George B. Morda
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George B. Morda
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George B. Morda, 93, of Ford City, passed away on June 24, 2024 at his home surrounded by his loving family.

He was born on Aug. 4, 1930 in Ford City, the son of Charles S. and Mary (Pytel) Morda.

George was born with an entrepreneurial spirit. From a young age, he looked for ways to work and be useful and productive. George proudly served his country in the United States Army for over a decade. During his time stationed in Germany, George bought a small used sewing machine and worked stitching military patches on the uniforms of his fellow cadets. While serving overseas, George also picked up another side hustle selling donuts, biscuits and baked goods from a local bakery to the men in his barracks. When he returned home from overseas, he had earned enough money to start the first of his many businesses.

In 1952, at the young age of 21 years old, George purchased the Owl's Nest. Soon after, he changed the name to The Cadet Restaurant, an establishment that soon became a legendary and iconic roadside eatery. In 1968, George attended a restaurant convention in Chicago where a large cowboy Muffler Man caught his eye and that cowboy, later named Sam, made it from Chicago to Kittanning where he still stands proud today. The Cadet started out as a small drive-in restaurant, the first of its kind in the tri-state area. People came from all over to hang out, cruise, and do burnouts in their hot rods up and down the highway and in The Cadet parking lot. The Cadet became a cornerstone of the community known for carhops, milkshakes, Poor Boy sandwiches, fresh breaded mushrooms and onion rings, french fries and gravy, and the 30-foot-tall cowboy mascot, "Sam," who has stood guard in front of George's pride and joy, The Cadet, as the keeper of all the memories and good times for thousands of employees and customers for 70 years.

George also worked as a crane operator for PPG glass factory in Ford City, where he was respected by colleagues for his work ethic. After leaving PPG, George was proprietor of several other local establishments including The Steakhouse in West Kittanning, Morda's Dining Room, The Empire Room along the Allegheny River, two men's clothing stores one in Kittanning, another in Indiana, and a spa in Butler. George was never one to sit idle.

In 2020, at almost 90 years of age, George was forced into retirement when Covid-19 led to the closure of many restaurants, including The Cadet, his most beloved passion. However, George did not slowdown in his personal life. This simply gave him the opportunity to spend more time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. He enjoyed cheering for his grandsons at the baseball field and motocross track, tending to his flower gardens, and watching the deer come into his yard for their evening feeding.

George also had a passion for his family farm where he helped his brother Bob with raising Hereford cattle. He enjoyed family parties on the farm and playing volleyball. George also loved hunting, gardening, building, bargain hunting, and constantly coming up with new business ideas. Many will remember George's stoic nature but he had a soft spot and great love for his family and close friends.

George's legacy will always be remembered as that of a hardworking businessman and entrepreneur pioneer who had a profoundly positive impact on the fabric of our community and the lives of its residents. The ripple effect of his contributions will continue indefinitely, enriching all that makes Armstrong County, his home, so special.

His memory will be cherished by his loving wife, Mimi (Schrecengost) Morda, whom he married on March 21, 1977; his son, Damon Morda and Courtney Cogley of Pittsburgh; daughter, Babette Kane and husband, Mark of Kittanning; two grandsons, Maddox Shaffer and Rowan Shaffer; and numerous nieces and nephews.

George was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Edward Morda, Robert "Bob" Morda, and William "Willy" Morda; and his sisters, Hedwig "Yudge" Trop, Theresa "Tesh" Peresie and Jennie Recney.

The family will receive friends from 2-4 and 6-8 PM on Monday, July 1, 2024 at the Bauer Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 515 N. McKean St., Kittanning.

Additional visitation will be from 10 AM until the time of the blessing service at 11 AM on Tuesday, July 2, 2024 at the funeral home, with the Reverend Edward Volz O.S.P. officiating.

Contributions may be made to Pauline Fathers Monastery, PO Box 66, Kittanning, PA 16201.

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George B. Morda
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