Rhea Bachtell Powers-Hornyak, Class of 1936

Posted Jul 15, 2022

Hornyak Rhea Obit Pic

Rhea Bachtell Powers- Hornyak ’36 died August 5, 2021 at the age of 106. Born November 29, 1914 in Pittsburgh, PA the daughter of the late Harry and Esther (Ritchey) Bachtell.

Rhea was a graduate of Portage High School and attended Otterbein College in Ohio where she majored in music. She then transferred to Indiana State Teachers College (PA) and graduated with a BA in Elementary Education. She retired after 37 years of teaching for Portage Elementary School and her last years of teaching were devoted to music and art which she dearly loved. She was dedicated to her profession and loved every single child she taught. She was a well-known pianist throughout the Portage, Johnstown, and Altoona areas.
Rhea started playing the piano at age six. She played for the theater on Gillespie Ave. in the days of silent movies with her only instructions were to play “fast” if it was a “happy “scene and “slow” if was a “sad” scene. She also played for the miners at the Benscreek Hall. At age ten she taught her own piano lessons and by the time she was twelve she had a class of 40 students.
Rhea and her first husband John owned Powers Restaurant on Main St. After teaching school during the day, she would go to the restaurant, help in the kitchen and then play the piano for the dinner hour. She was well known for her cooking, card making, cake decorating (she taught cake decorating at the Honey Tree in Johnstown), machine embroidery, using the computer, the iPad, and iPhone, and many other talents. Her main passion was her family, church, Bible, and piano. Rhea served her church faithfully as a member of Bethany United Methodist Church formally known as Bethany E.U.B Church. She was the church pianist for over 90 years, as well as the pianist for the choir and many soloists. She taught Sunday School, was a member of the Amica S.S. Class, Bible Studies, and these past committees: Worship, Pastor Parish, Lay Speakers, and Administrative Board. She was a charter member of the Beta Epsilon Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority. Rhea loved the Lord and served Him daily and was Bethany’s oldest member.

Preceded in death by her parents, first husband John Powers; second husband Major Joseph Hornyak; sister Aletta (Bachtell) Gibson; aunt Ida C. Ritchey; and dear friend Margaret R. Vrobel.
Rhea is survived by her children; Carol (Thomas) Woods; twins Joy Powers and James Powers; Step son David L. Hornyak; grandchildren; Dana (Ty) Hill; Shawn (Laura) Tucker; great grandson Ethan Tucker; sister’s-in-law Marianne Hornyak and Melvina (Marge) Hornyak.