TRENTON - Joseph B. Yuhas of Trenton passed away on June 28, 2013, at home, surrounded by his family. He was 89.
The son of the late Joseph Yuhas and Mary Semansky Yuhas, Joe was born in Jessup Pa., spending his formative years among the hard working people in the coal mining region of Northeast Pennsylvania. At the height of the Depression, with the closing of the local coal mines and few opportunities, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corp. Each month, he dutifully sent $22 of his $30 in earnings back home to Jessup to help support his family. He served two tours of duty with the CCC. Near Carlsbad, N.M., he helped construct water irrigation projects on the Navajo Reservation. Years later, during a visit to Arizona, Joe had the opportunity to share his experiences of 60 years earlier at a gathering of Native American leaders. Returning closer to home, he helped build roads in upstate New York which remain in use to this day.
With the outbreak of war, Joe responded to the call of his country. He served in the U.S. Army's 36th Infantry Division, achieving the rank of staff sergeant. The "Texas Division" was one of the first American units to enter combat in the European Theater in World War II
, landing in Northern Africa in 1943, a full year before the Allied D-Day Invasion of France. A heavy machine gunner, Joe ultimately saw combat in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. On December 12, 1944, near the heavily fortified town of Alsace, France, Joe took decisive action by seizing control of a house, setting up his machine gun in support of an American attack. Hostile troops ultimately surrounded the house, inflicting concentrated rifle, grenade, and small arms fire. Demanding surrender, Joe refused. Instead, he rallied his squad, keeping them well organized until a safe withdrawal under the cover of darkness was possible. For his courageous actions, he was awarded the Bronze Star
. During his military service, he earned an additional Bronze Star with an Oak Leaf Cluster, and two Purple Heart
Upon his discharge, Joe joined his family that had relocated to Trenton, and met Olga Kozak on a blind date arranged my mutual friends. They ultimately married, moving into a home in South Trenton where they resided for all of their 65 years together.
For nearly three decades, Joe worked for U.S. Steel, American Bridge Division in Trenton. As a welder, he helped fabricate steel components used on some of the most well-known bridge projects on the east coast, including the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, the Delaware Memorial Bridge, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Following his retirement from American Bridge, he worked for over another decade for the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission as a toll collector.
He was a parishioner of and active volunteer at S.S. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Trenton for nearly 60 years, and more recently, a parishioner of Divine Mercy Parish.
Joe was a labor leader, serving as a Trustee for his United Steelworkers of America Local. He was a regular delegate to the USWA Annual Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. His involvement in organized labor led to political activity. For over 20 years, he served as a member of the Mercer County Democratic Committee, and a volunteer in support of dozens of candidates for public office on the municipal, county, state, and Federal levels.
Joe was an avid golfer, bowler, a frequent visitor to Atlantic City, and enjoyed traveling to visit family in Arizona. He was a member of the South Ward Democratic Club, American Legion Post 93, Mercer County Holy Name Bowling League, and the 36th Infantry Division.
He was predeceased by brothers Bernard and Edward Yuhas, and brothers–in-law Andrew Dill, Harry, Victor and Joseph Kozak, and Chuck Bove.
In addition to his wife, Olga Kozak Yuhas; Joe is survived by brothers John Yuhas of Dayton, Ohio and Joseph Hodak of Ewing; a sister and brother-in-law, Marge and Gene Cardone of Chesterfield; and sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law Mary Dill, Barbara Bove, and Alma Kozack of Morrisville, Pa., John and Delores Kozak of Hamilton; children Linda Yuhas of Phoenix, Ariz., Roberta Honor of Trenton, Joseph F. Yuhas of Phoenix, Ariz. and Michael Yuhas and wife Missy of Ewing; grandchildren, Jennifer and Michael Tannenbaum of Hamilton, David and Jennifer Yuhas of Phoenix, Ariz., Melissa, Kristopher and Jessica Yuhas of Trenton and Sam Ramsey of Ewing; and great-grandchildren, Mara Tannenbaum of Hamilton and Nicholas and Emma Yuhas of Phoenix, Ariz.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, July 3, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. at Divine Mercy Parish, Adeline and Grand Street in Trenton. Entombment will be at Washington Crossing National Veterans Cemetery in Newtown, Pa. Visitation will take place on Tuesday, July 2, from 5 to 9 p.m. and Wednesday from 8 to 9 a.m. at Kutch Funeral Home, located at 215 Grand St. in Trenton.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Joe's memory may be made to the Anchor House Foundation, PO Box 2357, Trenton NJ 08607.