After a life fully lived, JD Taladay, 82, departed this Earth much later than he expected, on May 22, 2014.
Born Sept. 27, 1931, in Punxsutawney he was baptized Jerome Cosmas Damian at the church of the same name, where he was a lifelong parishioner.
Many called him Jerry; he invariably referred to himself as simply JD.
A 1949 graduate of SS.C.D. High School, he enlisted in the United States Army, where he attained the rank of staff sergeant and served in a combat zone during the Korean War.
Following his honorable discharge, JD went to work for the B&O railroad, where he worked as a fireman on the last of the steam engines before progressing to the position of engineer. He worked on the railroad for 40 years before retiring in 1992.
He was married to Ellen Ferari in November 1957. Together, they parented six children: Mark, Matt, Mike, Laura, John and Jennifer, all of whom survive him, along with two daughters-in-law, Amy Taladay and Marcy Greene, and six grandchildren, Jareb Kallas, Jake Davis, Ellen Chittester and Julia, Alexa and Isabella Taladay.
He is also survived by his sisters, Joan Eiser and Barbara Quinlisk of Rochester, New York.
He was predeceased by his wife, Ellen; parents John and Katherine Taladay; a sister, Frances Cassidy; and a brother, Jack Taladay.
JD loved the outdoors and was an avid bicyclist and hiker.
He was a founding member of the local chapter of Trout Unlimited and a longtime member of the BPO Elks.
He celebrated his 82nd birthday by climbing Cascade Mountain, a 4,000-foot peak in the Adirondacks.
In April of this year, he cranked out 25 consecutive pull-ups at a local gym.
His family and friends will remember him as a plain-spoken man with a huge heart for anyone in need.
Like his famous apple pie, he could appear crusty and flaky on the outside, but inside, he was goodness and warmth.
He will be remembered for his scrupulous honesty and fierce independence. The memory of JD will serve as a continuing source of inspiration.
Friends will be received at the McCabe Funeral Home in Punxsutawney on Friday, May 30, 2014, from 5 to 8 p.m.
A funeral Mass will be held at Saints Cosmas and Damian Church on Saturday, May 31, 2014, at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Punxsutawney Area Rails to Trails Association, P.O. Box 16, Punxsutawney, PA 15767.