John M. Batcho, Sr., 97, of Toronto, OH, was born in Barnesboro, Pennsylvania on June 22, 1924, and left this life on June 1, 2022, just before his 98th birthday. He was the son of the late Andrew Batcho and the late Mary Koritko Batcho. He was predeceased by his younger brother, Andrew, and his sisters, Mary and Ann Batcho Olexa.
John is survived by his wife, Rita Zamborsky Batcho, whom he married June 14, 1958; two daughters, Mary Anne (Mark) Palko of Parma Heights and Rita (David) Deary of Columbus; two sons, John (Lisa) Batcho of North Canton and Mark (Kelly) Batcho of Fayetteville, Georgia; seven grandchildren, Zachary (Valerie) Batcho, Jacob (Sanaya) Batcho, Hilary (Jake) Allen, Ryan Palko, Diego Palko, Tyler Penrose and Travis Batcho; his brother, George (Mary Lou) Batcho of Weirton, West Virginia; his nephews and nieces; and seven great-grandchildren.
John attended elementary school in Stratton and Toronto and graduated from Follansbee High School in West Virginia in 1942. After serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II, he attended the University of ‘Ohio and earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
During the war, John served with the 57th Bomb Wing in the Mediterranean Theater, flying as a bomber in the B-25 Mitchell aircraft. He completed 55 combat missions, including missions targeting the Brenner Pass in Italy. He rose to the rank of second lieutenant and was awarded the Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters. After the war, he was active in the 57th Bomb Wing Assoc. renewing friendships with fellow students at annual meetings held across the country.
John was known to be smart and a hard worker. He spent most of his working life at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel, where during a 41-year career he served in the maintenance and management of basic electric, general and oxygen furnaces (BOF) .
John was a devoted family man. As a first-generation American, he had humble beginnings, relying on his faith to serve as a “father figure” to his mother and siblings at a young age. He raised his own children to have faith, integrity, and respect for others. John’s concern for others extended beyond his family to friends and neighbors.
John was a longtime parishioner at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Toronto. He was devoted to his faith and prayed the Rosary daily. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and former Grand Master of Council #2187. He was also a member of the Toronto American Legion Post #86.
John’s interests included gardening and sports, especially college football and Toronto high school baseball. He was known for keeping notes and statistics on games and players. John was proud of his Slovak heritage, especially its music and customs, which were an integral part of family holidays and celebrations.
Visitation will be held Sunday, June 5 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at JE Foster Funeral Home in Toronto with a wake at 3:30 p.m. Additional visitation will be held Monday at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., followed by a funeral liturgy with Mass at 11 a.m. Prof. Thomas Vennitti will celebrate and interment will follow at Toronto Union Cemetery. Military honors will be presented at the cemetery by the American Legion of Toronto.
Memorial donations may be directed to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church c/o the parish office.