ShareThis Page
Former newspaper executive put employees first |
Obituary Stories

Former newspaper executive put employees first

Craig Smith
| Wednesday, May 20, 2015 12:01 a.m
Joseph Todd Soforic died Monday, May 18, 2015.

Joe Soforic’s job title at the Laurel Group weekly newspaper chain was secretary-treasurer/business manager, but he wasn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty.

“It was nothing for him to stop and help … if we had to go and tear something down, he was there,” said Richard Zahrobsky, former vice president and production manager at the Laurel Group, who worked with Mr. Soforic for more than 20 years.

Joseph Todd Soforic of East Huntingdon died Monday, May 18, 2015. He was struck by an automobile in the parking lot of an East Huntingdon shopping center. He was 52.

Mr. Soforic and his family had a long history with the newspaper company, which published six weekly newspapers in Southwestern Pennsylvania. His father, Joseph “Bud” Soforic, served as publisher of the Laurel Group from the late 1980s until it was purchased by Trib Total Media in 2007.

Born Dec. 6, 1962, he was a 1981 graduate of Geibel Catholic High School and received a bachelor of science degree in business from the University of Pittsburgh in 1985.

Mr. Soforic started in the production department at the Laurel Group, then went into the business office, where he was responsible for computerizing the office, said Zahrobsky, who remains employed on a part-time basis by Trib Total Media.

“Joe was the kind of guy who could fit anywhere,” his father said.

Mr. Soforic worked through the transition in ownership, then went into buying and selling real estate.

“Joe was a very conscientious individual who always thought about the employees first when making decisions related to the Laurel Group papers,” said Art McMullen, retired Tribune-Review vice president and general manager.

After retiring from the Tribune-Review, Mr. Soforic supported the senior community in Mt. Pleasant through a variety of efforts, his family said.

The family had a cottage at Deep Creek Lake, Md., and Mr. Soforic was a fixture there.

“He just loved Deep Creek Lake,” said his uncle, Forrest Kastner, 78, of Mt. Pleasant. “He loved to fish … he was my fishing buddy.”

Mr. Soforic did a lot of the work that other members of the family weren’t available to do, said his uncle, the former plant manager of the L.E. Smith Glass factory in Mt. Pleasant.

“He would open up, close up, get the boats out, get the docks in,” Kastner said. “The rest of us just reaped the benefits. We’re really, really going to miss him.”

In addition to fishing, he was an avid bike rider, said his brother, John Soforic of Mt. Pleasant.

He enjoyed hunting, riding four-wheelers and motorcycles, his family said.

He is survived by his parents, Joseph and Audrey Shaffer Soforic, of Mt. Pleasant; a brother, John Shaffer Soforic of Mt. Pleasant; a niece, Kristen Soforic; nephew, Michael Soforic; and uncle, Forrest Kastner.

Friends will be received at the Galone-Caruso Funeral Home, 204 Eagle St., Mt. Pleasant, from 2-4 and 6-9 p.m. Thursday. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday in St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church. Interment will be in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.

Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or

Categories: Obituaries
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.