Robert “Bob” Conrad Erkel, age 97, of Herminie, formerly of Port Vue, died on Sunday, August 20, 2023. Bob was born on June 3, 1926 on Mt. Washington to the late Elmer P. Erkel and Catherine Naughton Erkel. He was the second oldest and last surviving of 6 children. He was preceded in death by siblings Elmer Jr., Catherine Eileen McClymont, John (Joe), Thomas and Helen Bernice Baird.
While attending school in Great Lakes, IL, he met Mary Merrill, the love of his life. They celebrated 75 years of marriage on June 12, 2023. They have 4 children – Nancy Beno Higdon (Joe) of Elizabeth, Susan Clark (John) of Cranberry Township, Barbara Stookey-Keller (Rich) of Herminie, and Tim (Darlene) of Tum Tum, Washington, 9 grandchildren and 4 step grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren, and 4 step great grandchildren (who all lovingly call him Bup).
He worked as a licensed real estate broker, insurance salesman and Department of Veteran’s Affairs appraiser into his 90’s. He lived a life of public service for 36 years in his beloved Boro of Port Vue where he was elected a member of council, council president and mayor as well as serving on numerous Boro committees and associations. He was a member and past president of the Port Vue Lion’s Club, a 77-year member of the American Legion Post 447, and played for the Port Vue Old Timers softball team well into his 80’s.
Bob was the recipient of the PA State Association of Boroughs Thomas F. Chrostwaite Award for faithful public service. He was a member and past president of the McKeesport Board of Realtors, recipient of the Board’s Realtor of the Year and member of West Penn Multi-list. He was also active in the McKeesport Chamber of Commerce, PA State Mayors’ Association and Allegheny County Mayors’ Association.
He was a long-time member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Port Vue where he served on the parish council and was an active member of St. Mark’s and St. Joachim and Anne’s as the parish changed names.
He will be forever remembered for his faithfulness to his family, his friends, his community, and his country; for his love of travel, introducing his family to the National Parks throughout the country on annual camping trips; for teaching others the value of volunteering time in the community and through the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
There is a saying, “Live so that when your children hear these words, they think of you: fairness, caring, integrity, honesty, love and trust.” Bob Erkel has been all of those and so much more to so many. His legacy will live on in his children, his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren. He has left an indelible mark on this world.
There will be a funeral mass followed by burial with military honors at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, however, the date is not confirmed at this time. This information will be updated at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are being handled by Strifflers of White Oak Cremation and Mortuary Services, Inc., 1100 Lincoln Way, White Oak, PA 15131 (Sue Striffler Galaski, supervisor, 412-678-6177).
Should friends desire, memorial donations may be made in Bob’s memory to Port Vue Boro Fun To Be A Kid Day Fund or the National Park Foundation.
To share a memory or condolence, please visit www.strifflerfuneralhomes.com
Originally published August 23, 2023.