Georgette J. Matychak, 67, Altoona, died peacefully of natural causes at her residence on Sunday, May 19, 2019.
Georgette was born in Sewickley, PA to the late George P. Joseph and Irene (Yawor) Brenner on January 3, 1952. She was a 1969 graduate of Ambridge High School in Ambridge, PA. She would go on to attend the University of Pittsburgh where she graduated with her Bachelor of Science and Master's degrees in 1973. On November 10, 1973, she would marry her husband Gary Matychak - later ordained as the V. Rev. Andrew in the Orthodox Church of America.
In December of 1973, Georgette moved to Altoona and would make this her home. In her early years in Altoona, Georgette worked as a classroom supervisor for the Children's Center for Special Learning. In this role, she worked with children with special needs, supervised several recreational programs across the city, and began her life-long commitment to early childhood education and advocacy.
In August of 1978, Georgette, along with her husband Gary, opened the doors to Harbor House Preschool and Kindergarten. Since Harbor House opened, Georgette endeavored to create an environment that fostered a hunger for learning and a never-ending sense of curiosity for each Harbor House kid that walked through the door. Anybody who knew her knows that on a daily basis, she strived to set a very high bar for early childhood education, believing that every child deserved a solid and age-appropriate educational foundation. She taught and encouraged children to stretch their limits, ask questions, creatively solve problems, and above all, to never, ever, fear failing. During her 40 plus years at the helm of Harbor House, "Miss Georgette", as she was fondly known, touched the lives of thousands of children, which now includes a second generation of Harbor House kids.
Her love for educating children was matched by her love and commitment to her churches. The V. Rev. Andrew and Georgette, moved to Altoona to serve the SS Peter & Paul Orthodox Church. Soon they would find themselves shepherding three church parishes (St. Mary's in Ganister, PA & Holy Ascension Church in Colver, PA). As mother of the churches, she oversaw the choir, as well as the religious education and fellowship programs in each of the churches.
Nothing, however, compared to her love of family. She worked tirelessly to make every holiday, vacation, or get together truly special. She is survived by her husband, as well as her son Jon-Paul (J.P.) Matychak, her daughter-in-law Jennifer Matychak, her granddaughter Abigail Matychak, and her grandson Andrew Matychak, all of Natick, MA; a sister Carol Jean Balcer, of Slippery Rock, PA; and brother Regis Joseph, of Allison Park, PA. Georgette was preceded in death by a brother Dennis Joseph, a nephew Neil Balcer, a brother-in-law Joseph Anderson, and a sister-in-law Roberta Joseph, as well as many other loved ones.
A private funeral service for family members will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 23, 2019, at SS Peter & Paul Orthodox Church, Altoona, PA 16601 with celebrant Fr. Stephan Gresh.
Burial and prayers of internment will follow at the SS Peter & Paul Orthodox Church Cemetery, Altoona, PA.
The family will receive visitors from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at Jones Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to SS Peter & Paul Orthodox Church, 2027 13th Avenue, Altoona, PA 16601, or to the Blair Type 1 Diabetes Foundation, via mail at P.O. Box 3052, Altoona, PA 16603 or online at blairtype1diabetesfoundation.org.