Alex Hewko, 90, of Hatboro, an aircraft supply specialist and decorated World War II pilot, died May 28 at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla.
The son of Ukrainian immigrants, Mr. Hewko grew up with four sisters and four brothers in Northampton, Pa.
Rock from the town was pulverized into concrete in local factories and earned students at Northampton High School the nickname, "Konkrete Kids." Mr. Hewko played on the school's basketball, baseball, and football teams.
After his father lost a leg on the job at a concrete factory, Mr. Hewko helped support the family. From the time he was 12, he worked part time at a shirt factory, a hotel, and a bakery, his son Eric said. He was always enterprising, his son said, and traded his bicycle and $10 for his first car.
Mr. Hewko enlisted in the Navy two months before Pearl Harbor and played football for the team at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Fla., before shipping to the South Pacific. His younger brothers followed him into the military. Wassyl, Ben, and John also joined the Navy; Peter enlisted in the Marine Corps.
Their mother's greatest fear was a government telegram, Mr. Hewko's sister Pauline Woyewodo told a USA Today reporter in 2002. "She used to skim the newspaper and hear bad news on the radio. She would just sit down and cry," said another sister, Stephanie Nederostek.
All five brothers survived the war. Two earned medals; three almost died. Mr. Hewko, a copilot on Navy PV-1 bombers attacking Japanese transports, was wounded in a forearm by ground fire during a raid and suffered internal injuries in a series of hard and crash landings. He received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. His brother Ben also was awarded a Purple Heart, after he crushed his right hand when his ship struck a mine during the Normandy invasion. John's ship was bombed, but he was uninjured.
After his discharge, Mr. Hewko played baseball for a St. Louis Cardinals farm team and in December 1945 joined the Navy's Aviation Supply Office in Philadelphia. He met Barbara Miller in the personnel office, and they married in 1951.
At the Aviation Supply Center, Mr. Hewko became program director for the Navy's P-3 Orion. The maritime patrol aircraft was developed in the early 1960s by Lockheed Martin and was modified several times over 20 years. Mr. Hewko was an expert on the P3's components, including top-secret surveillance equipment, his son said. After he retired from the supply center in 1970, Mr. Hewko consulted for aerospace companies until the late 1990s.
For more than 20 years, while working and raising a family, he umpired and refereed local college baseball, basketball, and football games.
He followed his four sons' athletic careers at Upper Moreland High School, and when his three younger sons played football for the University of Florida, he and his wife drove from Hatboro to many home games. In the late 1980s, the couple bought a second home in Jupiter, Fla.
In recent years they enjoyed watching their grandchildren's sports games.
In addition to his wife and son Eric, Mr. Hewko is survived by sons Jon, Alex, and Robert; brothers Wassyl and John; sister Stephanie; and six grandchildren.
A memorial celebration was held Tuesday at Oceanview United Methodist Church in Juno Beach, Fla. Burial, with military honors and a flyover by a Navy P-3 Orion, was in South Florida National Cemetery, Lake Worth, Fla.