This page is dedicated to informing our parishioner’s of recent death’s within our parish. The parish community of St. Joan of Arc extends our deepest sympathies to the families & friends of these individuals.
Gilbert E. Petrina, 86, of Elizabethtown, passed away peacefully on Friday, December 18, 2020. He was an Attorney-at-Law and former member of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard retiring as a Brigadier General after 30 years of military service.
Gilbert was an optimist who found joy and laughter in everything. A warrior by nature, he was a man of faith and service, an avid reader, and curator of fine-arts and antiquities. His proudest achievement was his family legacy – his wife of 55 years, his four children and their spouses (all current or retired Air Force officers, and one Naval officer) and nine loving grandchildren.
Gilbert was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on 29 July 1934, the second of nine children, to the late Stephen J. and Veronica (Kosevic) Petrina. He attended the University of Maryland, graduating in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts, and was commissioned as an Air Force Second Lieutenant. He served overseas as a Communications Officer in Kumejima (Okinawa, Japan); and stateside in Omaha, Nebraska at Strategic Air Command Headquarters. He separated active duty, joined the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and attended Dickinson Law School, receiving his Juris Doctorate in 1965.
Gilbert had a successful law practice and made major contributions in civic affairs. He was a member of the Dauphin County Bar Association; he was president and chairman of million-dollar construction campaigns for the American Red Cross and Goodwill Industries, and he was involved with the Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee. He was an active member of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church and served the community as a member and leader in several other organizations including the Air Force Association, the Croatian Fraternal Union and the Knights of Columbus. He was an avid beach goer at his favorite fishing club, Harvey Cedars, where he developed his inspiration for the Petrina Kayak Club.
Surviving are; his wife, Rosanne (Marinari) Petrina; four children, Gilbert E. (Carolyn) Petrina, Jr., Julie (William) Curlin, Jenifer (Heath) Bope, Amy (Kurt) Kremser; nine loving grandchildren, (Kelley, Elisa, Madison, Emily, Mitchell, Alexander, Katherine, Lukas and Amelia); two brothers, Stephen and John (Vickie); three sisters, Dorothy Tarlecki, Martha (Scott) Williamson, Mary (Thomas) Butcher; sisters-in-law, Nancy and Carol Petrina, Sandy Marinari, and Anna Bruno; and, numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his sister Dolores Klipa and two brothers, Phillip, and most recently Bernard who passed away the same day, nine hours prior.
Gilbert was referred to by his family and friends as ‘Gib’, and by his kids and grandkids as ‘Chief’. He was the head of the tribe and always had a story to tell, with a lesson to be learned, critical thinking to be applied or legal tactic to be employed. He built memories to last a lifetime at the family home, codenamed ‘the Farm’; years of celebrations, one family wedding, years of birthday parties, and Christmas festivities with all the kids, sometimes delayed as one or more of his children were deployed overseas.
Chief never went anywhere without interrogating everyone he met, asking them where they grew up, where they went to college, or about their goals and aspirations. He gave it all with gusto, his mission for the past six years was to fight cancer, telling his team of brilliant Doctors to “try everything, give him whatever it takes” to help medical science, with the added benefit to enjoy life with his family, watching his grandchildren grow. His nine grandchildren run their own race and take care of each other as if they are brothers and sisters, his favorite saying was “Cousins are Fun!” His intent was to buy them all horses and airplanes – in the end, he chose to give them kayaks, with a special inscription to each one of them – his legacy will live on with the next-generation of fire starters, astronomers and adventurers.
His focus was on faith, family, and ‘the Farm’ – the Earthly paradise, where he loved to bring the group together to enjoy the sunsets around a fire, telling stories or counting stars and calling out the constellations. Telling his kids and grandkids how amazing God is, to have put us on this tiny little planet called Earth – and “knowing God has something amazing in store for us after we leave this planet.”
A private service will be held at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Hershey and he will be buried with full military honors at Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery. A Celebration of Life to recognize the lives of both Gilbert and his brother Bernard (‘Jim’) will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Gilbert’s honor to Penn State Cancer Institute of Research, Office of University Development, 1249 Cocoa Ave, Suite 115, P.O. Box 852, Hershey, PA 17033-0852 or to Grane Hospice, 1200 Camp Hill Bypass Suite 205, Camp Hill, PA 17011. The family sincerely thanks the Traditions of Hershey staff for their exceptional care and kindness during the challenges of 2020.
Gilbert was fondly known to make the best of any challenging situation. When confronted with challenges, he inevitably would find joy, laughter and the silver lining – raise a glass with those you love, and find joy and laughter living every moment. Carpe Diem!
We are awaiting obituary information for the following parishioners whom recently passed:
Memorial Gifts can be made online to honor the loss of a family member or someone special to you.
St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church
359 West Areba Ave.
Hershey, PA 17033
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