Joseph Schuchman, 92, monitored Soviet radio transmissions for the U.S. Air Force, dies


Longtime Setauket resident Joseph Schuchman, a U.S. Air Force veteran who monitored Soviet radio transmissions during the Korean War, died on Dec. 28. He was 92.

Schuchman received intensive instruction in Russian at Syracuse University for a year, after he enlisted in the Air Force in 1951. He then served for three years at Misawa Air Base in Japan, reaching the rank of staff sergeant, according to obituary information posted by Bryant Funeral Home in East Setauket.

After his time in the military, Schuchman dove into engineering studies, earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Hofstra University, and master’s degrees from then-Brooklyn Polytechnic and Stony Brook University.

In college, he met his wife, Patricia Ewald. Following their marriage in 1961, the couple first settled in Wyandanch and later in Setauket, where they lived for over 50 years. Schuchman worked at Brookhaven National Laboratory for over 25 years as a specialist in vacuum systems, including work on the National Synchrotron Light Source project.

A longtime parishioner of St. James Roman Catholic Church in Setauket, Schuchman repaired and donated used bicycles to Our Daily Bread soup kitchen, and volunteered with Meals on Wheels.

Schuchman enjoyed working with his hands — building his own wooden boat, designing wooden duck decoys, and making bird houses with his grandchildren. An avid runner, he jogged five miles a day well into his 60’s; he took up cycling when a foot injury prevented him from running.

Family and friends attended a funeral mass for Schuchman on Tuesday, Jan. 3, at St. James Church. A military burial followed at Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale.

Schuchman is by his children, Elizabeth Gialanella, Margaret Still, Joseph Schuchman, Anne Berrettini, John Ritter and Peter Schuchman; his sisters, Helen and Anne; 16 grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife and their daughte, Mary Veronica.