Obituary: Michael George Mervosh / WWII veteran, longtime J&L pipefitter gave back to his community

Aug. 31, 1922 - May 27, 2013


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Michael George Mervosh worked virtually his whole life to give back to his Pittsburgh community.

He started by helping to support his parents when he came back from serving as a signalman in the Navy during World War II. His new bride, Mary Ann Saveikis, told him at the time, "You don't have a penny on you because you gave it all away," recalled Mr. Mervosh's granddaughter, Sarah Mervosh, who lives in Dallas, Texas.

Mr. Mervosh, 90, died on Memorial Day at his Baldwin Borough home from chronic cardiopulmonary failure.

"It was very fitting that he passed on Memorial Day." Ms. Mervosh said. "He survived World War II and spent his whole life honoring other veterans.

"If he had to go on any day, I'm glad he went that day."

Born on the South Side, Mr. Mervosh graduated from South High School and later lived for 40 years in Mount Oliver, where he raised four children. He would walk to his job as a pipefitter at Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. on the South Side and hardly missed a day of work for 36 years, Ms. Mervosh said.

He retired in the 1980s but continued to lead a busy life. He took a job as Mount Oliver ordinance officer, served as a borough councilman for 20 years until the mid-1990s and was a volunteer deputy sheriff for Allegheny County. Among his municipal projects, he helped bring cable television to the borough. He also helped to organize the fireworks display there every July.

Until last year, Mr. Mervosh also volunteered in by helping with elections and opening and closing the community center.

For 25 years, Mr. Mervosh volunteered with Sharing and Caring, a local nonprofit that serves hospitalized veterans. Every year he would help organize a Gateway Clipper boat ride for veterans; every Christmas he would visit hospitals to sing carols to veterans, and every month he ran bingo games at the Southwestern Veterans Center in East Liberty.

"He would be the oldest person there," his son, Michael Mervosh of Mt. Lebanon, said.

Bob Abbott, president of Sharing and Caring, said Mr. Mervosh was very easygoing. "He got along with everybody. He was a lovable guy. Anything I'd ask him to do, he'd do. You couldn't beat him."

A member of Pittsburgh Elks Lodge 11, Mr. Mervosh received the Outstanding Service Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1998.

"I think he saw a lot of his friends die in the war, and he thought it was his duty and his honor to give back to those who survived and are veterans like him," Ms. Mervosh said.

Mr. Mervosh also was a member of the Mount Oliver Athletic Association and often could be found on the field as he coached Pop Warner football and Little League baseball.

"He went to all my [softball] games," his granddaughter said. "He was in his 80s, and instead of sitting in the bleachers, he would sit on the fence to watch."

He also ushered and was president of church council at St. Canice Catholic Church in Knoxville.

In addition to his wife of 55 years, his son and his granddaughter, Mr. Mervosh is survived by another son, Matthew of Baldwin Borough; daughters Michelle of England and Melinda of Upper St. Clair; and two other grandchildren.

A funeral prayer will be held at 9:30 a.m. today at the Thomas J. Gmiter Funeral Home Inc., 2323 E. Carson St., South Side.

A Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. in St. Paul of the Cross Monastery, South Side. Memorial contributions may be made to Sharing and Caring Inc., P.O. Box 2616, Pittsburgh 15230.

obituaries

Marina Weis: mweis@post-gazette.com.


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