Joseph Michael Hrezo
January 17, 1942 – August 2, 2019
Joe Hrezo, 77, formerly of New Salem, PA passed away on August 2, 2019 in Jupiter, FL after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Born on January 17, 1942, in Uniontown, PA, he was the son of the late Michael and Elizabeth (Demeter) Hrezo of New Salem, PA.
Joe graduated as an All-State athlete from Uniontown Area High School in 1959. He continued his education and football career at the University of Maryland, College Park, earning his Bachelors of Science degree in Business and Public Administration in 1963.
After college, Joe served our country for four and a half years in the United States Air Force and ascended to the rank of Captain. Following his military service, he worked for Air America, Inc. and World Airways, Inc. based in Manila, Philippines and Bangkok, Thailand. While working with World Airways, he participated in “Operation Babylift”, a humanitarian effort that transported over 3,300 infants and children out of South Vietnam. In 1975, he was instrumental in coordinating and executing "The Last Flight Out of Danang, Vietnam". Parts of Joe’s involvement were included in the books, “Tears Before the Rain” by Larry Engelmann and “The War Cradle” by Shirley Peck-Barnes.
Joe enjoyed a career in Logistics and Airline Transportation Management in Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Indonesia before returning to the United States where he worked for Emery Worldwide Airlines and later ASTAR Air Cargo, Inc., retiring in 2012.
Joe is survived by his devoted and loving wife of 30 years, Carolina 'Suzy' (Suwandi) Hrezo, whom he met while working in Indonesia and will love “Always and Forever”. Left to cherish Joe’s memory are his sister, Irene (Hrezo) Marshall and her husband, Frank, of New Salem, PA; nephew Matthew of Richland, WA and fiancée Jeannette Podlogar of Uniontown, PA; nephew Daniel of Columbia, MD; and niece Natalie of Carnegie, PA. Joe is also survived by his uncle, Brother Joseph Mary Hrezo, CPPS, of Carthagena , OH.
Surviving in Indonesia are his mother-in-law, Mariati Suwandi, and sister-in-law, Angelica 'Lica' Suwandi. Also surviving are sisters-in-law Patricia 'Patty' (Chris) Staley from Newport, RI and Laurensia 'Laura' (Patrick) Murnaghan; niece, Catherine and nephew, Paul Michael from Wellington, FL. He will also be remembered by many special cousins and beloved friends.
Joe was a member of Saint Peter Catholic Church in Jupiter, FL, the American Legion, Post CH01, the University of Maryland Alumni Association, and the Uniontown Class of 1959 Scholarship Committee. Joe was inducted into the Uniontown Area High School Hall of Fame (2017) followed by his induction into the Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame (2018).
A memorial mass will be held at St Peter's Catholic Church at 1701 Indian Creek Pkwy, Jupiter, FL 33458 on August 24, 2019 at 10am.
The family would like to send their sincere gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and staff at the Trustbridge Hospice Foundation, Jupiter, FL.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make a donation in Joe’s memory to the Uniontown High School Class of 1959 Scholarship Fund (http://uhs1959.com/schol.htm).
Arrangements are in the care of the Aycock Riverside Funeral and Cremation Center, 1112 Military Trail, Jupiter, FL 33458.
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Saint Peter Catholic
1701 Indian Creek Pkwy
Joseph Michael Hrezo
August 17, 2019
Will miss you enormously. Will pray for you. Be in peace wherever you are.
Your Friend Thao.
August 8, 2019
Condolences to Joe's family. He was a true gentleman.
August 7, 2019
Joe was one of the best bosses I ever had. He will be missed. One of our co-workers told me one of Joe's jokes.
"What is the difference between a good hair cut and a bad one"
August 6, 2019
My sincerest condolences to you and your family. I’ll miss his weekly emails. With fondness I can recall stories he told me.
As you know I was born in the tropics (Indonesia), so Joe shared many precious stories with me. After serving in the USAF, he worked for Air America, World Airways and after his return to the U.S. for other companies.
I remember so well his heart wrenching stories about “Operation Babylift”, an intense humanitarian effort to fly 3,300 infants out of South Vietnam. Joe never bragged about his critical role of saving children and their mothers.
In 1975, he was instrumental in coordinating and executing the last flight on a World Airways Boeing 727-100 airliner escaping out of Danang, Vietnam. Joe was the last one on board and standing on a step of the air-stairs in the rear of the plane during the flight. He almost didn’t make the flight. The plane had 105 seats, but carried 360 passengers, 260 crammed in the cabin and more in baggage compartments and wheel wells. The plane was over-loaded by an estimated 20,000 pounds. The stairs were jammed with people and consequently the plane took off and flew with the stairs partially down with Joe on the end. There is more to this story. Joe’s heart was with suffering people and that’s why I always admired him.
Joe was involved in many projects in Indonesia. He admired the hardworking people who worked for and with him not only in Indonesia and neighboring countries but also the ones after his return to America.
Last but not least, he was not only a patriot, but my loyal friend.
Joe is now with the Lord and in peace, suffering no more pains.
Suzy, peace with you.
August 6, 2019
What a great guy, Joe was a kind human being and a true professional. RIP
Rick West / Emery
August 5, 2019
I so enjoyed working with Joe at Emery. Always happy and such a gentleman. My sympathy to Suzy and family. Joe will deeply missed. God Bless
August 4, 2019
Joe was a great friend to us. He will be truly missed. We will always remember him with great fondness. As he called us, the dynamic duo
Mark and Lindsay
August 4, 2019
Our sincerest condolences to you and your family. Joe was a great friend and patriot. He will be missed. God Bless.
Paul and Sandra Faltyn
August 3, 2019
I'm very sorry to learn of Joe's passing. Joe was a good guy and I always looked forward to seeing him and Suzy at our reunions. He was dedicated to Uniontown and our scholarship committee. He will be very much missed by our whole class. My sincere sympathy to Suzy and his entire family.