John J. "Dukie" Sr., 93, of 702 Center St., Jim Thorpe, formerly of 103 North St., Jim Thorpe, entered into eternal rest on Friday at Blue Mountain Health System, Gnaden Huetten Campus, Lehighton. He was the husband of the late Pauline M. (Lazur) Bilsak, who passed away in 1998.
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Born in Jim Thorpe, he was a son of the late Andrew and Anna (Hodor) Bilsak.
He worked as a "Gandy Dancer" for 35 years for the former New Jersey Central Railroad before retiring.
John was a World War II Army veteran, having served in the Invasion of North Africa, and then served in the European Theatre, participating in the Battle of the Bulge.
He was a member of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Jim Thorpe and also belonged to Jim Thorpe American Legion Post 304, the Mauch Chunk Rod and Gun Club and the Fairview Hose Co., also of Jim Thorpe.
John was recognized as Jim Thorpe's No. 1 Olympian fan, following all of Jim Thorpe High School sports over the years. Also, for the last 18 of 19 years, John threw out the ceremonial First Pitch at the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Baseball Stadium, home of the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Red Barons and now the Yankees Minor League baseball teams. Especially in his younger years, John was an avid outdoorsman, and loved hunting and fishing.
Surviving is a son, John Jr., of Jim Thorpe, with whom he resided, a brother Francis Bilsak of Jim Thorpe, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a daughter, Dolores Nalesnik, and brothers, Thomas, Andrew, Edward and sisters, Mary Winkler, Anna Valentino, Veronica Uher, Susan Orsulak and Sister Annette Bilsak I.H.M.
Services: Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, March 5, at 9:30 a.m. from the David J. Stianche Funeral Home, 123 Center St., Jim Thorpe, Pa., followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 10 a.m. from St. Jospeh's Roman Catholic Church in Jim Thorpe, with the Rev. Francis Baransky officiating. Interment will be at St. Jospeh's Cemetery in Jim Thorpe. Calling hours will be held Monday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. and Tuesday morning from 8:45 to 9:30 a.m. at the Stianche Funeral Home. A Christian Vigil Service will be held during calling hours on Monday evening. Military graveside services will be held on Tuesday by the Jim Thorpe American Legion Post 304. Contributions may be made to St. Jospeh's Roman Catholic Church, 526 North St., Jim Thorpe, Pa. 18229.