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John J. "Babe" Heller

April 16, 1934 February 24, 2019
John J. "Babe" Heller
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Obituary for John J. "Babe" Heller

John J. "Babe" Heller, 84 , of Pottsville, passed away peacefully on Sunday surrounded by his family in Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown.

Born in Palo Alto, on April 16, 1934, he was the son of the late John and Helen (Wassel) Heller.

He was a 1952 graduate of Pottsville High School; a 1953 graduate of Massanutten Military Academy, Woodstock, VA; and attended the University of Richmond.

John was a life member of St. John the Baptist Church, Pottsville.

He proudly served his country in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Babe worked as a sales representative for Ligget & Myers Tobacco Co. for 10 years and then Capital Blue Cross for 19 years, retiring in 1994. In his retirement he worked at Lord Funeral Home, Inc. and then later at Lord-Bixler Funeral Home, Inc. as a funeral attendant. He enjoyed keeping busy playing golf, baseball, and softball.

John's memberships included: life membership of the St. Bernards Society and Yorkville Hose; 25 year member of the Pottsville Lion's Club and also a 25 year volunteer for the Lion's Ambulance as a night driver; member of the Catholic War Vets and the New Minersville Fire House. Through the years he served as a basketball, baseball, and football referee. Babe was inducted into the Pottsville High School Sports Hall of Fame for football.

He and his late wife, JoAnn, loved to dance and travel.

In addition to his parents, Babe was preceded in death by his wife, JoAnn F. (Foley) Heller, on December 24, 2012, to whom he was married 53 years; step-mothers: Alma (Smith) Heller and Mary (Cantwell) Heller; grandpop, Joseph Heller.

Babe is survived by three daughters, Karen Heller Wagner, wife of Robin, of Minersville; Janet Heller, wife of Terry Leininger Jr., of Exeter Township; Mary "Mimi", wife of Joe Modesto, of Pottsville; grandchildren: Dominique and Gina Fanelli; Paul and Maggie Platko; and Emma Cramer ; great-grandson, Mason Fanelli; and dear friends, Barb and Joe Wollyung.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday at 11:00 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Church, 913 Mahantongo St., Pottsville, with Rev. David J. Loeper officiating. A viewing will be held on Thursday evening from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Lord-Bixler Funeral Home, Inc., 1818 Mahantongo St., Pottsville and on Friday morning from 9:30 a.m. until the procession will leave for church.

Interment will follow in St. John #2 Cemetery, Pottsville.

The family request contributions in John's memory be sent to: St. John the Baptist Memorial Fund, 913 Mahantongo St., Pottsville, PA 17901 or Yorkville Hose Company, 20th and Norwegian Sts., Pottsville.

Lord-Bixler Funeral Home, Inc. is in charge of arrangements.

Online condolences may be expressed at lordbixler.com.


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