A. John Garritano, 98, Elmcroft of Altoona, passed away Friday at UPMC Altoona.
He was born in Altoona, son of the late Francesco and Catherine (Bruno) Garritano. He married Rosalia A. Reina in Naples, Italy, on Feb. 24, 1946.
Surviving are his beloved wife of almost 68 years; three children: Joan Lantz of Johnstown, Frank and wife, Cindy (Meadows), of Indiana and John and wife, Deborah (Inlow), of Altoona; six grandchildren: Jon (Natasha), Lia (Anthony), Christopher (Carrie), Michael (fiancee, Nicole), Anthony (Angela) and Natalie (fiance, Michael); and two great-grandchildren: Declan and Zola.
John was preceded in death by a sister, Rose; a grandson, Justin; and a son-in-law, Milton Lantz.
John was a 1934 graduate of Altoona High School and served a five-year apprenticeship program with the Pennsylvania Railroad. He retired from Conrail as a master machinist with 42 years of service. John was an active member of the machinists' union, serving as union representative and litigator. He was also instrumental in preserving railroad work in Altoona.
John served in the U.S. Army Air Corps/Air Forces as a staff sergeant in the European African Eastern Campaign during WWII. He worked as a mechanic on B-52 airplanes.
John was a very active member of the A&J Iaia American Legion Post 827, where he held offices from commander to chaplain to sergeant-at-arms. He also served as district commander and western vice-commander. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Clubs, where he served as treasurer for 65 years.
John served on numerous committees and helped to bring metal guardrails to the highways of Pennsylvania, as a way of making them safer. He was a member of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church. John was honored by the late Mayor Roy F. Thompson of Altoona, who proclaimed Sept. 15, 1962, as A. John Garritano Day.
Friends will be received from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Santella Funeral Home, where a vigil for the deceased will be held. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. Committal will be at Calvary Cemetery, with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be given to St. Vincent DePaul Food for Families Soup Kitchen, 2201 Union Ave., Altoona, PA 16601, or to St. Vincent DePaul-Assumption Chapel Food Pantry, 1918 Juniata Gap Road, Altoona, PA 16601.