Anthony Joseph "Buck/Bucko" Petrarca, 82, of Vandergrift, passed away peacefully Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, at the home of his son, with his family close by. Born in 1938, in Vandergrift, he was a son of Joseph A. and Elvira (Capretto) Petrarca. Bucko was an only child, but had a huge extended family, including many cousins that he loved like brothers and sisters, as well as aunts and uncles that were instrumental in his life. Bucko lived most of his life in the town he loved, Vandergrift. He enjoyed growing up in Vandergrift and embraced the colorful characters (including his family) and all that the town had to offer. He was of the Catholic faith and a lifelong member of St. Gertrude's Catholic Church in Vandergrift. Bucko was a 1956 Vandergrift High School graduate and a standout as an academic scholar, as well as a three-sport high school athlete, playing football, baseball, and basketball. He achieved many academic and athletic honors and awards, including the WPIAL All-Stars. Choosing football over basketball and baseball after graduation, he attended Brown University on an athletic/football scholarship, where he was able to play the game that he loved the most and had earned a starting quarterback position. While playing at Brown, he threw many winning touchdown passes; one in a loss against Dartmouth, and then several in wins against Yale, Harvard, and also against Colgate in a televised Thanksgiving Day game. Bucko was then drafted in the sixth round of the American Football League to play professional football for the (then) Boston Patriots (now New England Patriots), however he declined as he found his true career passion to be in education as an English professor. He then completed his undergraduate degree at Saint Vincent College, and went on to achieve his master of arts degree at Indiana University of PA. He began his career locally teaching at Washington TWP High School before embarking on his career as a college professor of English. He worked in-depth in the equal rights movement at the college level. His early career in the English departments encompassed teaching at Edinboro, Alliance and Gannon Colleges before moving on to the English departments at Pitt and CCAC, where he retired in 2013. He continued to be an avid sports fan and enthusiast and enjoyed watching and coaching all three sports. He was inducted into the Alle-Kiski Hall of Fame in 2012. Along with realizing his career passion, Bucko also discovered his life's passion when he married Judith K. (Petrouski) in 1962. Bucko affectionately referred to his wife as the beautiful "Judy Blue Eyes." Bucko and Judy enjoyed raising three children, Joseph, Christine and Anthony, who all remain close at heart. Bucko and Judy's family continued to blossom with the birth of each of their eight grandchildren. Bucko is survived and loved by his wife, Judith K.(Petrouski) Petrarca, of Vandergrift; son, Joseph S. (Grace) Petrarca, of New Hartford, Conn.; daughter, Christine Petrarca, of San Diego, Calif.; son, Anthony C. (Pamela) Petrarca, of Venetia, Pa.; four granddaughters, Olivia Petrarca, of Columbus, Ohio, Julia Petrarca (University of NH), Cecelia Petrarca (Penn State) and Sophia Petrarca (Ethyl Walker High School); and four grandsons, Nicholas Petrarca (Ohio State), Jacob Petrarca (Duquesne University), Samuel Petrarca (Penn State-Behrend) and Lucas Petrarca (Peters Township High School). Visitation will be from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, at the DUNMIRE-KERR AND ROWE FUNERAL HOME INC., 244 Franklin Ave., Vandergrift, where additional viewing will be held from 9 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. Monday. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Gertrude Catholic Church, Vandergrift. Interment will be in St. Gertrude Catholic Cemetery, Vandergrift. A memorial luncheon will be held at noon Monday, Nov. 16, at Wooden Door Winery, Vandergrift, following funeral services. Visit us at http://www.dunmirekerr.com. Plants/flowers may be sent to the funeral home, or memorial donations be made to Alzheimer's association.
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