Mr. Joseph S. Humanik, 93, a resident of the Parson section of the city, fell asleep in the arms of his Savior Monday evening, December 16th, surrounded by his loving family.
Born December 3, 1926 in Wilkes-Barre, he was the fourth of seven and last surviving child to the late Felix and Julia (Ruk) Humanik. Educated in the city schools, he attended the former Saint Stanislaus Kostka Parochial school and the James M. Coughlin High School, Wilkes-Barre.
As a high school student, he was drafted into the United States Army during the Second World War on February 13, 1945. He completed basic training in Camp Gordon, Georgia and then volunteered for parachute training at Fort Benning, Georgia. Joe graduated from parachute school on September 7, 1945 and was awarded his parachute badge (wings). One of his proudest moments was when he drove a six-by-six truck in the 82nd Airborne convoy to Camp Shanks, NY from Fort Bragg, NC with an overnight stay at Fort Dix, NJ to parade up Fifth Avenue in New York City with General Gavin on January 12, 1946 in the World War II Victory Parade. Joe was very honored to partake in this convoy trip and spoke of it on numerous occasions.
Private First Class Joseph graduated from the infantry, non-commission officer school, Fort Benning, Georgia on June 6, 1946. At the time of his Honorable Discharge from military duties on October 6, 1946, Private Humanik was awarded the American Theatre Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. His military associations include membership in the Joseph P. Conlon Post #558 American Legion, Plains and he also served as the Sergeant at Arms of the Central Pennsylvania 82nd Airborne Chapter.
In civilian life, Joe went to flight school under the G.I. Bill and earned a private pilot license. Many of his friends joined him on the tarmac, wanting Joe to take them for a plane ride. Joe was also an accomplished musician, being an accordionist in his band, "The Polka Dukes". In his younger days, he and his band played at numerous weddings and events, often four to five times per week, in addition to their regular jobs. Through these occasions, he made many friendships lasting several decades. He was also a Fifty-Plus year member of the American Federation of Musicians Local #140.
Joseph was previously employed by the former Luzerne County News and the Great Northern Distributors for over 47 years. He was foreman, shop steward and a member of the Local #401 Brotherhood of Teamsters, Wilkes-Barre. Joe did not sit idle. He also worked at the Pocono Downs racetrack on Tuesday evenings selling the horse racing programs before it became Mohegan Sun Pocono.
Mr. Humanik was a member of the Parish of Saint Andre Bessette, having been a life member of the former Saint Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church prior to its closure, where he served as past president on the parish Holy Name Society. He was a member of the church's former ethnic Polish choir, always adding his harmonious renditions to every hymn.
In his spare time, he was also a model railroad enthusiast, having collections in G, O and HO gauge series. In his younger days, he would set up three large platforms of interchanging trains with realistic villages and accessories. Conductor Joe would sit for hours being entertained by his model railroad.
Joe also played softball for many years and enjoyed bowling with different leagues. Following his formal retirement, he took up golfing and enjoyed many golfing trips with friends to Tempe, Arizona and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Joe was a happy-go-lucky guy with a great sense of humor and always a quick joke to share with others; even doing so to the doctors and nurses a couple hours before he passed.
He always took things in stride and never let anything or anyone bother him; a tribute that probably contributed to his long life. He was proud of his family and instilled in them his great work ethic. He enjoyed life, toasting it every day at 5:00 p.m. sitting down and enjoying his one can of Miller Light and a shot of Jezynowka (Polish brandy). They would last him until around 8:30 p.m. God only knows how he drank a warm beer.
Joe deeply loved his four children. He was a loving "Pops" to his five grandchildren and absolutely adored his one great-grandchild. He was very proud of the sports accomplishments of his children and grandchildren. Joe also took great pride in being involved with the family racing team. For years, many weekends were spent at Nascar modified racetracks in PA, NY and NJ. There, Joe could be found cheering on all his children as they each had some part to play with car #27. Dad, of course, was the "Chief Pit Man".
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by infant brother Stanley; by brothers Frank, Peter, Walter and John as well as by his sister, Stella.
Left to cherish the wonderful memories of their father are his adoring children, Joseph Jr. and his wife Linda, at home; Mer Rish and her husband Stephen of Huntsville; Michael and his wife Anna of Plains Township and James along with his wife Mary of Jenkins Township; Five grandchildren, including Holly Ann Albano and her husband, Captain Joseph Albano, U.S.M.C.; Joseph III and his fiance, Rhenin; Michael Jr., Lindsey and Samantha; Great-grandson, Luke Albano; Numerous nieces, nephews, neighbors and dear friends.
Funeral services for Mr. Humanik will be conducted on Saturday t 9:30 a.m. from the North Wilkes-Barre location of the John V. Morris Family Funeral Homes Inc., 625 North Main Street, followed by his Funeral Mass at 10:00 a.m. in the Parish of Saint Andre Bessette, 668 North Main Street. The Reverend Kenneth M. Seegar, his pastor, will serve as principal celebrant and homilist.
Interment with the Rite of Committal will follow in Mount Olivet Diocesan Roman Catholic Cemetery, Mount Olivet Road, Carverton section of Kingston Township, where military honors will be accorded him by the United States Army and local honor guard.
Relatives and friends may join Joe's family for visitation and shared remembrances Friday evening from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. and again Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. until the time of services at the funeral home.
In lieu of floral tributes, the family would he humbled if those wishing to make a monetary donation in their father's memory, kindly give consideration to the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 1111 East End Boulevard, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711 or to the Oblates of Saint Joseph, 1800 Highway #315, Pittston, PA 18640.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joseph S. Humanik, please visit our floral store.
Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
1111 East End Boulevard, Wilkes-Barre PA 18711
Oblates of Saint Joseph
1800 Highway #315, Pittston PA 18640