The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 3, 2013

WWII Navy vet shares her story

JOHNSTOWN — Ann Sotak is proud that she is a member of what has become known as the Greatest Generation.

The longtime Lower Yoder Township resident, who turns 90 on March 29, looks forward to telling people about her role during World War II as a civil servant for the U.S. Navy in Washington and Johnstown.

After graduating from Johnstown High School in 1942, Sotak was looking for employment when she landed a clerical job at a naval office on a site that now is home to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The only person she knew in the nation’s capital was a female classmate, who helped Sotak to find lodging at a boarding house for women.

Sotak, who worked with about 100 others in the office, served as a typist and file clerk.

“Washington made me responsible for myself,” Sotak said about how being on her own made her independent quickly.

She was impressed with Washington and was able to experience things she never could have back home.

After working in Washington for 11⁄2 years, she was able to transfer to the Navy’s Johns­town office when an opening became available.

The Navy had a huge contract with the former Johns­town Plant, Bethlehem Steel Corp., to make steel products for amphibious landing crafts.

Because of the enormity of the contract, the Navy wanted a presence inside the Gautier Division of the steel plant.

Sotak started off doing clerical work in Johnstown but soon became part of the manufacturing process, dodging hot billets to ensure that the steel products, labeled with heat markings, were being shipped to the correct manufacturing facility.

Sotak helped to close the Johnstown office when the war ended.

She still keeps in touch with a couple of women with whom she worked at the Washington office.

Sotak is proud of her service during the war effort and proud of the nation, calling it the greatest country in the world.

Geeg Eash of Hooversville, Sotak’s daughter, said her mother enjoys telling people about her work with the Navy and the time spent living in Washington.

“It took a lot of courage,” she said about her mother leaving home at such a young age to go to Washington.


Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • foust_25 Teen shot in Oakhurst

    A 16-year-old New Jersey boy was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center on Thursday after being shot three times in the Oakhurst section of Johnstown.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Audit: City overspent by $700G in 2013

    Legacy costs contributed significantly to the city of Johnstown coming up $689,000 short in its core services funding during 2013.

    July 24, 2014

  • Kuzma, jonathan Guilty plea in hammer death

    The Johnstown man who authorities said killed his father with a hammer last year pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal homicide, authorities said.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • quecreek rescue Events to mark anniversary of Quecreek rescue

    When word spread that nine Quecreek miners were trapped underground in July 2002, Bill Arnold’s dairy farm quickly became the rescue effort’s ground zero.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huger, Stephen Accused Hornerstown shooter will stand trial

    A Johnstown man will stand trial in connection with a July 12 shooting in the Hornerstown section of the city.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tribune Treasure!

    July 24, 2014

  • Board names Zahorchak’s successor

    The Greater Johnstown school board at a special meeting Thursday named a superintendent to replace the retiring superintendent, rehired its last business manager and approved other administrative appointments.

    July 24, 2014

  • Pasquerilla, Mark Pasquerilla recognized as arts patron

    First lady Susan Corbett announced Thursday from the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pa., that Mark Pasquerilla of Johnstown has earned the Patron Award from the 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ebensburg gets ready to party

    Party down with a shutdown.
    Downtown Shutdown, a street party featuring music and food, will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday in downtown Ebensburg.

    July 24, 2014

  • ROTARY Local Rotary Club earns recognition

    The Rotary Club of Johnstown was named Outstanding Large Club of the Year in District 7330, which serves 42 Rotary Clubs in seven counties in southwest Pennsylvania, at the Rotary District 7330 and District 7300 Joint Conference that was held June 26 through 29 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo


What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
House Ads