Robert J. Usaitis (1937 - 2017)

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Robert J. Usaitis, 79, of Kingston, passed away at home on March 6, with his family by his side, two weeks before his 80th birthday after a very long battle with cancer.
Bob was born on March 26, 1937, in Kingston. He was the son of the late Peter and Anna Raffac Usaitis. He was married to the former Mary Ann Palencar.
Bob graduated from Kingston High School, Class of 1955, where he was an outstanding athlete in Track and Field, winning many awards in the high jump and pole vault events. He furthered his education at Penn State University, where he received an engineering degree in manufacturing and design. He began his career at Melpar Corp. in Virginia, where he worked on the design of aircraft simulators. After several years, he returned to the Wyoming Valley to work for Sterling Engineering/Altec Corp., later retiring from Columbia Industries, Inc. in Berwick.
He was an avid hunter and fisherman and truly enjoyed all that nature had to offer. He passed on his love of nature and outdoor sports to his children and grandchildren. As a parent and grandparent, he enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren participate in their sporting events. He was so proud of their academic and athletic accomplishments.
Bob met his wife, Mary Ann, while competing in an archery event. Bob and his wife were married 50 years on Thanksgiving Day. He enjoyed traveling with his wife, children, grandchildren and extended family, spending many good times on beach trips, skiing, hiking, biking, canoeing, and visiting National Parks from Alaska to Maine.
Bob was a member of several community organizations including the Sacred Heart of Wilkes-Barre Foundation, Anthracite Archery Club, and was the past president of the CYC Swim Parent Organization. He was a big fan of Penn State football and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He is survived by his wife and two children, Sheryl Ripa and her husband, Dan, Dallas, and Dr. Robert J. Usaitis and his wife, Dr. Kara Kozloski, DuBois. Bob was loved and will be missed by his grandchildren, Lauren and Ashley Usaitis and Kyle and Nickolas Ripa. He is also survived by his brother, John Usaitis and his wife, Joan, Shiremanstown, and by many in-laws and nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank Bob's caregivers for their kindness as they enabled Bob to be taken care of at home by his wife and family. They would like to extend their appreciation to all of the nurses from Hospice of the Sacred Heart, especially Pat Beaver and Erin Stanco, his primary nurses; Tom Molchan RNMS, his case manager; John Rosencrans, Nurse Practitioner; and all those who came in the middle of the night when needed. The family would also like to send special thanks to Dr. Gunnar Kosek and Dr. Bruce Saidman, who always has a plan, and to their staff for their expertise and kindness.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. from the Nat & Gawlas Funeral Home, 89 Park Avenue, Wilkes-Barre, with a Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 11 a.m. in St. Nicholas Church, 226 South Washington Street, Wilkes-Barre. Interment will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Dallas, Pa.
Friends may call Thursday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Bob's name to Autism Speaks, 1060 State Road, 2nd Floor, Princeton, NJ 08540, or to the .
Online condolences may be made by visiting Bob's obituary at
Funeral Home
Nat & Gawlas Funeral Home
89 Park Ave
Wilkes Barre, PA 18702
(570) 825-3138
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Published in The Courier Express on Mar. 8, 2017
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