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John Michael Pitale

Obituary
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John Michael Pitale

AGE: 81 • Medford

APRIL 20, 1933---APRIL 18, 2014

JOHN MICHAEL died peacefully at his home with family present and at his side from complications of cancer treatments just short of his 81st birthday. The family was assisted by Lighthouse Hospice.

He was born in North Wildwood and spent his youth there. He liked to go duck hunting early in the morning before school in the marshes of Grassy Sound. He had three brothers, Louis and George Gerner, and John Dennis Pitale, and three Pitale sisters Margaret Mary, and Mary Lou and Kathy. His grandfather, George A. Redding, was mayor of North Wildwood and former state senator of Cape May County.

At age 17 following his graduation from Wildwood High School, he enlisted in the Air Force to serve from 1951 to 1954 during the Korean conflict… Continuing a long line of service including his late brother Lewis Gerner in WWII to Capt. John Francis Dinghman, Civil War death.

From 1954 to 1958 he attended Drexel Institute of Technology and graduated with a BS in Accounting. He married in 1959 and had three children, Michele (Dr. Alini), John ( Lt. USN ,former F18 fighter pilot off the USS Neimetz) and Anne-Marie (Mariano, former financial officer ). He started his professional career as Advertising Payment Manager for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Following an intensive training in computer science he worked for Smith, Kline and French, Penwalt Corporation, and then became the Information Technology Manager for Einstein Hospital in Philadelphia where in 1996 he retired because of illness. He battled three cancers, colon, esophageal, and prostate.

During the 1970s and 1980s he became a professional basketball referee and baseball umpire belonging to the International Association of Basketball Officals (IABO) and the New Jersey Baseball Umpire Association, earning the nickname "Rulebook Pitale". He also served on and became Chairman of the Pennsauken Planning Commission, earning another nickname, "Pennsauken's answer to Mount Vesuvius".

In 1995 he assisted his wife, Antoinette Griffith, in founding Continuing Support Services, a not for profit agency, to support grieving children. He was CFO and became a Red Cross Certified HIV/AIDS instructor and a Certified Bereavement Facilitator to work with children with loss issues. Because of his deep love for animals, he facilitated a Pet Loss Group. He was also the character "Wolfie" in a puppet presentation for survivors and "Ostrich" in a presentation for HIV/AIDS prevention education. He worked with thousands of South Jersey students. He developed close family relationships with Michael Owens, Art and Music Director of the agency, Brittany A., Zachary R., and Jack Haws (deceased) in helping to reach youth in unique, creative ways.

He is survived by his wife, Antoinette Griffith, three children, Michele (husband Eric), John (wife Velta), and Anne-Marie (husband David), and two step children Sybil and Devin Griffith. Ten grandchildren…Brandon, Corinne, Andrew Alini, Isabella, John Alexander, and Andrew Pitale, and Giselle Sophia Pitale, Carl and Philip and Elise Mariano. He is also survived by his sister, Margaret Mary Myers and two nieces, Mary Beth (Gerner) and Louise (Gerner), and nephew Louis (Gerner).

Relatives and friends are invited to the visitation on Tuesday April 22 from 10-10:30am at the Bradley Funeral Home Marlton, where a Funeral Service will be held at 10:30am. Interment St. Mary's Cemetery, Cold Spring NJ. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, donations may be made in Michael's memory to Animal Welfare Association 509 Centennial Blvd. Voorhees NJ 08043.

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Published in Courier-Post on Apr. 20, 2014
Funeral Home
Bradley Funeral Home
601 Rt. 73 South Marlton, NJ 08053
(856) 983-1005
Funeral Home Details
bullet Air Force bullet Korean War bullet WWII
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