Monessen WWII veteran became steel union leader
Melvin Zubritsky had a few brushes with greatness in his life, but it was his family that mattered to him the most.
He met and danced on the same floor as Gene Kelly, a Pittsburgh native. He was campaign manager for Judge Louis Manderino, the youngest judge to be elected to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
But he put his children and grandchildren first. “He would do anything for anybody,” said his daughter, Germaine Biksey. “Anything they needed done, he did.”
In retirement, he and his wife, Ethel, loved to babysit their grandchildren.
“They would drive down from Monessen to Washington and pick them up from school. They just adored their children and grandchildren,” their daughter said.
Melvin Zubritsky of Monessen died Tuesday, March 27, 2018, at the Donnell House in Washington. He was 92.
Born in Monessen on Feb. 13, 1926, he was a son of the late Wasyl and Mary (Klipnick) Zubritsky. He graduated from Monessen High School in 1944 and from Douglas Business School.
Mr. Zubritsky served in the South Pacific during the waning days of World War II. Although he saw combat and was injured, he did not talk about his wartime experiences, his daughter said.
After he left the Navy, he went to work for the Army Corps of Engineers before taking a job as an accountant at the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp., Allenport Works. He was the longtime president of United Steelworkers, Local 3403, and was active with contract negotiations between the company and the union.
He retired in 1990 after 32 years of service, after which he enjoyed spending time with his family, vacationing at the beach and going to his grandchildren’s sporting events, recitals and concerts.
Later in life, he took care of his ailing wife until the family had to hire outside help. He always made sure to thank the visiting nurses who came into their home, his daughter said.
“He always had a smile for everyone and was grateful for everything,” she said.
Mr. Zubritsky was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Ethel Zubritsky; two sons, Thomas and Melvin; and a granddaughter, Marissa Biksey.
He is survived by two daughters, Germaine Biksey and her husband, Tom, of Washington, and Nancy Goodrich and her husband, Jack, of Gibsonia; and grandchildren.
Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Rhome Funeral Home, 1209 Grand Blvd., Monessen. A panachida service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:30 at St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church, Monessen.
Interment will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Rostraver.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280 or [email protected].