Raymond E. Amato, 78, Antis Township, died Wednesday afternoon at UPMC Altoona after a brief illness.
He was born in Altoona, son of the late Ralph F. and Evelyn (Peck) Amato. He married Joyce Merrick on April 12, 1958, at St. Helena's Catholic Church, Minneapolis, Minn.
Surviving are his wife of 55 years; two daughters: Karen Amato Post of Antis Township and Kathleen (David) Edmiston of Mechanicsburg; two sons: Michael (Alison) of Bellwood and Joseph (Katherine) of Thousand Oaks, Calif.; nine grandchildren: Dennis Edmiston, Amanda Gerhart, Nicole Rae Post, Derrick Edmiston, Calvin Amato, Kristina Edmiston and Zachary, Karyss and Alexander Amato; two great-grandchildren: Mollie Gerhart and J.J. Edmiston; a brother, Ralph "Pete" of Altoona; and two sisters: Mary Himes of Altoona and Nancy Little in Florida.
He was preceded in death by two sisters: Joanne and Evelyn; and two brothers: Albert Amato and Donald Peck.
Ray served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean conflict and retired as a sergeant first class with the Army Reserve after 21 years of service. He retired as a supervisor at Conrail. He was a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Bellwood, where he served as president of the finance committee.
Ray was a well-known member of the community and served in many civic and community organizations, including as chairman of the Antis Township Board of Supervisors with over 30 years of service and president of Bellwood-Antis Township Park and Recreation Authority. He was a board member of the Northern Blair County Recreation Center, past president of Altoona Jaycees, a former state and national director of United States Jaycees, and a member of the Knights of Columbus, Monsignor O'Malley Chapter, Bellwood, the Jaffa Shrine, American Wine Society, Dry Hollow Run Hunting Camp and many others.
Ray enjoyed volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, hunting, playing bocce, winemaking, playing with his dog, Princess, and most importantly spending time with his loved ones.
Friends will be received from 1 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. today, Dec. 20, 2013, at Jon C. Russin Funeral Home, Bellwood, where a vigil for the deceased will also be held. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Bellwood, the Rev. David H. Roesch as celebrant. Committal with military honors will be at Calvary Cemetery Mausoleum, Altoona.
The family suggests that, in memory of Ray, contributions be made to Bellwood-Antis Township Park and Recreation Authority, 909 N. Second St., Bellwood, PA 16617.