Joseph S. Nemeth

Joseph S. Nemeth, EdD, PM, a nationally known educator and reading expert and long-time resident of Bowling Green, OH, passed away on April 1, 2019 at his home in Perrysburg, OH.  Dr. Nemeth was born in Glassport, PA on February 22, 1925.  He is survived by his wife, Elvira (Balku) Nemeth with whom he enjoyed nearly 65 years of happy marriage, his daughters Mary Anne Nemeth (Joseph Phillips), Ann Arbor, MI and Dr. Julie (Richard) Shockley, Wellesley, MA, and sons Joseph S. (Joann) Nemeth Jr., Las Vegas, NV and Michael A. (Dana) Nemeth, Bowling Green, OH.  He had six grandchildren: Joseph S. Nemeth III, Cassandra (Nemeth) Jackson, Samuel, William, and Harrison Shockley, Cole and Miles Nemeth, and two great-grandchildren, Jadyn and Jonah Nemeth.  He was the son of the late Arpad and Mariska (Borso) Nemeth. His brother, Aladar Vilmos Nemeth, and sister, Jolan (Nemeth) Rogers, pre-deceased him.

Dr. Nemeth served on the faculty at Bowling Green State University, OH (1965-90) in the College of Education as a Professor and Director of the Reading Center.  He was Graduate Reading Faculty Chairman (training over 180 graduate assistants), NDEA Secondary Reading Institutes Director, and organized and directed numerous local and national Teacher Education Inservice Conferences.  Additionally, he was on the faculties of Defiance College, OH (1990-93) and Edinboro University, PA (1961-63), was Director of the National First Grade Reading Studies, OH (1963-65), and began his career in education as a science and math secondary school teacher in West Mifflin, PA (1950-60).  He completed his doctoral dissertation, which received the 1962 International Reading Association “Outstanding Dissertation Award,” at the University of Pittsburgh, PA, where he also received his Master’s degree.  He graduated from Duquesne University, PA, in 1950 with a Bachelor’s degree, and was Vice President of his 1943 Glassport High School graduation class. 

Dr. Nemeth was a veteran of the Army Air Corps in World War II.  He served the Mighty Eighth Air Force in the 452nd Bomb Group, 730th Bomb Squadron in Deopham Green, England and flew thirteen B-17 combat missions over Germany.  He earned a Purple Heart, the Air Medal with oak leaf clusters, and 3 Bronze Stars.

Professionally, he held life memberships in the National Education Association, Ohio Education Association, International Reading Association (IRA), Ohio Council International Reading Association (OCIRA), College Reading Association, and the National Reading Conference.  Dr. Nemeth served the IRA as Annual Conference Abstracts Editor for 9 years (1969-76) and was a Contributing Editor to its journal, The Reading Teacher, for 5 years (1967-73).  He was the Founder of The Ohio Reading Teacher and edited that journal for 10 years (1966-76).  He served as USOE Federal Consultant/Advisor to the 1969-76 National and Ohio Right to Read Programs.  In 1976, the USOE Department of Health Education and Welfare cited and awarded Dr. Nemeth a Certificate of Recognition for “Outstanding Contributions to the National Right to Read Effort.”  Also, Dr. Nemeth was cited in 1977 by the University of Pittsburgh School of Education for his “Meritorious Professional Achievements in Program Development in Reading Education,” and he received 5 awards from the OCIRA for his “Outstanding Contributions and Services.” He was a prolific contributor of over 100 articles to professional journals, authored three elementary science reading textbooks for Ginn and Company, and wrote several professional textbook chapters.

In addition, he was a life member of the following: Free Hungarian Reformed Church, McKeesport, PA; Eighth Air Force Historical Society; Ohio Chapter of the Eighth Air Force Historical Society; 452nd Bomb Group Association; National Museum of the United States Air Force; Purple Heart Veterans Association; and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #9231, Bowling Green, OH.  He was also the 1961 Past Master and 50+ year member of Polaris Masonic Lodge, McKeesport, PA.

He relished his skill as an instrument-rated private pilot and enjoyed flying cross-country to reading conferences and speaking engagements. He especially loved his wife Ellie, children and grandchildren. He served as a Volunteer Messenger for the Wood County Hospital.  His other hobbies were recreational reading, backyard swimming, gardening, and researching the Nemeth and Balku family genealogies.

A funeral service will be held on Friday April 5, 2019 at 10:00 at the Lebanon Chapel Mausoleum, 2701 Old Elizabeth Rd., West Mifflin, PA 15122, conducted by Rev. Dr. Daniel Borsay of the McKeesport, PA Free Hungarian Reformed Church. Arrangements by Strifflers of Dravosburg/W. Mifflin, 740 Pittsburgh-McKeesport Blvd., Dravosburg, PA 15034 (412-678-6192).

Those planning expressions of sympathy are asked to consider the National Parkinson’s Foundation, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the McKeesport, PA Free Hungarian Reformed Church’s Richard Heyz Scholarship Fund.