It is with deep sadness the family of Andrew (“Andy”) Turian, 95, shares his passing at Charlotte Hall Veteran’s Home on November 4, 2022 after a long struggle with dementia.
Andrew ("Andy") Turian was born in Derry, PA, in the coal mining hills southeast of Pittsburgh, on 5-Aug-1927, the youngest of eight children of John and Anna (Menko) Turian, immigrants from eastern Slovakia (or Hungary, or Ukraine, depending on who was drawing the maps). He always identified as Slovak, and Slovak was spoken at home. He called himself, alternately, the "baby of the family", the "black sheep of the family", or "Peck's bad boy", and spoke impishly of stealing corn and needing to be covertly saved from cold nights outdoors by his closest sister, Julia.
After an elementary education, he landed at the National Youth Administration's South Park Resident Center. They trained him for 1248 hours in machine shop work (though he had hopes of welding), and a favorable recommendation letter in August of 1942 started his machinist’s career at H.J. Heinz in Pittsburg, PA. He made pontoon bridge locks and glider bits in support of the war effort. And he watched ketchup and mustard being made. He also made parts for the movements of animated Christmas window display figures (though not likely at H.J. Heinz).
In May 1946 he was honorably discharged as a Private from from the United States Army, having served the 4112th Army Air Force Base Unit as a Machinist II (before that, he served as a Military Policeman!). In 1951, he trained at Fort Jackson, SC, and joined Battery C, 56th Field Artillery Battalion of the 8th Infantry Division. This service took him to Germany, where he worked out of a van-turned-machine-shop, and fell in love with biergartens and Oktoberfest (“For leave, we were issued a stein and told to drink only beer because the water would make you sick.”, and “They had beer coming out of the water fountains!”). Some time later, he served in the Maryland Army National Guard as a Sergeant in their Signal Corp, graduating from Projectionist School in 1962.
He moved to Westinghouse in Pittsburg, PA. They, in turn, moved him to their Ferndale, MD, Aerospace Division, and finally to their Sandy Point, MD, Oceanic Division where, on their pier, he took his son Mark to fish and watch the Chesapeake Bay Bridge’s second span decks get lowered in place by Sikorsky "skycrane" helicopters. He retired in circa 1993 as a Senior Machinist Technician, whereupon his peers presented him with a welder. He never met a tool he didn't like: in a store, at a show, or on the road. He always stopped to pick up stray hardware from roads and sidewalks, lest they puncture someone’s tire, and rarely failed to check the coin returns of pay-phones and vending machines.
In Pittsburg he met his beloved, Ann Stefan of Brownsville, PA, who on 2-May-1953 became his wife of 27 years until her death in 1980. After a long-distance PA Turnpike relationship, courtesy of his much loved Studebaker, they settled in Glen Burnie, MD. Their first child, Beverly Ann, was born, and died, in January, 1963. Their son Mark was born in August of 1967.
As a founding member of Patronage of the Mother of God Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Church in Arbutus, MD, Andy worked to refurbish and maintain the Rectory and Church, proper, from bleeding radiators to installing ceiling lights for the icon screen and stencilling the chairs in the Church Hall. He supported Church fundraising by working Bingo at Kurtz’s Pleasure Beach and preparing potato pancakes on an outdoor grill at the Church's bazaars.
In 1978, he joined the Knights of Columbus' St. Agnes Council #4449 in Catonsville, MD; but he changed his home Council to the Fr. McGivney Council #7025 in Glen Burnie, serving as Grand Knight (1997-1998). After retirement he embraced their primary service, supporting special needs children of Ruth Parker Eason School in Millersville, MD. He collected donations during "Tootsie Roll" drives at various Glen Burnie intersections and the Annapolis Boat Show, supervised outdoor education activities at Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center, and volunteered at Knights of Columbus sponsored school events. He supplemented that with an aluminum can collection route. The Council also maintained a rosary campaign, and he became proficient at painstakingly hand-crafting rosaries, bead-by-bead, turning a tiny metal hook for each. He often paused at the Council home to watch osprey fish in Marley Creek, and to collect black walnuts in the early fall.
Andy’s musical tastes were rooted in the Big Band era, and extended to the likes of Elvis Presley, Harry Belefonte, Burl Ives, and most anything Polka, Country, or German Biergarten. Andre Rieu's orchestra changed his later life. He played harmonica (though he had hopes for accordion), the lottery, and a mean game of dots. He bowled ten-pins, but never touched cards.
A Pittsburg Pirates and Steelers fan by birth, Andy adopted Baltimore's Colts, Orioles, and, later, Ravens (unless they were playing the Steelers). Johnny Unitas and Brooks Robinson were two of his sports 'heroes'. A life-long dog person, he also found heart-room for Mark's cats, especially Selene, who was a companion for too short a time.
An obsessive photographer, but an elusive subject who rarely smiled, Andy shot 35 mm and medium-format black & white, 35 mm color, Polaroid, and 8 mm film. He also practiced tape recording (reel-to-reel, then cassette -- the cassette recorder ran for nearly all of the Nixon impeachment hearings!). He would want you to (re-)watch The Sound of Music, Ben Hur, Dr. Zhivago, and The Bells of St Mary's. He loved beer, Bourbon, and Becherovka ("That'll put hair on your chest!”).
In his later years, Andy traveled the east coast of the United states with his longtime companion Alleene, ranging from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Newfoundland with side trips to Dollywood and the Opry, in Tennessee, and Rome, in Italy. (Though his long-stated retirement lark was to tour the country coast-to-coast in an RV.)
Andy was both smart and street-smart, compassionate and gentle, and very slow to anger ("That just burns me up!") but gifted with ready tears when things moved him. He was more likely to be just irritated, especially at engineers, whose "book learning" was not matched by enough "hands on" experience to be sensible; but he shared what he knew to help them understand the real world. Perpetually curious about what things were and how they worked, he had books on Atlantis to airplane engines, spycraft to Chariots of the Gods. He once took specimens of a peculiar bug to the local agricultural extension service to have it identified (it was a boxelder bug). He often referred to his mind as "always racing”. He kept his guns pristine, his vehicles waxed, and his yard trimmed; but his workbench and toolboxes were a study in chaos.
In addition to his parents, wife, and daughter, Andy was predeceased by his brothers Peter and John, his sisters Elizabeth Medved, Mary, Helen, Ann McIntire, and Julia Charnesky, and his nephews Stanley Charnesky, David Turian, John Turian Jr., Rudy Medved, and John J Kasula, Jr. He is survived by his son Mark, nieces Eileen Rader, Genevie Johnson, Colette Metcalf, and Francis Pollaro. Additionally, he is survived by his brother in-law John Stefan and his wife Lou, and his sister in-law Helen Rode.
He invariably said "take care" in place of "goodbye", and at the viewing of his brother John’s wife Helen, Andy said to him, "We're all just passing through." Indeed.
A viewing will be held at Ambrose Funeral Home, 1328 Sulphur Spring Road, Arbutus, MD 21227 on Thursday from 4-6pm and 7-9pm. A funeral service will be held at Patronage of the Mother of God Church 1260 Stevens Ave, Arbutus, MD 21227 on Friday at 11am followed by burial at Glen Haven Memorial Park 7231 Ritchie Hwy, Glen Burnie, MD 21061.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made in Andy's memory to the Ruth Parker Eason School, 648 Old Mill Road, Millersville, MD 21108.