Jerome “Jerry” Anthony Matalavage, 78, of Athens, PA passed away at his home following his long and courageous battle with kidney disease.
He was born in Luzerne, PA, on April 9, 1942, Jerry was the only son of the late Anthony and Ann Wanagitis Matalavage.
Jerry was a 1960 graduate of West Side Central Catholic High School in Kingston, PA and in December of 1960, he enlisted in the United States Army. After completing basic training at Fort Knox, KY, he was sent to signal school at Fort Gordon, GA. While awaiting a top-secret security clearance, Jerry was transferred to the White House Army Signal Agency (now called the White House Communications Agency) where he served the remainder of his military tour providing communications support for President Kennedy. He was separated from the Army in 1963 with a commendation and the rank of Sergeant.
After spending a couple of years in Wyoming Valley, PA at local manufacturing jobs, Jerry applied for retraining under the federal Manpower Development and Training Act. He was accepted and received fifteen months of training in Allentown, PA to become a Tool Designer. He was hired as a Tool Designer by Ingersoll-Rand and came to Athens in the summer of 1967. During his 34 years with the company, he worked in both the Manufacturing Engineering Department and Product Engineering Department as a Tool Designer, Senior Numerical Control Programmer and Senior Technical Writer. Before coming to Athens, Jerry married the former Ruth Oplinger of West Nanticoke, PA, who was his wife for 36 years.
Jerry loved the outdoors and was a hunter, fisherman, gun collector, ammunition hand loader and competitive shooter. Since 1992, his passion was shooting in Black Powder Cartridge Rifle Silhouette matches. He had several articles published nationally related to this sport. Jerry held several officer positions in the now defunct Ingersoll-Rand Rifle and Pistol Club. He has been a member of the National Rifle Association since 1968 and was a certified NRA Instructor in Basic Marksmanship, Rifle, Shotgun, and Pistol shooting. Jerry was a lifetime member of both the Ontelaunee Rod and Gun Club in New Tripoli, PA and the Wilton Rod and Gun Club in Wilton, NY. He was a long-time annual member of the Towanda Rifle and Pistol Club in Towanda, PA.
He was preceded in death by his wife Ruth in 2003, a stepdaughter Nancy Cecelski, and sisters Patronella Kazokas and Bernadine Jenkins.
Jerry is survived by a stepdaughter Patricia Heyer and her husband Donald of Kempton, PA, and two step-grandsons William Earl Hess, Jr. and his wife Jean from Chesapeake, VA and Jeffery Michael Hess and his wife Jennifer from Carrsville, VA. In addition, there are several great-grandchildren, a niece and two nephews plus numerous cousins.
Family and friends may call on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 from 11am-12pm at the Lowery-Urban Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 225 South Main Street, Athens, PA. Funeral services will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jerry’s memory to: Wounded Warrior Project.
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