SAN DIEGO – Alex Penich of San Diego died Friday morning, Feb. 7, 2014, in San Diego. He was 95.
Mr. Penich was born in Struthers, Ohio, of Croatian immigrant parents. He was raised in the community and graduated from Struthers High School in 1937.
Alex served in the Army in World War II. He was a member of the Americal Division, which was attached to the First Marine Division. He spent three years in the northern Solomon Islands (New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, Munda), Bougainville, Bismarck Archipelago and Green Island. He earned a Presidential Unit Citation as a member of the Americal Division, an Asian Philippines Theater of Operations (APTO) Medal with three battle stars and a Good Conduct Medal.
Upon returning from service, Alex married Helen Verholek and settled in Sharon. He was employed by the former Sharon Transformer Division of Westinghouse Electric Corp. Alex was an assembler and time and motion analyst, retiring in 1977 with 31 years of service.
He attended what is now Youngstown State University during his early years with Westinghouse.
Alex had numerous interests. He participated in Westinghouse golf and bowling leagues. Alex wore out Buhl Land Golf Course after retiring, playing daily.
He was a coach and later president of the Sharon Junior Varsity Baseball League in the 1960s. He was instrumental in the construction of the Junior Varsity baseball field at Buhl Park in the late 1960s.
Alex was active in the Shenango Valley Umpires Association. He was a fixture at Westinghouse Softball League games and Shenango Valley Church Softball League games. Alex was a season ticket holder for Sharon Tiger football and basketball for more than 30 years.
He was a longtime member of the Buhl Club.
Alex was a skilled gardener. He spent many enjoyable hours in his back yard growing summer vegetables. His product was superb. He took special delight in his lettuce, tomatoes and garlic. Family dinner salads were a feast. He was generous with his garden’s bountiful yield to his neighbors and friends.
Alex was a parishioner for more than 50 years at St. John the Baptist Orthodox Greek Catholic Church.
He attended yearly reunions of the Americal Ordnance Association, a close-knit group of soldiers with whom he served during World War II. After retiring, he and his wife made yearly, extended visits to Siesta Key, Sarasota, Fla.
Alex was a kind and caring husband, father, grandfather, coworker, neighbor and friend. He was a good man who was well-liked by all.
Survivors include a son, Harry Penich, San Diego; a daughter, Alexis Walsh, Buford, Ga.; and four granddaughters and a great-grandson.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen, in 1998; brothers, Adam, Matthew and Steven; and sister, Mary Zorko.