Joseph A. Tarr Jr., 90, Route 957, Russell, Pa., passed away Nov. 24, 2012, at UPMC Hamot Medical Center, Erie, Pa., from congenital heart failure.
Joseph was born Jan. 31, 1922, in Erie, Pa., the son of the late Joseph and Clara (Zimmerman) Tarr.
Joseph graduated from Academy High School in 1940. He worked at General Electric before entering the Army Air Corps in October, 1942. He earned his flight wings in March 1944 as a B-17 pilot. Stationed in Nuthampstead, England, he flew 35 missions from October 1944 to February 1945. Nearly all of his missions were over Germany as a member of the 398th Bomb Group. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross among several medals.
On Oct. 17, 1945, he married Betty Jean Mason and began 66-plus years of marriage. Joseph went to Gannon College and Pennsylvania State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree and then a master's degree in Wildlife Management in 1952. In 1956 Joseph and Betty moved to Russell, Pa., where he became a forester for Hillerich & Bradsby buying white ash for baseball bats. He retired in 1987, but continued to survey land and manage timber sales for private owners.
Always an avid hunter and fisherman, he pursued a variety of hobbies and interests during his years in Russell. He was an Explorer Scout Leader, a member of the Russell Volunteer Fire Department, a member of North Star Lodge 241, a baseball coach, a developer of Werner Park, a member of the school board, and a lifetime member of the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club, where he and Betty could be found on Wednes-day and Friday nights.
He loved golf and was still playing in two leagues this past summer. But the first love of his life, Betty, led him to dancing from the moment they met. Joseph and Betty formed Tarr's Stars and were part of Circle 8 dance group. Joseph "called" western round and ballroom dancing in clubs in Pennsylvania, New York, and Canada.
Joseph was a longtime member of the Russell United Methodist Church, where he was head usher and worked on several committees. He was a true patriot and late in life parti-cipated in the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and attended many reunions for the 398th Bomb Group as a member of the 603d Squadron.
Joseph will be remembered as a loving husband and father. Those who knew Joe well recognized him as a trustworthy and honorable man.
Joseph is survived by his son, Patrick H. Tarr and his wife, Susan, Arlington, Va., and their children: Aaron Joseph Tarr and his wife, Rachel, Annandale, Va., and Allison Tarr and her fiance, Andy Deptula, Dedham, Mass; his, daughter Debbie Darigan and her husband, Bob, of Rhode Island and Connecticut, and their daughter, Amber in Danielson, Conn; and by two half-sisters: Eleanor Van Tilburg and Margaret Bender. Patrick and Debbie wish to recognize the spe-cial love and support of Jackie Tarr and Kate during these last few weeks.
In addition to his parents, Joseph was preced-ed in death by his wife, Betty; by sisters Marjorie Tess and Clara Anderson; and by his half-brother, John D. (Jack) Tarr.
Friends will be received at the Peterson - Blick Funeral Home Inc., 1003 Penn Ave., E. Warren, on Wednesday, Nov. 28, from, 5-8 p.m. A funeral service will be held at the Russell United Methodist Church, 17 N. Main St, Russell, Pa., on Thursday, Nov. 29, at 11 a.m., with Rev. David Heckman, pastor, officiat-ing.
Burial will follow at Pine Grove Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Russell United Methodist Church Building Fund, 17 N. Main St, Russell, PA 16345; or the Penn State University School of Forestry.
E-condolences will be re-ceived at www.peterson-blickfuneralhome.com