Kenneth L. Tabas, 85, of Wynnewood, who received a commendation for bravery under fire for heroism in World War II, worked for 50 years in a family steel-fabrication business, and was still an active volleyball official, died Dec. 6.

Mr. Tabas, formerly of Bala Cynwyd, died of heart failure at his home, according to his son Jerry.

Born in the city's Logan section, Mr. Tabas was one of six brothers. He graduated from Simon Gratz High School in 1941 and enlisted in the Navy the next year.

During the war, he was assigned to a landing ship transport and saw action in North Africa, Italy, and on D-Day. It was during the Normandy invasion that Mr. Tabas, a shipfitter second class, was lowered over the side of his ship and welded a steel plate over a battle-damaged hole while under enemy fire.

After the war, Mr. Tabas played basketball at Temple University on a scholarship under the legendary coach Harry Litwack. He graduated in 1954 with a degree in architectural engineering.

Mr. Tabas then joined his brothers in transforming a family scrap-metal business into Active Steel Co., a structural-steel-fabrication firm in Frankford that supplied steel for thousands of homes and small businesses in the Philadelphia region.

After 50 years, Mr. Tabas, a tennis player and gardener, retired and began a second career as a substitute teacher and women's volleyball official in the Philadelphia and Lower Merion School Districts and at area colleges.

"He just loved being busy," said Jerry Tabas, of Hallandale Beach, Fla. "The things that were important to my father were family, work and sports."

His son said that Mr. Tabas would often speak at schools about his experiences in World War II.

Mr. Tabas was an official with the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association and a member of the National Association of Girls and Women in Sport.

In addition to his son, Mr. Tabas is survived by his wife of 58 years, Bernice; another son, Norman; a daughter, Amy Schwarz; and two granddaughters.

Services were held earlier this month.

Contact staff writer Mari A. Schaefer at 610-892-9149 or mschaefer@phillynews.com.