Ron Gancas

June 4, 2019

Ron Gancas, 77, of Plum Borough passed away yesterday. He was the former President and CEO of Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Military Museum in Pittsburgh. Ron was hired in 1999 and guided the process to make Soldiers & Sailors an independent, non-profit Trust.  Ron became President in 2005 and until his retirement in 2011 carried out the dream of the first president, Joe Dugan, Mr. Gancas was a life-long resident of southwestern Pennsylvania.  He was born in New Kensington, Pennsylvania on December 31, 1941 to Stanley and Dorothy Beuth Gancas.  Ron and his family have resided in the Holiday Park section of Plum Borough since 1968.  Along with Marjorie Henderson formerly of Brackenridge, his wife of 57 years, he has three children, 7 grandchildren and a great grandson.  He is survived by his wife Marjorie, a son Robert of Fayette Township, a daughter Caroline McCabe in Plum Borough and a son Rod in Monaco.  His granddaughter, Elizabeth Gancas Birckholtz, lives in New Jersey.  Elizabeth is the mother of his great grandson, Shane Robert Birckholtz.  His granddaughters Marisa McCabe and Camryn McCabe are residents of Holiday Park.  His grandson Jonathan and granddaughter Robyn live in Austin, Texas. Grandson Ian Gancas and granddaughter Haley Gancas are residents of Monaco.  His immediate family has daughters-in-law, Karen Louise McKaveney  Gancas, Lia Rene Porco  Gancas, son-in-law John McCabe, grandson-in-law Scott Birckholtz and granddaughter-in-law Kelly Baron  Gancas.  He is also survived by his sister, Carolyn Gancas Haser and his brother-in-law Jim Haser, also residents of Holiday Park and his nephew Matthew Raymond of Virginia and niece Rachelle Raymond Roth of Gibsonia.  Mr. Gancas worked for a number of years at Alcoa Research, Hoechst Pharmaceuticals and the Dow Chemical Company.  He spent most of his life as a salesman.  He studied history at The Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Community College.  For the past 36 years, during an annual “Staff Ride” he has studied Civil War History and military tactics with an eminent group of historians originally based at the Carlisle War College.  In 1999 he was the historical guide for the Stones River Campaign and in 2006 he led the group at Gettysburg.  For over 35 years, Ron served as a board member, officer and Quartermaster for the Civil War Battlefield Trampers/Army of the Cussawago.  Mr. Gancas has written and published: “The Gallant Seventy-Eighth,”a history of the Pennsylvania Seventy-Eight, “Dear Teres,”a history of the men of the Pennsylvania Seventy-Eight and “The Hardluck Regiment” a history of the Pennsylvania One Hundred and Third.  In his last work “Fields of Freedom,” he researched and published a study of the United States Colored Troops from Southwestern Pennsylvania.  He rewrote and published the History of the Pennsylvania Fourteenth Cavalry, the history of Company K, the 155th Pennsylvania Infantry and the American Jew, Citizen, Soldier and Patriot.  Gancas served on the Board of Directors of Soldiers & Sailors as Treasurer and Chairman of the Executive Committee for four years, the Plum Borough Planning Commission for three years, the Falls Village Community Association for 16 years as Treasurer and President the Plum Borough Community Center and the Plum Rezoning Committee.  Ron was a volunteer for Plum “Meals on Wheels.”  He was a member of the Masonic Lodge #799 in Plum Borough and the Plum American Legion Post 980.  He was also a member of the Advisory Board for the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, on the advisory board of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Independent Museums and a board officer of the Pennsylvania Federation of Museums and Historical Organizations.  In lieu of flowers it is asked that donations be made to the Pet Adoption League in Yukon PA - foundling home of his beloved dog Ziva.  Family and friends will be received at the JOBE FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY, INC. (MONROEVILLE/PLUM CHAPEL) corner of Beatty Rd. & 48 North, Monroeville (412-856-4747) on Friday from 2-5 p.m and for a celebration of Ron's life at the Wooden Nickel Restaurant in Monroeville from 6-9 p.m.

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