John M. Batcho, Sr., 97, of Toronto, OH, was born in Barnesboro, Pennsylvania, on June 22, 1924, and departed this life on June 1, 2022, just shy of his 98th birthday. He was the son of the late Andrew Batcho and Mary Koritko Batcho. He was preceded in death by his infant brother, Andrew, and his sisters, Mary and Ann Batcho Olexa.
John is survived by his wife, Rita Zamborsky Batcho, whom he married on June 14, 1958; two daughters, Mary Anne (Mark) Palko of Parma Heights and Rita (David) Deary of Columbus; two sons, John (Lisa) Batcho of North Canton and Mark (Kelly) Batcho of Fayetteville, Georgia; seven grandchildren, Zachary (Valerie) Batcho, Jacob (Sanaya) Batcho, Hilary (Jake) Allen, Ryan Palko, Diego Palko, Tyler Penrose, and Travis Batcho; his brother, George (Mary Lou) Batcho of Weirton, West Virginia; his nephews and nieces; and seven great-grandchildren.
John attended elementary grades in Stratton and Toronto and graduated from Follansbee High School in West Virginia in 1942. Following service in the Army Air Corps in World War II, he attended Ohio University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
During the war, John served with the 57th Bomb Wing in the Mediterranean theater, flying as a bombardier in the B-25 Mitchell aircraft. He completed 55 combat missions, including missions targeting the Brenner pass in Italy. He attained the rank of second lieutenant and was awarded the Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters. After the war, he was active in the 57th Bomb Wing Assoc. renewing friendships with his comrades at annual reunions held around the country.
John was known to be intelligent and a hard worker. He spent most of his professional life with Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel, where over a 41-year career he served in Electrical, General, and Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) maintenance and management.
John was a devoted family man. As a first generation American, he had humble beginnings, relying on his faith to serve as a ‘father figure’ to his mother and siblings at a young age. He raised his own children to have faith, integrity, and respect for others. John’s concern for others extended beyond his family to friends and neighbors.
John was a long-time parishioner at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Toronto. He was devoted to his faith and prayed the rosary daily. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and was a past Grand Master of Council #2187. He was also a member of Toronto American Legion Post #86.
John’s interests included gardening and sports, especially college football and Toronto High School baseball. He was known to keep notes and statistics on games and players. John was proud of his Slovak heritage, in particular its music and customs, which were integral to family holidays and celebrations.
Visitation will be held Sunday, June 5, from 12 noon to 4 pm at the J.E. Foster Funeral Home in Toronto with a Vigil Service at 3:30 pm. Additional visitation will take place Monday at the St. Joseph Catholic Church from 10:30 am to 11 am followed by a Funeral Liturgy with Mass at 11 am. Fr. Thomas Vennitti will celebrate, and burial will follow in the Toronto Union Cemetery. Military Honors will be presented at the cemetery by the Toronto American Legion.
Memorial donations may be directed to the St. Joseph Catholic Church c/o the Parish Office.
St. Joseph Catholic Church
1225 N. River Avenue, Toronto OH 43964