William Howard Pawuk, 70, went to be with his Lord and Savior on November 25, 2012.
Bill was born February 20, 1942 in Idamar, Penn. to John and Verba (Work) Pawuk: the second of four children. His early adolescence was spent enjoying a carefree life of fishing, dump scavenging, baseball, and playing all day, only to return for dinner in the evening.
In 1952, the family moved to Coraopolis, Penn. There he formed a fierce loyalty to the Pittsburgh Steelers, completed junior and senior high school, and began to develop an appreciation for jokes, great puns, and loving pranks.
In 1960, Bill attended Penn State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry (1964) and a Master of Science degree in Plant Pathology (1968). He completed his Doctorate in Botany at the University of New Hampshire and there he met Elizabeth Anne Dyer, whom he married on June 16, 1968.
After the births of his first two children, Becky Jo and Sarah Elizabeth, he accepted a plant pathology position with the US Forest Service in Alexandria, La. The family moved there in 1971 and next were born Rachel Allison and Matthew William.
In 1980, his childhood dream of living in Alaska was realized when he was transferred to Petersburg. Housing was limited, so Bill spent two years building their home and Tiffany Erica was added to the family. He supervised the operation of the B. Frank Heintzlemann Tree Nursery for the growing of Sitka spruce pine seedlings. After the closing of the nursery, he accepted a position as a plant ecologist where he worked until his retirement.
After retirement in 2001, he and Liz picked up the pieces of their house fire, built a second home in Petersburg, and traveled to Europe, the Panama Canal and Australia. They spent two months driving and camping cross country, visiting many national and state parks, and hiking down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Hiking the Chilkoot Trail with family and friends was especially memorable. Bill was an avid birder who delighted in the migrations outside his window, and always looked forward to the annual Audubon Christmas Bird count.
Bill loved to fish and hunt with his family and friends, and was especially delighted that his first deer and 100th deer were shot with the same rifle. He was active in the community as a t-ball and Little League coach; Boy Scout leader; KFSK country music host; and treasurer, deacon, and Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church.
More than anything, Bill loved spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. The family's weekly “pizza night” meal, Thanksgiving celebrations, and trips to visit family in Oregon and Pennsylvania were highlights. He enjoyed gardening and was responsible for a deck and house addition, and had begun the construction of his son's house in Petersburg. He freely gave of his time and talents and rarely passed up an opportunity to visit, especially if it involved good food and time to tell stories.
He was preceded in death by his father, John Pawuk, and mother, Verba (Work) Pawuk.
He is survived by his loving wife of 44 years, Elizabeth (Dyer) Pawuk; children: Becky (Robert) Martin of Petersburg, Sarah (Randy) Holmgrain of Petersburg, Rachel (Ryan) Harrington of Corvallis, Ore., Matthew (Stephanie) Pawuk of Petersburg, and Tiffany (Charles) Davis of Petersburg; 14 grandchildren: Amanda Holmgrain, Helen Martin, Trinity Davis, Lydia Martin, Allison Davis, Anya Pawuk, Charlotte Martin, Alexander Holmgrain, Noah Pawuk, Eden Davis, Seamus Harrington, Savina Pawuk, Eleanor Harrington, and Arya Holmgrain; older brother Earl, younger sisters Carol Pawuk and Karen DeChellis, brother-in-law Chip DeChellis, nephew James DeChellis III, and niece Debra Carlini.