Joseph A. Tarr, Jr., 90, Rt. 957, Russell, Pa., passed away on November 24, 2012, at UPMC Hamot Medical Center, Erie, Pa., from congenital heart failure.
Joseph was born January 31, 1922, in Erie, Pa., the son of the late Joseph and Clara (Zimmerman) Tarr. Joseph graduated from Academy High School in 1940. He worked at General Electric before entering the Army Air Corps in October, 1942. He earned his flight wings in March 1944 as a B17 pilot. Stationed in Nuthampstead, England, he flew 35 missions from October 1944 to February 1945; nearly all of his missions were over Germany as a member of the 298th Bomb Group. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross among several medals.
On October 17, 1945, he married Betty Jean Mason and began 66+ years of marriage. Joseph went to Gannon College and Pennsylvania State University where he earned a B.S. degree and then a Masters in Wildlife Management in 1953. In 1956 Joseph and Betty moved to Russell, Pa., where he became a forester for Hillerich & Bradsby buying white ash for baseball bats. He retired in 1987 but continued to survey land and manage timber sales for private owners.
Always an avid hunter and fisherman, he pursued a variety of hobbies and interests during his years in Russell. He was an Explorer Scout Leader, a member of the Russell Volunteer Fire Department, a member of North Star Lodge #241, a baseball coach, a developer of Werner Park, a member of the school board, and a lifetime member of the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club where he and Betty could be found on Wednesday and Friday nights.
He loved golf and was still playing in two leagues this past summer. But the first love of his life-Betty-led him to dancing from the moment they met. Joseph and Betty formed Tarr's Stars and were part of Circle 8 dance group. Joseph "called" Western Round and Ballroom Dancing in clubs in Pennsylvania, New York, and Canada.
Joseph was a long time member of the Russell United Methodist Church where he was head usher and worked on several committees. He was a true patriot and late in life participated in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and attended many reunions for the 298th Bomb Group as a member of the 603d Squadron.
Joseph will be remembered as a loving husband and father. Those who knew Joe well recognized him as a trustworthy and honorable man.
Joseph is survived by son, Patrick H. Tarr and his wife Susan, Arlington, Va., and their children, Aaron Joseph Tarr and his wife Rachel, Annandale, Va., and Allison Tarr and her fiance Andy Deptula, Dedham, Ma.; by daughter Debbie Darigan and her husband Bob of RI and Conn., and their daughter Amber in Danielson, Conn.; and by two halfsisters Eleanor Van Tilburg and Margaret Bender. Patrick and Debbie wish to recognize the special love and support of Jackie Tarr and Kate during these last few weeks.
In addition to his parents, Joseph was preceded in death by wife Betty, by sisters Marjorie Tess and Clara Anderson, and by his halfbrother John D. (Jack) Tarr.
Friends will be received at the Peterson Blick Funeral Home, Inc., 1003 Penn Ave., E., Warren, on Wednesday, November 28, from, 5 to 8 p.m. A funeral service will be at the Russell United Methodist Church, 17 N. Main St, Russell, Pa., on Thursday, November 29 at 11 a.m., with Rev. David Heckman, pastor, officiating.
Burial will follow at Pine Grove Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Russell United Methodist Church Building Fund, 17 N. Main St, Russell, Pa. 16345 or the Penn State University School of Forestry.
E-condolences will be received at www.petersonblickfuneralhome.com.