Archpriest Stephen Shuga, 85, fell asleep in the Lord on Monday, December 16, 2019. Born in Wilkes-Barre, PA, he was the son of the late Stephen and Sophia (Straka) Shuga. He graduated from Coughlin High School in Wilkes-Barre, PA in 1953 and then he then went on to attend Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, PA where he graduated in 1957. He married Matushka Emily (Kuzemchak) on November 10, 1956 at the Church of Saint John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Church in Edwardsville, PA. He was ordained to the Holy Diaconate as a 4th year student on December 19, 1956 at St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastry Church in South Canaan, PA and was then ordained to the Holy Priesthood on June 2, 1957 at St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Church in Edwardsville, PA by the late Archbishop Dimitri.
Father Stephen was awarded the right to wear the Kamilavka by the late Metropolitan Ireney and awarded the Gold and Jeweled Cross’s by the late Archbishop Kyril who also bestowed Father Stephen the dignity of Archpriest. After ordination in 1957, his first parish assignment was Assistant Pastor of St. Michael Orthodox Church in Philadelphia, PA. He then was assigned Rector of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Hammond, IN in November of 1957. His last assignment was Parish Priest of St. Gregory Russian Orthodox Church in Homestead, PA from 1958 until 2015 when he was granted retirement.
Upon retirement, he was attached to the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky in Allison Park, PA. Father Stephen in retirement filled in priest vacancy at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Donora, PA until April 2018. Father Stephen gave his whole life to his priestly vocation and parish at St. Gregory Russian Orthodox Church in Homestead where he worked as groundskeeper at St. Gregory cemetery for several years, was the head fish fryer for St. Gregory fish fry every Friday and loved baking pascha bread, nut and poppy seed rolls and nut horns for the church’s annual fund raisers. He was also the former Dean of the Pittsburgh Deanery of the Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania. Along with his dedication to his priestly vocation, he was also dedicated to his community. He attended night classes and was certified as an X-Ray technician and then obtained his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification in 1974 and shortly thereafter Paramedic status becoming among the first pioneers in paramedicine in the entire Mon Valley where he went on to be founder of the Homestead Ambulance Authority. He was the Chaplain for the Homestead Police Department and a member and Chaplain for the Homestead Volunteer Fire Department. He was elected as the first PTA President of the newly formed Steel Valley School District in the 1970’s. He was a Cub Scout Master for Pack #1 in Homestead, PA and was a member of the Friends of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans.
Father Stephen was blessed with a beautiful tenor voice. He received multiple achievement awards and citations for his community and public service throughout the years. He will be deeply missed by his beloved Matushka Emily of 63 years, his children, Stephen III (Leonor) Shuga of Orlando, FL, Ilarion (Ruth) Shuga of Greensburg, PA, Gregory Shuga of Monroeville, PA and Pamvia Shuga of Tampa, FL, his sister Matushka Olga (late Very Rev. Archpriest John) Klembara and the late Very Rev. Arch Priest Andrew (late Matushka Maria) Shuga, George (late Eleanor) Shuga, Helen (late Stanley) Zak and Mary Jasonis, his grandchildren Carol (Jonathan) Shuga-Arce, Kenneth Shuga, Michael (fiancé, Stacey Pastor) Shuga and Matthew Shuga and his great grandchildren Johan and Andrew Arce.
Visitation hours will be Friday, December 20 from 2:00pm to 7:00pm at Saint Gregory Orthodox Church, 214 East 15th Avenue, Homestead, PA. The Funeral Service for a Priest will take place on Friday, December 20 at 7:00pm. The Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Saturday, December 21 at 10:00am followed by a Trisagion Service. Interment will take place at the Monastery of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk, South Canaan, PA.
May Father Stephen’s memory be eternal!