Joseph John Chwastyk, age 79, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on June 24, 2020. Joe was born in Somerville, NJ on March 9, 1941. Soon after his birth, his parents moved back to Buttonwood, Pa.
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He graduated in 1958 from Hanover High School in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Shortly after his graduation, his father died. As the oldest of six children, Joe went to work to help support the family.
Four years later, he joined the United States Navy, which sent him to its Nuclear Power School, widely recognized as the most demanding academic program in the U.S. military. He served six years in the nuclear navy, including several patrols on the USS Daniel Boone, the first ballistic missile submarine assigned to the Navy’s Pacific Fleet.
After leaving the Navy, his training led him to move to Harrisburg, Pa. for employment at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant, where he worked as a shift supervisor. He was recognized by the Baltimore Sun as one of the local heroes of the response to the accident at that plant. A congressional investigation found he was one of the first at the plant to recognize the hydrogen explosion that occurred during the incident. After leaving TMI in the 1980’s, he worked for years at nuclear plants around the country before returning to Central Pennsylvania.
Joe loved his family, golf, and more than anything else, mixing the two for good fun. In whatever club or association that Joe joined, he could be counted on to bring great stories, strong opinions, and plenty of laughs for his friends. At various times he was a member of the West Shore Elks, Harrisburg Maennerchor, and most of the golf clubs in the area. Over the last few years, he most enjoyed spending time with his friends and his partner Linda Lund at the Lower Allen VFW Post, proudly wearing a hat that proclaimed him a veteran of the submarine service.
He is survived by his partner Linda Lund; his sons, Christopher Chwastyk (Michelle Rios), of Honolulu, HI; Devin Chwastyk (Sarah Fedor), of Harrisburg; and stepson Kristopher Lund of New Cumberland; brothers Mike (Faith), Paul (Dale), sister Rosalie Roote (Cliff), brothers-in-law Fred Kropa and Dave Conklin; and his only surviving Aunt, Helen Tanski of Buttonwood.
He was preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Helen (Bolesta) Chwastyk, sisters Carol Conklin and Dolores Kropa, niece Cathy Urbanski Hager, and ex-wife Janice McLaren.
A celebration of his life will be held at the Lower Allen VFW Post once private clubs are permitted to reopen. Arrangements are in the care of the Myers-Harner Funeral Home, and a date and details will be available at their website www.myers-harner.com.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Lower Allen VFW Post 7430, 4545 Westport Dr, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055