Howard J. Maresch, 90, a well-known member of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Emlenton, passed away on November 10, 2021, at Juniper Village of Forest Hills. Born in Munhall, PA on June 22, 1931, he was a son of the late Emma and Stephen Maresch, brother to Wayne F. Maresch and Gladys Maresch Hreha.
Howard had wonderful memories of his childhood in Munhall, sharing many adventures with his brother and sister and endless neighborhood friends. His best friend was his beloved dog, Tobey. Brought home by Howard as a puppy in a paper bag, Tobey went on to be the proud winner of the Homeliest Dog Award. Tobey died shortly after Howard left for the army, but stayed in his heart forever.
After graduating from Munhall High School in 1949, Howard served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army Artillery Regimental Combat Team from 1950-1952 and said they were two of the best years of his life.
Mary Jean Moraca, who went to high school with Howard’s cousin, saw a photo of him in his Army uniform and started writing him letters while he was stationed in Germany. On June 18, 1953, Mary Jean became his wife. They shared almost 56 years of marriage before her death in 2009.
Howard and Mary Jean were proud parents to 3 children: Howard Jr. (Liz) of Langhorne PA, Diana of Baldwin PA, and Karen of Fox Chapel PA. He is also survived by 2 grandchildren: Carolyn and Jonathan, and 5 great-grandchildren.
Howard knew from a very young age that he wanted to build things, and carpentry became his lifelong passion. He always said that he never hated to go to work, and finally retired at age 86 after a fall at home led him to move to Juniper Village.
When Howard was in elementary school, his mom and dad bought a piece of land along the Allegheny River in Emlenton and built a cabin, which became Howard’s favorite place on earth. He spent most weekends there in his younger years, and most of his time in later years. He was a longtime member of St. Michael’s Church and one of his proudest titles was St. Michael’s “Oldest Altar Boy”. He enjoyed serving at weekday morning masses and filling in on weekends in a pinch, right up until he moved back to Pittsburgh at 86.
Howard enjoyed being with people and could often be found at Fat Chap’s Restaurant or the Emlenton Truck Plaza. After moving to Juniper Village of Forest Hills in 2018, staff immediately recognized Howard’s welcoming and social nature and named him Resident Welcome Ambassador to welcome new people to the community. His last years were very busy and fun-filled with group activities, day trips, and dozens of new friends.
Howard is probably best known for “Burnt Hot Dog Day”. A special celebration cook-out was held on Father’s Day every year where he invited just about everyone he knew to eat a burnt hot dog in honor of all dads.
He was an amazing dad, grandpap, brother, uncle, and friend and will be dearly missed.
Friends were received at the William R. Welsh Funeral Home in Homestead, PA on Friday, November 12, 2021. Mass of Christian Burial followed at St. Thomas the Apostle-St. Agnes Church, West Mifflin, PA with Fr. Tony Gargotta officiating. Howard was laid to rest with his wife and parents in the St. Joseph Cemetery in Duquesne, PA.
A memorial mass will be held at St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church in Emlenton.