociak and Joseph Prociak Sr.
Joe, who was fondly called "Butch" by his dear family and friends, graduated from Plains Memorial High School in 1944. In addition to the classroom, Joe excelled in football, basketball and baseball. He was named to the All-Scholastic Team for his achievements in football. Joe was a member of the first class of King's College and also attended the University of Scranton.
Joe was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, enlisting at the age of 17 while he was still in high school. He served on the Destroyer USS Hughes, which bombarded Japan during World War II. The ship itself earned 14 Battle Stars in serving throughout the Pacific. While serving on board, Joe survived a kamikaze attack during which many men were killed and wounded. In addition, the USS Hughes was severely damaged. Joe suffered a shrapnel wound but, fortunately, was not injured seriously. He was honorably discharged in 1946 with the rank of Petty Officer, Third Class.
Joe was extremely proud he was able to serve our country in the U.S. Navy during World War II. While on board the USS Hughes, Joe received numerous medals, including the American Theater Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Medal with three Bronze Stars, the Philippine Liberation Medal with two Bronze Stars, the Occupation of Japan Medal, the Victory Medal, the Navy Combat Ribbon, the Presidential Citation Medal from the Philippines and several other awards.
He was a member of the Joseph E. Conlon Post 558 American Legion in Plains Township and the Polish American Veterans Club, Plains Township, for 69 years. He was an original member of the U.S. Navy War Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Tin Can Sailors, Somerset, Mass.
Prior to his retirement in 1990, Joe was employed by The Lion Inc. as a brewer. He brewed Gibbons and Stegmaier beers and various other drinks for more than 38 years.
Mr. Prociak was very dedicated to his Catholic faith and was a member of Ss. Peter & Paul Church in Plains Township. He always stressed to his children and grandchildren to lead good religious lives, and that God will help you through your challenges. He was so proud of all the scholastic and athletic achievements of his children and grandchildren. Granddaddy was their biggest fan and they all valued his encouragement and loving support.
Joe was an avid gardener and was famous for his tomatoes, which were the best and biggest in the neighborhood. He was a great handyman around the house and could take care of just about everything. He loved to paint artwork as a hobby and he also enjoyed reading, crossword puzzles and bird watching.
In 2001, Joe was inducted into the Plains Sports Hall of Fame, recognizing his achievements in the sports of football,
Mr. Prociak was involved with local blood drives for many years and received recognition from the American Red Cross for donating more than 100 pints of blood.
In addition to his parents, Joe was preceded in death by his sister, Ann F. Prociak; and his brother, Myron "Jerry" Prociak.
Surviving are his wife, the former Florence Gill Prociak, to whom he was happily married for 61 years; daughter, Ann Marie Durako and her husband, Andrew Durako, Laflin; daughter, Mary Alice Trainor and her husband, Francis Trainor, Jenkins Township; son, Atty. Joseph J. Prociak and his wife, Lynn, Forty Fort; son, Michael F. Prociak and his wife, Patricia, Jenkins Township; 12 loving grandchildren, Allison, Andrew, Krystina and Marissa Durako, Joseph Martin, Kalie and Kyle Prociak, Caitlin Rose Trainor and Michael Joseph, Rebecca, Nicholas and Matthew Prociak; nieces and nephews.
The family expresses their sincere appreciation to Dr. Patrick Kerrigan for his untiring efforts in taking care of Joe during his illness.
The funeral will be held at 9 a.m. Friday from Yeosock Funeral Home, 40 S. Main St., Plains Township. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. at Ss. Peter & Paul Church, 13 Hudson Road, Plains Township. Interment will be in Ss. Peter & Paul Cemetery, Plains Township. Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Colleen Shea Children's Foundation, 1086 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702.