William George Valinch Jr., 74, of Hometown, Pa., formerly of North Huntington, died peacefully after a valiant battle with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Wednesday, April 1, 2020, at home with his loving girlfriend, companion and caretaker, Joan Yacobenas, by his side. He was born April 23, 1945, in Coaldale, Pa., the son of the late William George Valinch Sr. and Julia Mary (McGee) Valinch. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 28 years, Judith K. Valinch, who was tragically taken early in her life. Bill rallied through his heartbreak and continued his best to enjoy the gifts of what life had to offer. In addition to his parents and wife, he was preceded in death by his infant brother, William John. After graduating from Pius X High School in 1962, Bill attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, where he met his wife and became a lifelong Cornhusker fan, and took on the nickname "Big Red," that stuck with him throughout his life. He was enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, where he served 1965-1971. Bill had a fiery spirit that was apparent when he asked for Judy's hand in marriage. Being the typical Italian immigrant parents of the time, her parents asked him what part of Italy he was from. When he said Lithuania, they told him to hit the road. His strong personality won over her Italian parents and was married soon thereafter. It helped to have developed what would become a lifelong friendship with his soon to be brother-in-law and Italian ally, Robert M. Stefanon, with whom he bonded with and grew to become best friends until Bob passed away in 2010. Bill had a sense of humor like no other, and could tell a joke with a perfectly timed punch line on time – every time. He was also known for his catchy, humorous rhymes, which are still recited by young and old. Bill was one of the first employees of General Carbide, where he worked as sales engineer for almost 50 years. Although not officially retired, he was honored with a retirement dinner in 2014. Through his employment, he developed a lifelong friendship with the Pappafava family. As sales engineer, Bill was responsible for training of new hires, business development and maintaining existing business relationships. Through his infectious charisma, wise business decisions and sense of humor, he helped to build General Carbide to the business that it has become today. This lifelong friendship extended throughout the lives of the original founders, Primo and Lorraine, where Bill stepped in and never left their side during their end of life illnesses and beyond. When their daughter, Mona, was to walk down the aisle, Bill stepped in to walk Mona down the aisle. After walking her mother to her seat, he then stopped short of halfway down the aisle to allow the bride to be to be able to walk in spirit with her father, Primo. Bill then walked her from there to the altar. A truly moving tribute to her father and a testimony of Bill's love and honor to their family. In addition to his employment, Bill had a fascination with the history around the Civil War and visited numerous war battlefields. He was an avid golfer and bowler. Before moving, he was a member of the St. Edward Golf and Bowling League for many years. Taking golf seriously, he accumulated more than five sets of clubs that were at the ready. He was always looking for a club that could hit the ball the best, or furthest, just to win a bet, especially when he could beat his friend, Matt Rendulich. Through his love of sports, he followed the Pittsburgh Steelers for more than 60 years as one of their biggest fans. He was known to provide TV commentary and analysis before, during and after a Steelers or Cornhuskers game. With a win, he could deliver play by play assessment with how they can make it into the playoffs, and win a championship; and with a loss, he could justify why they need a coach change, and which players need to be replaced. Bill spent many days visiting the Stefanon Family in Herminie at "The Big House", where he took on the role of a loving uncle, offering advice, discipline and telling many of his jokes that live on today. As a widower, Bill first met Joan on a blind date during one of his frequent trips to Tamaqua, where he visited his parents. For Bill, it was love at first sight. At first, they would travel back and forth from Tamaqua to North Huntington and vice-versa, taking in Penn State games, walking, talking and getting to know one another. It wasn't until he was diagnosed with the debilitating disease, that they decided the best thing to do was to have Bill move out to Joan's place so that she could take care of him, a decision that everyone in the family agreed as the best decision for his care. Bill will be greatly missed by his loving brother, John R. Valinch and wife, Patricia, of Sacramento, Calif.; his heaven-sent angel and girlfriend, Joan Yocabenas, of Hometown; special cousin, Joe Linkevich, of Tamaqua, Pa.; nieces, Melissa Valinch-Fry, of Roseville, Calif.; Angela Valinch-Disney, of Kennewick, Wash.; Stephanie M. Bogac (Stefanon), of Herminie; and special niece, Mona Pappafava-Ray; nephews, Patrick F. Stefanon, of Herminie; and Michael A. Stefanon, of Manassas, Va.; and numerous great-nephews and nieces. Pending arrangements have been entrusted to the JOSEPH W. NICKELS FUNERAL HOME, Herminie.A remembrance event will be scheduled at a future appropriate time. To send online condolences, please visit www.nickelsfuneralhomeinc.com.
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