Tarentum pastor remembered for serving community, sense of humor
Growing up, Adam Blythe remembers people calling and coming to the door of his family’s home seeking help from his father, Pastor Gregory Blythe.
They needed food, or a place to stay.
“My dad was always helping everybody,” said Adam Blythe, Tarentum Council vice president. “He just liked serving God and serving his community and loving people.”
Gregory Allen Blythe, of Tarentum, died Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. He was 62.
Pastor Blythe had been diagnosed and treated for skin cancer 30 years ago, Adam Blythe said. It came back and metastasized to his liver.
Pastor Blythe had been a senior pastor and youth pastor at Abundant Joy Fellowship, formerly Dayspring Christian Center, in Tarentum for 30 years. Adam Blythe said his maternal grandfather, Raymond Patterson, had founded the nondenominational church in Oakmont. Pastor Blythe and his wife of 42 years, Cathy, ran it together.
Dayspring had been where Dalton’s Edge apartments now stands. It was renamed when it moved to its current location.
The church now has about 100 members, Adam Blythe said.
“It’s going to go on,” Adam Blythe said. “We plan to keep being active in the community like dad was. We’re going to carry on his legacy and show people love and give them a place to come and experience God.”
Adam Blythe said his father became a pastor after going through rehabilitation when he was just a baby.
“He found God through there,” he said. “Once he found God, he didn’t let him go.”
Carl Holeczy, of Harrison, had been a friend of Pastor Blythe for about 38 years after meeting him at the church.
“He had a great sense of humor. We could always make each other laugh,” Holeczy said. “He would look at things and find a positive aspect about everything. Even in bad situations, he would look for a ray of sunshine and try to make the best out of bad situations.”
Holeczy was impressed by Pastor Blythe’s perseverance, battling through various health issues that sapped his strength.
“He was cut out to be a pastor. He answered his calling pretty well,” he said. “His ability to relate to young people and school children was really good. He was gifted in presenting the gospel to them in a way he could hold their attention.”
Pastor Blythe grew up in Bethel Park before moving to Oakmont and later Tarentum.
Adam Blythe said his father was a great mentor, raising his sons to be gentlemen.
“My dad was an unconditional love type of guy,” he said. “He wasn’t real strict. I remember growing up, if I was in trouble, it was going to be because I disrespected my mom. He didn’t put up with that.”
Pastor Blythe had a tight relationship with his sons, Holeczy said.
“They had to share him with the whole church,” he said. But, “He always carved out enough time for them to know they were important to him.”
Adam Blythe said his father left a legacy through his ministry, which included working with children in the community and missions that took him around the world.
“He was so caring. He was selfless. He would do anything for anybody. He really loved people,” Adam Blythe said. “It’s hard to lose him. At the same time, we’re celebrating all that he was and all that he did.”
In addition to his wife and son, Pastor Blythe’s survivors include two more sons, Matthew and Daniel; three grandchildren, Hannah, Noah and Gloria Blythe; five sisters, Angela Lascola, Linda Balestracci, Linda Radakovich, Barb O’Brien and Donna Lascola; and three brothers, Charlie Blythe, Joseph Lascola and Tim Blythe.
Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Rusiewicz of Lower Burrell Funeral Home, 3124 Leechburg Road, where services will be at noon on Wednesday.
A celebration of his life will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at Abundant Joy Fellowship, 100 Allegheny St.
Brian Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.