Theo Orth's Story
Theo Orth McCracken Jr., 90, of New Castle passed away Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, at UPMC Jameson Hospital, following an extended illness.
He was born March 5, 1927 in Harrisburg to Theo O. McCracken and Theresa Neyman.
He married Laura Hatton on July 7, 1947. They had been married for 70 years.
Theo enlisted in the Army prior to graduating from high school. After basic and advanced individual training as a combat infantryman, he was sent to Germany serving with the 78th Infantry Division. He remained in Germany serving as part of the Army of Occupation after Germany's surrender, and was the first American Unit to enter and occupy Berlin.
Upon returning to the United States, Mr. McCracken joined the Individual Ready Reserve of the Army. This subset of the Army Reserves requires no active participation by members, but serves as a list of trained soldiers who could be called upon in the event of war or other national emergency.
On Oct. 10, 1950, Mr. McCracken was called back to active duty in response to the North Korean invasion of the south. He was sent to the Korean Conflict as a combat infantryman with the 24th Infantry Division and arrived prior to the Chinese Offensive. Mr. McCracken returned to the United States in 1951, and was released from the Army with the rank of Sergeant.
His awards and decorations consisted of the Bronze Star Medal with "V" device, the Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, National Defense Service Metal, Army Service Medal, Republic of Korea War Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman's Badge and the Expert Infantryman's Badge.
Theo was a highly respected funeral director and active with funeral service in the New Castle area. He completed his funeral directing career in association with Smith Funeral Home in Leesburg.
Theo had been an active member of the Third Presbyterian Church in New Castle, where he had served as a deacon and an elder.
Theo was active in his community, holding memberships in AARP and the American Cancer Society.
He was a master craftsman and very talented working with wood. He also loved fishing, hunting and playing cards.
Survivors include his wife, Laura, of the residence; four daughters, Sharon (Tom) Campbell of New Wilmington, Tressy (Butch) Collins of Pickerington, Ohio, Donna (Tom) Domhoff of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Laurie (Matt) Mondlak of Westerville, Ohio; two sons, Theo "TO" (Kathy) McCracken III of Lewisberry, Pennsylvania and Peter Jambon of Belgium (foreign exchange student the McCracken's hosted from 1981 to 82); daughter-in law, Tammy McCracken of Tyrone, Georgia; 15 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
His parents; son, David McCracken; and two brothers, Chad McCracken and Dr. Bryd McCracken, precede Theo in death.
The family will receive friends from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday at the Smith Funeral Home, 310 W. Neshannock Ave., New Wilmington. Full military honors will be held at 5 p.m.
Services will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Northminster Presbyterian Church, 2434 Wilmington Road, New Castle with Pastor William King and Pastor Rebecca Branch presiding. Visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. prior to services.
Interment will be in Mahaffey Cemetery, Mahaffey, Pennsylvania.
Memorial contributions may be made to Family Hospice and Palliative Care, 3124 Wilmington Road, Suite 305, New Castle, PA 16105.
Published on October 11, 2017