John Francis Xavier Strano

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John Francis Xavier Strano, 69, of Pittsburgh, formerly of Brookville, passed away Tuesday morning, Sept. 9, 2014, at the Pittsburgh VA Hospital, Aspinwall, after a long battle with cancer.
He was predeceased by his parents Samuel and Teresa Strano, and sister Emilie Strano Taylor of Brookville.
He is survived by his son, Michael (Melissa) Strano; granddaughter, Morgan; and special caregiver, Joyce Sabo, all of Pittsburgh; sister, Teresa (Steve) Ames of Lilburn, Ga./Brookville; and brothers, Joe (Debra) of Binghamton, N.Y., and Sam of Brookville; uncle, Eugene Ferraro; nieces: Josey, Juliette, Sarah and Maresa Strano; Erica, Ali and Keri Strano Taylor and Stephanie (Grady) Ames Karp; nephews: Ryan (Suzanne) and Jay Ames and Sam Strano; cousins: Joe, Tom, Frank, Mike, Paul and Judith Ferraro, Amelia Ferraro Stengel, Fran (Tom), Michele (Mike) and Jim Marsh, Janet (Bill), Cathy, Tom, Dan (Jan), David (Katie), Chris (Doris) and Jim (Dietta) Slayton; and special Brookville family friend, Ray Vogrig.
John was a graduate of Immaculate Conception Parochial and Brookville High ('63) schools and attended Clarion University.
He was a U.S. Army early Vietnam-era veteran and served in Korea as a communication specialist, attaining the rank of sergeant.
Prior to and after his Army service, he pursued his baseball passion playing for the JC League champion Brookville Grays mostly during the proto "Hall of Famer" Sparky Lyle era. While in the service, he played for his Army division's baseball team.
His Pittsburgh tenure encompassed long stints as an electrical components sales representative, a USPS employee and a Galleria maintenance tech for the Pittsburgh Mt. Lebanon Mall.
He combined an unusual mix of "smarts," a significant amount devoted to his "P" passions: for the Pirates (at a "George Will" level of baseball esoterica); for Psychology (primarily limited to "diamond" applications, where he was often, ala Reggie Jackson, "the straw that stirred the drink," for Pinochle; for Puzzles (of the NYT X-word variety); for Prowess, occasionally (as in a little known, "in the zone", demonstration of competitive "thinking" – e.g. by besting 6,000 Army applicants in an aptitude-test-based contest for a West Point scholarship); lastly, for his Pooches (Shih Tzus), and the Patience they demanded.
Also, though not an academic, he had a Ph.D.-level knowledge of magnetism, not physical but personal. To those who knew him in his prime, he was "prime time," a "magnetic" presence wherever friends or family gathered.
Withal, he remained stubbornly himself; oftentimes exasperatingly and casually so! He did it "his way", for better or worse, and took some measure of pride in it; a not uncommon trait recognizable among many western Pennsylvania heartlanders.
In memory, as in life, his impact will long linger.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Expressions of condolence may be via
Memorial donations may be made to:; and/or Brookville Grays Baseball, c/o Bob McCullough, 489 Rte. 28N, Brookville, Pa. 15825.
Published in The Courier Express from Sept. 28 to Sept. 29, 2014
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