Sunday, March 3, 2013

RIP Opa - Joseph Francis Eiswerth (1921-2013)

My grandfather, Joseph Francis Eiswerth, passed away on Friday, March 1, 2013. This is my tribute to my "Opa Joe."

Joseph Francis Eiswerth was born 18 September 1921 in East Palestine, Columbiana County, Ohio. He was the only child of Edward Charles Eiswerth and Angela Catherine Kavcic (anglicized Couchie). His father, Edward, had traveled west from central Pennsylvania to find work.

When Joseph was a few years old, the family moved back to Limestone Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, where Edward had been raised.


Joseph attended school in a one room schoolhouse run by the nuns at Immaculate Conception Church in Bastress, Pennsylvania.

Joseph stayed on the farm with his parents until his 21st birthday when he enlisted in the United States Navy. He served at Quonset Point, Rhode Island and in 1945 on the inaugural voyage of the USS Helena (into a hurricane). He was discharged on 29 October 1945.

After WWII, he moved to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to get a better education and life than he could have had on the farm. He met and married Evelyn Marie Eck on 5 November 1946 at St. Boniface Church. The video below is from their wedding day (with Oma's graduation at the beginning).

He worked 2nd shift while attending Williamsport Technical Institute. There he met Guy Reeder and Art Shaw and together they formed a construction partnership called Eiswerth, Reeder and Shaw (names listed in alphabetical order to be fair.)

He even built his own house in 1954. Here it is in 1971 getting a new roof.

Joseph and Evelyn had 7 children in the span of 6 years (the first two were twins).

My family lived in Ohio, so we always spent a week at Oma and Opa's over the summer and had another visit at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Below is a picture of my brother and me with Oma and Opa. Opa loved to wrestle with his grandkids.

Dinner at Thanksgiving of 1989.

The whole family at Thanksgiving 1990. (The youngest grandchild is missing from this photo since he wasn't born yet.)

Between high school, college and moving to Fort Wayne, I haven't seen my grandparents much over the last 15 years. But I was lucky to have a change to visit my grandparents during the summer of 2010 and 2011.

Opa will be buried on Tuesday, March 5 at St. Boniface Cemetery.

You might not have wanted to answer my genealogy questions, but I'll still miss you, Opa.

You can read other blog post about Opa that my dad wrote for my blog a couple of years ago:
Sentimental Sunday - What My Dad Learned about His Dad - Part 1
Sentimental Sunday - What My Dad Learned about His Dad - Part 2
Sentimental Sunday - What My Dad Learned about His Dad - Part 3
Sentimental Sunday - What My Dad Learned about His Dad - Part 4
Sentimental Sunday - Grandfather in WWII
Sentimental Sunday - Horses and Baseball


  1. Hi Tina,

    Thank you for sharing your photo tribute to your grandfather - a unique person who succeeded in life, and a testament to education, diligence, effort, and family.

    You know, because he didn't share all of his family history secrets with you, you will have the joy of discovering them and your memories of him will forever be yours, and those with who you share them.

  2. So sorry to hear about the loss of your grandfather, Tina. You've written a beautiful tribute to him, and the photos of him as a boy are priceless. It's easy to see that your Opa held a special place in your heart, and will be greatly missed. All the best to you and your family at this sad time.

  3. This is a beautiful tribute to your grandfather, Tina. It was wonderful to see the photos, see how his appearance changed so little through the years. I'm sorry for your loss. Blessings to you and the rest of his family.