Joseph S. Pastva, Jr., age 90, of West Pittston passed peacefully into eternal rest at home in the presence of family on Sunday, June 4, 2017. He was the loving husband of Alberta, cherished father, and member of The Greatest Generation.
Joe was the younger of two sons raised by the late Joseph, Sr. and Victoria Kalman Pastva. He grew up in Exeter, graduating from the former St. Cecelia's High School, class of 1944. Like many of his contemporaries, Joe harbored strong patriotic feelings and enlisted in the U.S. Navy during his senior year, delaying entry until after graduation.
Having completed basic training, he boarded a troop ship bound for Okinawa and duty in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Just hours after disembarking, the ship that carried him across the Pacific was resting on the ocean floor, the battle for Okinawa far from over. Assigned to the tugboat USS Coatopa, YTB-382, Joe spent a year working aboard the tug in the waters around Okinawa. Ordered to return to the U.S., the 12-man crew endured a month-long journey across the Pacific. He was fond of recounting how a typhoon that had nearly sunk the boat flooded the candy storage compartment, thus denying the crew their only distraction during the long journey home.
After being honorably discharged, Joe returned to Exeter where he met the love of his life, Alberta Roman. They were married October 23, 1948, in St. John the Baptist Church, Exeter.
Joe was a self-taught craftsman and enjoyed playing sports, particularly softball and bowling. He was active in leagues throughout the Wyoming Valley for many years. He was a member of the VFW and American Legion. He was a member of St. John the Baptist Church, Pittston until its closure and a former treasurer of the local Catholic Slovak Union branch.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son Gary and daughter-in-law, Cathy; daughter Jane Grohoski and son-in-law, Christopher; daughter Mary Lyn Barber; daughter Amy; grandchildren, Joann Napolitano and her husband Christopher and Janet Bohn and great grandchildren, Nathan and Reagan Napolitano. Besides his parents and older brother Elmer, Joe was predeceased by a daughter, Mary Karen, who died in childbirth, and two younger siblings, Edward and Anna, who didn't survive early childhood.
The Pastva family wishes to thank Dr. John Citti, Kindred Home Health staff members, Belinda, Carol, Meg, Diane, and Tony, as well as, Hospice of the Sacred Heart for the wonderful care provided to Joe.
A blessing service will be held on Thursday at Noon in the chapel at St. John the Baptist Cemetery Schooley Ave., Exeter, with Fr. Joseph Sibilano, OSJ officiating. Military services will be conducted by Plains American Legion Honor Guard.
The family requests that anyone wishing to honor Joe's memory donate to either St. Joseph's Center, 2010 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509 or St. Jude's Children's Hospital. P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148.