Thomas Rutkoski

July 04, 2022 - June 07, 2011


A native of Butler, died on Tuesday, June 7, 2011. Thomas Rutkoski’s life has had impact and influence far beyond the borders of Butler County, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or even the United States. After having served in the Air Force, Thomas was the award-winning chief photojournalist for KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh for many years. For the past 24 years, Thomas committed his life to serving the needs of others. In 1990, he founded Gospa Missions, a nonprofit organization based in Evans City dedicated to convincing everyone he met to take their relationship with God more seriously. Thomas delivered more than 1,000 inspirational presentations all over the world. Through this outreach, the mission has grown over the years to include retreats, conferences, publishing, prison ministry and more. Thomas Rutkoski was in the business of saving lives and saving souls. His brand of hope came in the form of building orphanages and schools in the poorest parts of the world. He founded a second nonprofit charity, Abode for Children, dedicated to the welfare of the world’s most disadvantaged children, especially in Africa and India. His program of care offers a model for education, for strong values, and for hope, where otherwise none would exist. In 1995, during a trip to Africa, Thomas was moved by the abject poverty he witnessed firsthand and became determined to make a difference in the lives of young people who had no one else to care for them. It was then that he vowed to spend his life creating opportunities for children all over the world to thrive. Through his foundations, Rutkoski built and maintains an orphanage and a school in Ogoja, Nigeria, for 750 children. And there is an entire complex including two orphanages, a school that will accommodate up to 600 orphaned and disadvantaged children, and a church, in Cherukupally, India. In 1994-95, after the war in Bosnia ended, Gospa Missions was responsible for shipping containers of food to refugees, in addition to thousands of pounds of clothing and medical supplies. Two destroyed Croatian churches, which would have been demolished as a result of the war, were restored in part because of Gospa Missions’ donation of $50,000 in financial assistance. Thomas authored four books: “Apostles of the Last Days,””Miracles and How to Work Them,””Great Divide” and “My Scriptural Rosary.” He published motivational CDs and DVDs. All of the profits from his books and other media are donated to his favorite charities, Gospa Missions and Abode for Children. A 1962 graduate of Butler High School, Thomas was honored to receive the school’s Distinguished Graduate Award for 2008. In the midst of all of his humanitarian deeds, Thomas was diagnosed with a rare and incurable bone marrow cancer called multiple myeloma. He took part in a variety of experimental treatments in hopes that doctors and researchers would learn something about the disease for others who suffer. But he never let his life-threatening condition stop him from moving forward with his dream of building even more orphanages and schools and providing a brighter future for the world’s neediest children. Thomas is survived by his wife, Mary; his sisters, Elizabeth Schultz, of Butler, and Mary Jane Joseph, of New Castle. He was the son of Frank Rutkoski and Anna Sprovkin Rutkoski, of Butler. Friends will be received from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday at DEVLIN FUNERAL HOME OF CRANBERRY, 2678 Rochester Road, Cranberry Township. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Paul’s Church, Butler. Everyone please meet at church. His family requests that memorial donations be made to Thomas’ foundation, Gospa Missions.

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Guest Book Signatures

  • Lynda Easley Bradley

    Tom is such an amasing person now enjoying his glorified body. We have another Saint in heaven.

  • Lynda Easley Bradley

    Tom is such an amasing person now enjoying his glorified body. We have another Saint in heaven.

  • Tom Webb

    I have only come to know Tom in the last two years through his books. He is obviously one of the few great men of God that we were privileged to have with us on this Earth. I can only imagine the grief being felt by his family and those close to him. I am praying for all of you.

  • Sodini Family

    Karen and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to Mary Rutkoski and others mourning the loss of a truly great man of unshakable faith and devotion to Jesus Christ, Mother Mary and the Catholic Church, and who touched and helped the lives of so many people all over the world. I cherish Tom’s prayers and the guidance he extended to me during my time of need. He was a terrific neighbor, always filled with inspiration and ideas. He will be missed. Mike Sodini

  • Amy Nestor

    Tom will be missed by all of us. We only had the pleasure of knowing him for a short time but he touched us all. The memory of him and all the good he has done shall endure. May God bless Mary.

 

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