Celebrating the life of Leon Charles Jurgill
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Leon was born September 22, 1930 in Centralia, a son of the late George Jurgill and his wife Cecelia (Stanitski) Jurgill of Centralia.
He attended St. Ignatius Grade School and Hubert Eicher High School in Centralia and Con-Cen High School in Aristes.
He was a Korean War veteran who served his country overseas in the US Army, 3rd Armored Division.
After meeting at a dance at Washington Hall in Kulpmont and dating for a year, he married the former Elaine Horoschak of Coal Run on April 30, 1955 in St. Anthony’s Church, Ranshaw. They eventually established a home in Centralia, raising seven children and enjoying almost 66 years of marriage.
Leon, who was involved with mining since childhood, worked for many years as a heavy equipment operator in the coal industry for local mining companies including Miller & McIntyre, J. Robert Bazley, Pagnotti Enterprises, Sanchez Mining & Construction, Rosini Coal Co., Sosnoski & Stroh Coal Co. and Jeddo Highland Coal Company. He also co-owned and operated independent mining companies J&J Coal Company, K&J Coal Company and P&J Coal Company. He could often be seen hauling coal to Savitski’s breaker in Atlas. He also served in the 1960’s as Treasurer of the United Mine Workers Local for the Centralia mining area. Later in his work career he was employed for many years by the Borough of Centralia as Maintenance Supervisor, their only full time employee responsible for maintaining the town’s streets and public areas year-round and mentoring young men in the summer work program.
Leon was active in advocating to save his beloved hometown of Centralia which was tragically affected by the underground mine fire, including serving on borough council for a short time. Ultimately, he relocated his family to Wilburton in 1987, to a home that he used his own skills and labor to complete.
Leon was best known for his hard work and love of his family who were delighted by his wonderful sense of humor, storytelling, comforting bear hugs, and words of reassurance and love. Despite his strong exterior, he had a heart of gold and sensitive side that appreciated simple acts of love and kindness shown toward him, especially as he aged. Leon had a great love of music and played piano and sang for his fellow troops in Korea and at various locations throughout the coal region including the Marco Townhouse and Harry Heffner’s Bar in Ashland and the American Legion in Centralia. He could always be heard humming a tune, or playing the accordion or piano, both self-taught skills. His singing voice was easily recognized, especially of his favorite hymn, “How Great Thou Art,” most recently sung during his brief but enjoyable time as a member of the Lift Your Spirits group.
His hobbies included deer hunting with his son Leon Jr., working around his home, trips to the casinos on the King Coal bus with friends and family and reminiscing with friends about the “glory days” of coal mining.
Leon was a member of the Divine Redeemer Church and VFW in Mt. Carmel and a 66 year member of the American Legion Post 608 (Centralia) Wilburton, PA.
He was preceded in death by his brother Joseph Jurgill of Trevorton Road.
Surviving in addition to his loving wife of almost 66 years, Elaine Jurgill are sons, Daniel of Elysburg, Leon Jr. and James of Wilburton and daughters, Elaine Rompolski of Mill Grove, Catherine Czarneski and husband Donald of Ft. Pierce, FL, Susan Fletcher and husband Michael of Kulpmont and Mary Ray and husband James of Coralville, IA; eleven grandchildren, eight great- grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 11:00 am at Divine Redeemer Church with the Rev. Ryan Fischer, Pastor as celebrant. Interment with military honors will follow at All Saints Cemetery, Ralpho Township. A viewing will be held on Saturday morning from 9:00 am until 10:45 am at the Joseph J. Stutz, Inc. Funeral Home, 40 South Market Street Mt. Carmel, Joseph J. Stutz, III Supervisor. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy can be made by offering Mass intentions for Leon or to Divine Redeemer Church, 438 West Avenue Mt. Carmel, PA 17851. To leave a condolence to the family please visit www.stutzfuneralhome.com
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40 South Market St.
Mount Carmel, PA 17851
Mass of Christian Burial
300 West Avenue
Mount Carmel, PA 17851
172 All Saints Road
Elysburg, PA 17824