John Pytko, 85 – Star Athlete, Public Servant
John Pytko, 85, of Gilberton, passed away Thursday, Jan. 7, at St Luke’s Hospice House Bethlehem.
John was born in Buck Run on Feb. 18, 1935, a son of the late Helen (Gucwa) and Anthony Pytko. He was a member of St. Richard’s Church, Barnesville.
John graduated from Cass Township High School (class of 1953) and West Chester University (class of 1957) with a degree in civil engineering. John worked as a civil engineer for more than 40 years, mostly with Erdman Anthony Consulting Engineers, Rochester, N.Y.
John loved spending time with his grandchildren and would often boast about them to anyone to whom he would speak. John was also a big sports fan and could be seen cheering for his favorite teams (New York Yankees, Philadelphia Eagles, Penn State, Philadelphia 76ers and the Philadelphia Flyers). John also loved his Polish heritage and would often listen to polkas. John also claimed to dislike his sons’ dogs but would often sneak lunch meat to them when no one was looking.
John was a star athlete in high school and college, playing basketball, football and baseball. In 1952, John played second base for the Cass Township Condors high school baseball team, where he beat out Allen Weind, who later played for the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1953, he was the South Schuylkill basketball league’s leading scorer. John played basketball and football at West Chester University, where he became a letterman. John was a staff member on the 1957 undefeated, unscored upon Cass Township football team. He was inducted to the Allen-Rogowicz Chapter Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. John umpired baseball and softball for more than 40 years and also officiated football and basketball.
John served the public in multiple capacities throughout his life, including serving as a justice of the peace, Foster Township supervisor from the late 1970s until 1982, and Gilberton borough council from 1988-2002, where he served as council president from 1995-2002.
He was preceded in death by his wife, the late Diane L. (Israel) Pytko. John is survived by four sons Anthony, of Pottsville; John, husband of Jenny, of Barnesville; Christian, of Gilberton; Richard, husband of Heather Billus, of Mahanoy City; and two daughters, Deborah Pytko Walker, of Jacksonville, N.C.; and Cindy Schoenauer. John is also survived by brothers and sisters Rosalie (Pytko) Gelches, wife of the late Lawrence “Tex” Gelches, and Dolores (Pytko) Leister, wife of the late Francis “Butchie” Leister. John is also survived by grandchildren Mason, Olivia, and Addison of Mahanoy City and Christian, Cole, and Caylee of Gilberton. John is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
John was also preceded in death by brothers George Pytko and his wife Stella, Anthony Pytko and his wife Millie, Bernie Pytko and his wife Irene, and Stanley, who lost his life as a fighter pilot in World War II. Additionally, he was preceded in death by four sisters: Lillian (Pytko) Reiff and her husband Victor Reiff, Sophie (Pytko) Kaczmar and her husband Stephen “Tichon” Kaczmar, Mary “Mamie” (Pytko) Burns and her husband Jimmy Burns, and Helen (Pytko) Carr and her husband John Francis Carr IV.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, services are planned to take place in the future.
Louis D. Truskowsky Funeral Home & Crematory Inc. Mahanoy City is in charge of arrangements. Visit www.truskowskyfuneralhome.com to sign the guest book, send sympathy cards, or view Video Tribute.
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