The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


June 10, 2014

Earl J. Decker

MARYLAND — DECKER – Earl J., musician, storyteller and “Hillbilly from Hogback,” died at supper time Sunday, June 8, 2014. Despite his preference for leaving unannounced, his family kissed him good-bye. Born “Early” to Mary and Wilbur Earl Decker in Johnstown, he was followed by 11 brothers and sisters to whom he was an unflappable leader, a strong protector and the one who blazed the trail first down Hogback Hill to the two-room schoolhouse, and then through life. He was loved as a hero by saving others from near disaster (which he often caused), and he never lost his thrill of adventure, leading to the Decker Family Motto, Safety Second. The first music he heard was Mommy playing the piano and singing while Daddy accompanied her with the violin, and he filled every home he lived in with music. He played several instruments but his favorite was his guitar, which he used to teach Elvis how to play (an amazing accomplishment since he left western Pennsylvania for the first time in 1957). Earl was steadfast and bold, never frazzled and never hurried (except when driving, once earning three separate speeding tickets on a drive to Ocean City). He was the first call in any crisis, giving wise counsel and having firm faith in the bright side, always adding “Well at least… ” He was a hard worker and never complained, which was good when he and his wife, Joan, were raising their blended family of 11 kids. Their home in Columbia, Md., was safe haven for many, family and friends cycling through, the door always unlocked (the actual key was missing for years). But the center of his world, his heart, was Joan, and whenever he played his guitar and sang, he always chose one special song just for her and would look into her eyes as he sang it. Her death a few years after his daughter, Kathy’s, challenged his enthusiasm for life. It took a few years and a stint as a consultant in Singapore to return it, but he came home with optimism, and stories of dining on 100-year-old eggs and roasted snake. Earl was a constant, and highly entertaining storyteller. The tales were often long, always funny, and usually contained a valuable lesson or observation. He communicated through them, taught using them, and held his large and lively family together through the memories they contained. He went to every gathering and was the life of the party, often the last to leave. His family and friends know that for him the party hasn’t ended, it’s just changed venue, and Joan has been there waiting. Family will receive visitors from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 11, at Witzke Funeral Home Inc., 5555 Twin Knolls Road, Columbia, Md. 21045. Funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 12, at Church of the Resurrection, 3155 Paulskirk Drive, Ellicott City, Md. 21042. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Little Sisters of the Poor Capital Campaign.

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  • District Deaths July 25, 2014

    July 24, 2014

  • Clara Murphy Bond Bell

    BELL – Clara Murphy Bond, Windsor, N.C., and Edenhouse in Bertie County, N.C., died Monday, July 21, 2014.

    July 24, 2014

  • Biller,Fred Fred G. Biller

    BILLER – Fred G., 91, Cresson, died July 24, 2014, at Our Lady of The Alleghenies Residence, Hollidaysburg.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • John R. Haywood

    HAYWOOD – John R., 82, Richland Township, went to be with the Lord July 24, 2014, at Memorial Medical Center.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hull, David David G. Hull Jr.

    HULL – David G. “Too Tall” Jr., 60, South Fork, died July 23, 2014, at Windber Hospice.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stephan Krisko

    KRISKO – Stephan “Tib,” 89, passed away July 22, 2014, at home.

    July 24, 2014

  • Muncert,Elizabeth Elizabeth Anne Muncert

    MUNCERT – Elizabeth Anne, 86, Johnstown, passed away July 23, 2014, at The Lutheran Home at Johnstown.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schuller,Sadie Sadie Schuller

    SCHULLER – Sadie, 85, Moxham, lost her battle with cancer July 23, 2014, at home.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mary Grace Spodinak

    SPODINAK – Mary Grace, 87, Johnstown, died July 24, 2014, at Church of the Brethren Home.

    July 24, 2014

  • Nancy L. (Adeline) Yoder

    YODER – Nancy L. (Adeline), 75, formerly of Tire Hill, died July 21, 2014, at her home at Richland Towers.

    July 24, 2014

  • Funerals July 25, 2014

    July 24, 2014

  • District Deaths July 24, 2014

    July 23, 2014

  • Thomas Barton Jr.

    BARTON – Thomas Jr., 87, Central City, died July 21, 2014, at home.

    July 23, 2014

  • Bermosk,Dorothy Dorothy B. Bermosk

    BERMOSK – Dorothy B., 87, Johnstown, passed away July 20, 2014, at Golden Living Center.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carney,Leland Leland Doyle Carney Jr.

    CARNEY – Leland Doyle Jr. “Junior” or “Lee,” 77, Pomaria, S.C., formerly of Seward, went to be with the Lord Monday, July 21, 2014.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ernest R. Contrillo

    CONTRILLO – Ernest R., 61, Pittsburgh, formerly of Central City, died July 20, 2014.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duncan, Cecelia Cecelia C. Duncan

    DUNCAN – Cecelia C. “Sue,” 78, Johnstown, died July 22, 2014, at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Capt. Dudley C. Hunt

    HUNT – Capt. Dudley C., (retired) MPD, Washington, D.C., 77, Windber, passed away July 22, 2014, at home.

    July 23, 2014

  • Dorothy M. (Moyer) Kepler

    KEPLER – Mrs. Dorothy M. (Moyer), 90, Scottsdale, Ariz., formerly of Portage, entered into new life July 19, 2014, at Hospice of the Valley, Scottsdale.

    July 23, 2014

  • Anna Marie Krumenacker

    KRUMENACKER – Anna Marie, 85, Carrolltown, passed away July 22, 2014, at St. Jude’s Haven, Johnstown.

    July 23, 2014

  • Funerals July 24, 2014

    July 23, 2014

  • Black,Debbie Deborah Block

    BLOCK – Deborah, 62, Johnstown, died July 21, 2014, at Memorial Medical Center.

    July 22, 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.

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