Matushka Georgette J. Matychak, 67, beloved wife of Archpriest Andrew Matychak, Rector of Saints Peter and Paul Church, Altoona, PA, fell asleep in the Lord peacefully at her residence on Sunday, May 19, 2019.
Matushka 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, Ambridge, PA. She would go on to attend the University of Pittsburgh where she graduated with her Bachelor of Science and Master degrees in 1973. On November 10, 1973, she would marry her husband, Gary A. Matychak—later ordained as Father Andrew in the Orthodox Church of America.
In December of 1973, she 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 1978, Matushka Georgette, along with her husband, opened the doors to Harbor House Preschool and Kindergarten. Since Harbor House opened, she 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 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 Matychaks moved to Altoona to serve Saints Peter and Paul Church. Soon they would find themselves shepherding two other parishes—Saint Mary’s Church, Ganister, PA, and Holy Ascension Church, 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.
Matushka Georgette 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. She 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.
Visitation will be held at the Jones Funeral Home, Altoona, PA from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22. A private family service will be held at Saints Peter and Paul Church, Altoona, PA at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 23, with Priest Stephen Gresh officiating. Interment will be held at Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery, Altoona, PA.
Memorial contributions may be made to Saints Peter and Paul Church, 2027 – 13th Avenue, Altoona, PA 16601 or Blair Type 1 Diabetes Foundation, PO Box 3052, Altoona, PA 16603 or blairtype1diabetesfoundation.org.
May Matushka Georgette’s memory be eternal!