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November 30, 1923 - November 12, 2012. Retired PNC Banker, and avid golfer, John L. Church died at the Tidewell Care Center at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center (near Sarasota, FL) on November 12, 2012. Born in Pittsburgh, PA on November 30, 1923, John was the son of the late Walter Seward Church and the late Eleanor Boyer Church, and is predeceased by his first beloved wife, June in 1978, his second cherished wife; Frieda in 1995; along with his older brother Walter in 2000. John is survived by his sister, Martha E. Church who gladly served as his caregiver from August 13 to November 7, 2012. Not too long after John graduated from Peabody High School in Pittsburgh, he was drafted to fight in WWII. His toughest challenges came during The Battle of the Bulge (1944-1945) where he was on the front lines in the snow, while having no winter clothing, which never reached his 87th Division Unit. Wounded by shrapnel in his chest, burned by gasoline from a flame thrower and having frozen feet, he was taken off the front lines and eventually awarded the Purple Heart. He returned to the US on a hospital ship for additional recuperation before he finally got home to Pittsburgh in August, 1945. Using the G.I. Bill, John earned a B.S. in Business Administration in three years from the University of Pittsburgh, and went to work at PNC, where he managed various offices in the Pittsburgh area. In 1985, he retired and had the good fortune to marry his second wife, Frieda in 1986, and then to move to Sarasota, FL, where they purchased a lakeside villa in the Meadows Golf and Country Club. While serving as Manager of the PNC's Fox Chapel office, John helped found and served as the first President of the Fox Chapel Area Rotary Club in 1971-1972. For his distinguished service and leadership, he was awarded the Rotary's highest honor, by being named a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International. Once in Sarasota, John enjoyed being an active member in several men's golfing groups at the Meadows Golf and Country Club, which he joined in 1988. All of his golfing friends knew how thrilled he was to play 9 holes of golf with Arnold Palmer at Pittsburgh's Churchill Valley Country Club. What both men remembered later on when John visited Latrobe, PA and talked with Arnie was the heavy rain that stopped them on the 9th green! Being an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan, John was pleased that his downtown Pittsburgh PNC office was selected for a public display of the third Lombardi Trophy won by the Steelers who now have won three more in recent years. During business hours, a security guard stood by the trophy on display. After closing, John and his staff were thrilled to get up close to the trophy for photos! John and his late wife Frieda enjoyed living in The Meadows and always felt their enclosed lanai had the best lakeside view possible for watching golfers on the Highlands #11 and #12, for viewing the water birds which came by to look into their lanai, and for "welcoming" the two 10 foot alligators which slept on the "Church" lawn! John is now resting in peace with his Lord. Interment will be private.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Nov. 15, 2012
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