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BAKER - Joann T., 67, of Sweet Valley, died Sunday, January 16, 2011, at her home.

She was born March 30, 1943, in Wilkes-Barre, and worked at the Country Club Apartments in Dallas before retiring.

Surviving are her husband of 46 years, John F. Baker, Sweet Valley; son, John J., Sweet Valley; daughters, Deborah, Sweet Valley; Jennifer Hamilton, Sweet Valley; four grandchildren; nieces and nephews.

Memorial donations to Erwine Home Health and Hospice, 270 Pierce St., Suite 101, Kingston, PA 18704.

BLAZICK - Leonard R., 79, of Prichard‚??s Road, Hunlock Creek, died Sunday, January 16, 2011, at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

He was born August 12, 1931, in Hunlock Creek, and was a graduate of the Shickshinny High School, class of 1948.

He served in the U.S. Navy, retiring after 23 years of service. He was a veteran of the Korean War.

For many years, he owned and operated the Hunlock Creek Arco Gas Station. He was a member of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Lake Silkworth.

Surviving are his sons, Lance, Langhorne; Joseph, West Nanticoke; Barry, Hanover; and Paul, Hunlock Creek; daughters, Deborah Schultz, Line Lexington; and Pamela Blazick, Philadelphia; brothers, Joseph, Coopersburg; and Gerald, Hunlock Creek; a sister, Eleanor Germain, Florida; his life companion, Gloria Sadowski, Hunlock Creek, with whom he resided; eight grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews.

COVERT - Mildred M., 88, of Harveys Lake, died Monday, January 17, 2011, at her home.

She was born April 21, 1922, in Idetown, and was employed as a cook for the Lakeside Nursing Center (formerly Carpenter‚??s Nursing Home) for 35 years prior to retiring in 1995.

Surviving are her daughter, Janet Carey, of Noxen; sons, Kenneth Jr., Donald and David, all of Harveys Lake; Larry, of Shavertown, and James, of Loyalville; 17 grandchildren; 43 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews.

GALLAGHER - William Leo, 82, of Harveys Lake, died Saturday, January 22, 2011, at his home.

He was born in Luzerne and attended Luzerne High School. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II and the Air Force in the Korean War.

Before retiring, he was employed by Muskin Corp. as a die setter for 20 years. He was past president of Local 514 United Furniture Workers Union.

He was also employed by Kanaar Corporation, Kingston, where he was an active official in Local 2360 IAM. Before that, he was employed by ITT, Clifton, N.J., for 15 years, where he was an active official in Local 447 IUE.

He was a member of the Harveys Lake Lions Club since 1977 where he held various offices, including president. He also was a cabinet member in Lions District 14W, serving as sergeant-at-arms for two years and as Region 3 chairman for one year.

He was the recipient of the Melvin Jones Fellow Award from Lions Club International. He also was active in politics, serving on borough council from 1982 to 1986. He was the Democratic committeeman for 25 years and was a member of the Luzerne County Democrat Executive Committee.

He was a member of our Lady of Victory Church, Harveys Lake, serving as an usher for over 25 years and was also a member of the Harveys Lake American Legion Post 967.

Surviving are his wife of 62 years, the former Marie Madar; son, Michael; daughters, Christine Faux and Marie Visneski; six grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations to the Luzerne County SPCA, 524 E. Main St., Wilkes Barre, PA 18702.

KEEFE - Charlotte A., 75, of Noxen, died Saturday, January 15, 2011, at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

She was born April 8, 1935, in Wilkes-Barre, and had resided in Noxen all of her life.

She was a member of St. Luke‚??s Reformation Lutheran Church, Noxen.

Surviving are sons, William Jr. and Gary, both of Noxen; daughters, Roxanne Frasier, Meshoppen; and Natalie Coolbaugh, Harveys Lake; 10 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations to St. Luke‚??s Reformation Lutheran Church, 196 Main St., Noxen, PA 18636.

KNAPKA ‚?? Helen, 97, of Old County Road, Benton, died Saturday, December 25, 2010, at the Birchwood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Nanticoke.

Memorial services will be held Saturday, Feb. 5 at Calvary Chapel of Delaware County ( www.ccdelco.org), Chadds Ford. The family will receive friends from 11 to 11:30 a.m.

MALLIN ‚?? Doris R., died on Monday, January 17, 2011, her 84th birthday.

She was born in Dallas and was a 1945 graduate of Dallas High School.

She worked for the U.S. Navy Department in Washington, D.C., and then worked her way up to editor of The Dallas Post newspaper. Later, she was public relations director at Luzerne County Community College, worked for the Pennsylvania state government and retired from the Pennsylvania Crime Commission.

After retirement, she was very active at the Friendship Senior Community Center in Lower Paxton Township and at her church, Trinity Presbyterian Church of America, Harrisburg.

Surviving are her children, the Rev. John W. III, of Greencastle; and Valerie Mallin Andrews, of Shavertown; seven grandchildren; one great-grandson; siblings, Ruth Quinn, of White Haven; Jean Wilson, of Dallas; and Robert Monk, of Shavertown; nieces and nephews.

Memorial donations to Trinity Presbyterian Church of America, 6098 Locust Lane, Harrisburg, PA 17109, or to Friendship Senior Community Center, 5000 Commons Dr., Harrisburg, PA 17112.

MIERS ‚?? Verna S., 64, of Shavertown, died Saturday, January 15, 2011, at the Mercy Hospice, Scranton.

She was born November 12, 1946, in Wilkes-Barre, and was a 1964 graduate of Dallas High School.

Prior to her retirement, she was employed by Luzerne Products and, most recently, Procter & Gamble.

Surviving are brothers, Johnson C., of Waynesboro; and Carl W., of Dallas; numerous nieces and nephews.

MITKOWSKI - Anthony A., 81, of Mizdale Road, Hunlock Creek, died Thursday, January 20, 2011, at the Wilkes-Barre Veterans Hospital.

He was born in Nanticoke and attended Harter High School, West Nanticoke. He was a member of Holy Name of Jesus Polish National Catholic Church, Nanticoke.

He was employed as a laborer for Local 215, Wilkes-Barre, for 17 years prior to being self employed as a mechanic. He was a U.S. Army veteran serving during World War II as corporal in the 86th Infantry and was separated from the service December 31, 1948.

Surviving are sons, James, Gary and Kevin, all of Hunlock Creek; sisters, Clara Falb, Tombstone, Ariz.; and Lottie Cease, Kingston, N.Y.; 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

PAYNE - Captain Leo F., 87, of Dallas, died Sunday evening, January 16, 2011, at his home.

He was born in Philadelphia on December 26, 1923, attended grade school at St. Carthage School and was a graduate of West Catholic High School, Philadelphia.

A U.S. Navy veteran, he served his country during World War II in the Pacific. Upon his honorable discharge, he had attained the rank of Lieutenant J.G.

He began sailing in 1946, at age 23, as a Jr. 3rd Mate for American President Lines. He came to Atlantic Refining as a 3rd Mate in 1948 and made his first trip on the Producer out of Jersey City, N.J. He came ashore as Assistant Port Captain from 1966 to 1969 and returned to the sea as Chief Mate on the Endeavor in 1969. He became a Master in 1973 and was most recently assigned to the ARCO Prudhoe Bay.

He retired as Senior Captain of the ARCO Fleet in 1983.

Surviving are his wife, the former Marie Scheideler; daughters, Jean P. Flack, of Dallas; and Diane P. Smith, of Fort Wayne, Ind.; son, Leo C., West Wyoming; five grandchildren.

Memorial donations to St. Jude Children‚??s Research Hospital at stjude.org.

ROBINSON - Betty D., 86, of Tunkhannock, died Friday, January 21, 2011, at Community Medical Center, Scranton, after a brief illness.

She was born in Carbondale General Hospital on June 11, 1924, was a graduate of Waymart High School in 1941 and later of Nursing School in New Jersey.

She worked at the Waymart Knitwear until retirement. She moved to Tunkhannock in 1995 where she worked at C.E.O. for a few years, and also belonged to the Tunkhannock Senior Center and the Red Hats. She was a member of the South Clinton Baptist in Waymart.

Surviving are a son, Thomas, of Tunkhannock; five grandchildren; one great-grandchild; a sister, Helene Skates, of Waymart; two brothers, Charlie, of Carbondale; and Tom White, of Waymart; nieces and nephews.

Memorial donations to the Wyoming County Senior Center, 101 Dymond Terrace, Tunkhannock, PA 18657.

RUSILOSKI - Benjamin Edward Jr., 67, died at his home on Friday evening, January 21, 2011.

He was born in Huntsville on August 7, 1943, grew up in the Back Mountain area and graduated from Lake-Lehman High School in 1961. He graduated from King‚??s College in 1965 and received his Master‚??s in Education from Bloomsburg University in 1972.

He was a teacher and his first position was at Bennington Catholic High School in Bennington, Vt. He taught social studies and coached football and baseball there from 1965 to 1967. He then taught and coached at Mount Anthony Union High School, after the closure of BCHS from 1967 to 1969.

He taught at Crestwood High School in 1969 and moved to Mountain Top where he lived for 41 years. He was a teacher, football coach and served as athletic director until his retirement in 1999.

As an athletic director, he served as an officer in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Athletic Director Association and worked on various District 2 and Pa. State Athletic Director Association boards and committees.

He was a communicant of St. Jude Catholic Church and assisted with service projects there, especially the Christmas Giving Tree and V.I.S.I.O.N.

Surviving are his parents, Benjamin E. and Sophie (Filipowski) Rusiloski; his wife, Madeline ‚??Punki‚?Ě Gratton, with whom he would have celebrated his 44th wedding anniversary this year; his children, Benjamin III, of Doylestown; Amy, of Carmel, Ind.; Betsy Lawson, of Drums; and Katherine, of Old Forge; four grandchildren; a brother, Stanley, Shavertown; a sister, Bernadine, of North Bergen, N,.J.; aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Memorial donations to the Kirby Marian Sutherland Library, 35 Kirby Ave., Mountain Top, PA 18707, or to the Elk Country Visitor Center, 134 Homestead Dr., Benezette, PA 15821.

YURKO - Linda L., 62, of Huntington Mills, formerly of Sweet Valley, died Sunday, January 16, 2011, at the Geisinger Medical Center, Danville.

She was born May 26, 1948, in Wilkes-Barre, and had resided in Sweet Valley until moving to Huntington Mills six years ago.

She and her husband of 46 years, Joseph Yurko Sr., owned and operated the Sweet Valley Service Station for 36 years, retiring in 2004.

Surviving, in addition to her husband, are children, Joseph J. Jr. and Daniel R, both of Sweet Valley; daughter, Kimberly A. Randolph, of York; six grandchildren; brothers Glenn Masters, of New Hope; Robert Masters, of Hunlock Creek; and Dale Masters, of Sweet Valley; sisters, Reva Eck, of Sweet Valley; Ada Petroski, of Sweet Valley; Elva Wheelwright, of Hunlock Creek; and Patricia Chapin, of Stillwater.

Memorial donations to St. Jude Children‚??s Research Hospital , PO Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148-0142, or at www.stjude.org .

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