Sky Scene 07

       


Stephen Alex Makuch

August 3, 2018 ~ July 19, 2018

Stephen Alex Makuch of Saint Petersburg, Florida, formerly of Emlenton, Pennsylvania left this earth too soon on July 19, 2018 at the age of 64.  Stephen and his wife Connie were visiting family in Pennsylvania when he became ill with flu-like symptoms.  He was admitted to the hospital in Pittsburgh and diagnosed with a bacterium in his blood that attacked his artificial heart valve.

Stephen was born in Oil City, Pennsylvania on October 13, 1953.  He was the oldest of four boys.  His father Steve Makuch preceded him in death.  His mother Anna Makuch still resides at their family farm in Emlenton, Pennsylvania. 

Stephen graduated from Allegheny Clarion Valley High School in Foxburg, Pennsylvania in 1970.  He continued his studies at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he majored in Mechanical Engineering.  This contributed to his ability to fix almost everything and this skill was second to none.  If he could not repair it—he would take it apart to see how it worked.  After college, Stephen became interested in motorcycles, Harley Davidson in particular.  Moving back to Emlenton, Stephen & Connie founded and operated Gold Star Custom Cycles for many years.  He became a skilled engine builder, tuner and fabricator which led his interests in the direction of racing Harleys.  Stephen spent many years on the motorcycle drag racing circuit.  Beginning on dirt tracks then progressing onto asphalt and eventually building and riding a fuel injected alcohol drag bike.

Stephen had many loves, but above all for 47 years he loved his wife Connie (Dillon) originally from Parker, Pennsylvania.  Together they raised their daughter Jennifer (Ralph) who currently lives in Robinson, Pennsylvania.  Jennifer was his pride and joy and Stephen passed on his straight forward-tell it like it is characteristic to his daughter.  Happily, Stephen was bossed around by these two women for many years.  But when his son-in-law, Lee Ralph entered the picture, it took some of the pressure off of him, now he was no longer out numbered.  Lee being a musician also gave Stephen someone to once again play his drums with.  Playing music was another life-long passion of Stephen’s.  He had been playing drums since his high school days.  Stephen also took extreme pride in his adorable granddaughter Becca, who affectionately called him “Grampy-Pa.”  Grampy-Pa always enjoyed taking selfies with Becca and keeping her dirt bikes and go-karts running.   Stephen’s only surviving brother, Ken Makuch, lives in Westford, Massachusetts with his wife Susan, sons Matthew and Danny and daughter Tina.  Stephen also has many close and loving Canadian cousins and aunts.  

Too old to be cold, Stephen and Connie moved to Saint Petersburg, Florida in 1994.    Initially their career paths had changed and they began managing restaurants for a good friend.  But after a few years, Stephen’s love for motorcycles led him back into the motorcycle industry, eventually becoming a skilled custom builder.  Stephen was extremely proud of a custom build that he played a very key role in when it was featured on the cover of bay Magazine, a publication by the Tampa Bay Times. 

The quest for speed continued throughout Stephen’s life.  He loved to drive his “little car”, a 1983 Porsche 911 SC that he restored.  Never getting too crazy on the highway; he would save it for the race track at Sebring where he enjoyed participating in driver’s training.  Then he would jump on his 1945 Flat Head Harley (again built and restored by him) and chitty-chitty-bang-bang down the highway.  The Makuch and Ralph families took many motorcycle trips together and attended bike rallies in Daytona and Sturgis over the years.  The two families shared many adventures together.  Looking back Jennifer recalls the only trip Stephen and Connie did not go on with the Ralphs was their Honeymoon!

 Stephen cared about everything small and large.  It was his desire to maintain a friendlier environmental lifestyle—if he could clean or deodorize something with vinegar, he was a happy man.  He was also well known for his rust removal technique using vinegar.  This came in very handy because according to Stephen, “everything has value!”  He loved his backyard spiders and lizards.  Even when mowing, he would not disturb a web!  He did not care for mosquitos though but he still only used coffee grounds as a repellent, placing small containers of grounds in corners of the garage and around the yard. 

Stephen had been retired for the last year but kept extremely busy.  Over the years in Tampa Bay, he had acquired a good reputation in the motorcycle industry; many of his customers sought him out even after his retirement to maintain their motorcycles.   Stephen was also an excellent cook and brew master.  He had perfected his dry-rubbed spare ribs which went great when paired with any beer that he brewed and kegged.  Something was always on tap. 

Connie planned to retire at the beginning of 2019 when she and Stephen would spend their summers in PA, their winters in Honduras (where they have a small ocean front cottage) and FLA sometime in between.

Preceding Stephen in death was his father Steve Makuch, his brothers James and Robert Makuch, all of Emlenton, Pennsylvania.

The family wishes to thank everyone for all of their love and support during this very difficult time. 

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Hile Funeral Home Inc., of Emlenton.

 

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