MOUNT CARMEL — Matthew G. Rusnak, 85, formerly of 342 S. Poplar St., died Monday evening Aug. 30, 2010, at Mount Carmel Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Born Aug. 24, 1925, in Mount Carmel, he was a son of the late Matthew and Susan (Miscannon) Rusnak.
He was a 1942 graduate of Mount Carmel High School.
He served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theater in World War II aboard the USS Gosselin.
He was married in October 1954, in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church to the former Dolores Devers, who passed away Nov. 7, 1986.
He was a member of Divine Redeemer Church, Mount Carmel.
Matt was an extremely talented artist. When he worked for Thompson's Outdoor Advertising, he helped create billboard art for many businesses throughout the region. He later operated his own business in Mount Carmel.
Over many decades, he produced countless signs for businesses, large and small, some of which are still in use today. He was a master of lettering, which is now a dying art. He viewed his talent as a gift from God and was always generous in donating his services to nonprofit groups.
Included among Matt's impressive body of work were a portrait of the late Bishop Lawrence Schott, a mural of the Scott Colliery located in the bank in Kulpmont and a large painting at the Two Guys restaurant in the Anthra Plaza of a scene in Venice. A beautiful series of paintings on Mollie Maguire themes commissioned by the former Mollie's restaurant in Locust Gap was destroyed in a fire. He designed the cover for the Holy Cross Church commemorative centennial booklet in 1992 and drew an editorial page cartoon for The News-Item in 1999, heralding the first morning edition of the newspaper.
In later years, Matt was park artist at Knoebels Amusement Resort, a job he thoroughly enjoyed. His park art, which includes colorful signs, large-scale sculptures, such as the Iwo Jima memorial, the pirate in front of the Galleon ride and the Viking by the Skloosh; the displays in the miners museum and the frightful figures in the highly acclaimed haunted mansion provide a lasting legacy to his talent and creativity.
He continued to work at Knoebels, maintaining an active schedule, until the age of 81, when he suffered a stroke that affected his mobility.
He is survived by two daughters, Judy, and her husband, Jake, of Mount Carmel, and Janet, and her husband, Bob, of New Cumberland; two grandsons, Tim Betz and Ben Neidig; three sisters, Margaret Antanavage and her husband, Bob, of Cresswell Gardens, Frances Paul, of the Harrisburg area, and Theresa Greenbaum, of California, a brother, Bill, and his wife, Joan, of Collegeville, and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to his wife and parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, John and Thomas, and a long-time friend and companion, Flo Fisher.
RUSNAK — Matthew George Rusnak, 85, formerly of 342 S. Poplar St., Mount Carmel. A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in Divine Redeemer Church, 300 West Avenue, Mount Carmel, with the Rev. Robert Yohe officiating. Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Mount Carmel Township. A viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m. and from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Friday in the C.J. Lucas Funeral Home Inc., 27 N. Vine St., Mount Carmel, C.J. Lucas IV, Supervisor. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the American Cancer Society
, 1948 E. Third St., Williamsport, Pa., 17701; Divine Redeemer Church, 438 West Avenue, Mount Carmel, Pa., 17851; or Mount Carmel Public Library, 30 S. Oak St., Mount Carmel, Pa., 17851. To send condolences to the family, please visit www.cjlucasfuneralhome.com.
Published by The News Item on Sep. 1, 2010.