July 31, 1923 Nov. 11, 2012
John Joseph "Jack" Wharton, 89, Altoona, died peacefully Sunday surrounded by his loving daughters.
He was born in Altoona, son of the late John Harry and Kathleen (Cassidy) Wharton. He married Margaret E. "Maggie" Weber on Oct. 22, 1947, and she preceded him in death on Dec. 18, 2011.
Surviving are two daughters: Mary Ann, who resided with him, and Linda of Reading; a sister-in-law, Shirley Wharton; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was the last of his immediate family, preceded in death by a brother, Francis "Frank"; two sisters: Ann Drass and Patricia Beiswenger; and two brothers-in-law: Thomas Drass and Richard Beiswenger.
Jack was a 1941 graduate of Altoona High School. He served in the U.S. Army in WWII in the 44th Combat Engineers, where he earned the rank of sergeant major. He received a Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five bronze stars and WWII Victory Medal.
After the war, he toured Europe with the U.S. Army baseball team as the catcher. When he returned home, he was a third base coach and manager for the 8th Ward AAABA baseball league in Altoona. He was employed as a freight conductor for the Pennsylvania Railroad, New York Central and Conrail on the Middle Division, retiring Aug. 22, 1984, after 43 years of service.
Jack was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church, Altoona, where he served as an usher for more than 40 years. He was a member for more than 50 years of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, serving as recording secretary, and also belonged to Friends of the Irish, Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, William Penn Association, Catholic War Veterans and Heidelberg Country Club. He was very devoted to his family, and he enjoyed woodworking, gardening and sports.
Friends will be received from 4 to 8 p.m. today at Jones Funeral Home, Altoona, where a vigil for the deceased will be celebrated. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Altoona, Father Bernard Gaeta as celebrant. Committal rites will be held at St. Mary's Cemetery.