Eugene W. "Pokey" BerlinDecember 16, 1932 ~ February 18, 2017 (age 84)
Alas, with his family by his side, a mighty oak has fallen off our mountain. Eugene W. “Pokey” Berlin, age 84, of Tionesta, PA, formerly of Whig Hill, PA, passed away peacefully on Saturday evening, February 18, 2017 at the home of his cousin, where he had been residing after losing his home to a fire two years ago. Although many of you will remember him in a variety of ways - the last of the mountain men, a rare one, an ornery ‘ole coot - he will forever be our favorite curmudgeon.
He was born December 16, 1932 in Whig Hill, son of the late Ernest Willard “Casey” Berlin and Anna (George) Berlin. Pokey attended the Endeavor School before working in the oil industry most of his life as a well tender.
With an 8th grade education and a PhD in life, he taught us many life lessons that we could all do well to remember: live simply, love deeply, and no matter what life throws at you, get up every morning, put your boots on, and get out the door. We tend to have mental visions of family and friends who journey on to the other side atop a fluffy white cloud, destined for the pearly gates. That just doesn't seem to fit Pokey. Instead, we see him walking through a "holler" with his sweet Jean by his side. He comes to a clearing and there is his younger brother, free from the confines of a wheelchair, chasing butterflies. His daddy is relaxing against a big tree tuning his banjo with his mama resting at his side. Other family members are milling around waiting anxiously for the fun to begin. From behind a tree, a cousin with the brilliant Berlin blue eyes and an old guitar in hand. Through the field comes a neighbor with spoons in his pocket and his wife carrying her washboard. Another family member comes over the hill carrying the required jug of "happiness." With a twinkle in his eye and his huge, toothless grin, he takes out of his pocket a well-worn harmonica. With a couple taps in his bear paw of a hand, he puts it up to his lips and they all begin to play.
Pokey is survived by three sisters: Dorothy Reist and her husband Al of Youngsville, PA, Iona “Helen” Whitten of Warren, PA, and Donna Lewis of Maryland, along with several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was preceded in death, in addition to his parents, by his long time close companion, Jean M. (Antill) Titara, who died just over a month prior. He was also preceded by two brothers and a sister: John “Jack” Berlin, James “Jimmy” Berlin, and Genevive Rosenquist.
There will be no public visitation. All services will be private. Burial will be in the Whig Hill Cemetery.
It's been said that "all that will be left of you is what was in your heart." Pokey had no earthly possessions, but oh, what a priceless treasure he leaves behind. Go rest high on the mountain, our dear old man. You will be sorely missed, but we will meet again someday. Don't worry about Babe. You left her in loving hands.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Sarah Stewart Bovard Memorial Library, P.O. Box 127, Tionesta, PA 16353.