Robert George Gudyk, Sr., attempted to save Robert J. Owen from burning, New Castle, Pennsylvania, March 29, 2000. At night, fire broke out at the house rented by Owen, 50, who was not home, and spread throughout the two-story house and to the house on either side. A resident of the neighborhood, Gudyk, 44, disabled laborer, was alerted to the fire and went to the scene. Intending to alert Owen to the fire but unaware that the house was not occupied, Gudyk kicked open the front door to dense, black smoke and flames that were spreading rapidly inside the house. On a second attempt to alert Owen, Gudyk was just inside the front door when a flashover occurred, burning him severely and propelling him from the house. Gudyk was hospitalized 12 days for treatment of first- and second-degree burns to his upper torso. He recovered but retained scarring.
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Robert G. Gudyk, Sr., 51, of New Castle, Pa., died on Oct. 29, 2007, in the VA Medical Center, Butler, Pa.
Born on Feb. 17, 1956, in Honolulu, Hawaii, he was the son of Robert L. and Mabel Smith Gudyk. Gudyk was co-owner of Paragon Classics jewelry sales and had been a laborer at the former Shenango China.
He was a graduate of New Castle High School and attended the New Castle School of Trades, where he was on the dean’s list for electronics. He was an Army veteran of the Vietnam War era. Gudyk was on the code enforcement planning commission and served in the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
He was a member of Mahoning-New Castle Lodge 243, a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, a member of the New Castle Consistory Legion of Honor, and a member of Syria Temple of Pittsburgh and Shriners Consistory.
A former Boy Scout leader, he was a former member of the New Castle Area Veterans Honor Guard, and a Civil Air Patrol leader. He received a Carnegie Medal in 2001 for saving a man from a burning home in 2000.
Gudyk was a member of the Epworth United Methodist Church.
(Edited from an obituary in the New Castle, Pa., News, Oct. 30, 2007.)