Joseph R. Parknavy, 90, of White Oak, passed away Thursday, May 23, 2019, at Family Hospice & Palliative Care in Pittsburgh. Born Oct. 18, 1928, in New Castle, he was the son of the late Joseph and Anna Goffus Parknavy.
He is survived by his high school sweetheart and beloved wife of 70 years, Jane Waskowitz-Parknavy, of White Oak; sister, Joan (Ron) Corman, of Fort Myers, Fla.; loving children Joseph J. (Debbie) Parknavy, of White Oak, Carol (late husband Dennis) Burlikowski, of Murrysville, and Robert (Cindy), of Upper St. Clair. He was "Poppy" to his grandchildren, Joseph C. (Darlene) Parknavy, Jonathan (Jennifer) Parknavy, Joel (Chelsea) Parknavy, Michael (Erin) Burlikowski, Anna (Paul) Eichner and Robby Parknavy; great-grandchildren, Kahlan, Elena Burlikowski, Evelyn, and Adam Eichner. Joe graduated from McKeesport High School in 1946. He played shortstop on the 1945 Championship baseball team where he crossed the plate as the winning run at Forbes Field during their Championship game. Joe was also a staff writer of the McKeesport High School Red and Blue newspaper. Throughout his life, he enjoyed sharing memories and serving on many Class of '46 alumni high school reunion committees. After graduation, Joe held construction management positions in the Central Engineering Department at J. M. Foster Co., Bess Construction Co., and US Steel Corp., where he managed large projects at the Irvin Works plant and Clairton Coke Works. Upon retirement from US Steel, Joe became the building inspector/code enforcement officer of White Oak Borough for nine years of service. Joe also enjoyed his time with his many local friends in the McKeesport Rotary Club. Joe's talents were many, but his most notable was as lead singer in the vocal group, The Wright Brothers, where their MGM Record's hit single "If I Give My Heart to You" climbed to No. 9 on the charts of the Sept. 18, 1954, Billboard magazine. The Wright Brothers followed that hit up with other singles under the Jem and Fee Bee labels with a strong Pittsburgh following. During their popularity, The Wright Brothers entertained hundreds of fans at area clubs such as Paulie's Look Out in West Mifflin and The Lamplighter restaurant in Delmont. Joseph was a member of Holy Family Polish National Catholic Church in McKeesport, where he served on the rectory building committee. His incredible singing of "White Christmas" at the annual Holy Family Christmas Wigilia dinner was legendary. Arrangements were entrusted to Jaycox-Jaworski Funeral Home & Crematory. There will be no visitation, but family and friends are asked to participate in the celebration of Joseph's life and funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 28. 2019, at Holy Family Polish National Catholic Church, 1921 Eden Park Blvd., McKeesport, PA 15132. Burial will be private. If desired, memorial contributions may be made to Holy Family Polish National Catholic Church Organ Fund. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.jaycox-jaworskifh.com
Originally published May 24, 2019.