George I. Kocerka of Palm Harbor, Fla., went to his final resting place, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, after a lingering illness. A devoted husband, George is survived by his wife, Mary Louise Collins Kocerka. They celebrated 62 years of marriage July 27, 2019. He is also survived by in-laws, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Nellie Kocerka; sisters, Margaret, Elizabeth, and Helen; and brothers, Andrew and John. George was the last surviving member of his immediate family. Born in Bobtown in 1929 he attended the local elementary school and graduated from Point Marion High School. He later attended St. Vincent College in Latrobe, where he was a star athlete. He quarterbacked the 1950 St. Vincent team that played in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando Fla., St. Vincent won the bowl game. According to a newspaper article, “Quarterback Kocerka handled the punting chores and he was one of the best, having excelled all season.” Graduating in 1951, George accepted a coaching and teaching position in Greensburg but the U.S. Army had other plans. He served in the Army for two years and returned home to a teaching and coaching position at German Township High School in McClellandtown, a special place in George’s heart because it is there that he met his loving wife. He continued his education, earning a Master’s Degree at West Virginia University and then relocated to Johnstown, where he coached along with Dave Hart and “Blackie” Mihalic, two classmates from St. Vincent College. He still made time to enroll in courses at the University of Pittsburgh, where he became certified in counseling and school administration. Leaving Johnstown in 1966, he accepted a position as counselor in the Gateway School District in Monroeville. He then became school principal at South Junior High, which later became Gateway Junior High, where he remained until his retirement in 1991. In his spare time, with his wife and friends, he traveled all around the world. They enjoyed a great number of cruises and visited at least 12 European countries, spending one cold winter holiday in Russia. George also participated in a golf group and poker group. All in all, he loved his wife, he loved life, coaching and his students. Many still stayed in touch with him through retirement. He was a member of St. Luke Evangelist church in Palm Harbor. Interment was private at Twin Valley Memorial Park in Delmont. A celebration of life will take place at a later date. Remembrances in George’s name can be made to St. Vincent College in Latrobe, or to St. Luke Evangelist Church in Palm Harbor. A special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Edward Kocerka of Bobtown who assisted Rudolph Funeral Home of Point Marion with the interment. Arrangements were under the direction of the Louis E. Rudolph Funeral Home of Point Marion. Condolences to the family may be made at louisrudolphfuneralhome.com
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