Cover photo for JOHN W. BIRELY Jr.'s Obituary
JOHN W. BIRELY Jr. Profile Photo
1939 JOHN 2018


June 11, 1939 — January 12, 2018

John W. Birely Jr., 78, Lancaster, formerly of Altoona, passed away Friday.

He was born in Altoona, son of the late John W. and Betty Vipond Birely. He married Gabrielle “Gay” Eckenroth, with whom he had shared 32 years of marriage as of Dec. 14, 2017.

Surviving are his wife; two daughters: Janet (Curt) Cranmer of Seabrook, Texas, and Jackie (Herb) Blair of Livermore, Calif.; a stepson, Jim (Martha) Brown of Harrisburg; five grandchildren: Julie (Rocky) Holly in Texas, Doug Ellis of Altoona, Jaime (Justin) Lewis in Colorado and Lauren Blair and Rebecca Blair, both in Colorado; two step-grandchildren: Aaron Brown and Carolyn Brown, both in Pennsylvania; eight great-grandchildren: James (Lauren) Mays in Texas, Justin (Robbye) Mays in Louisiana, Jarrett Mays and Jackson Mays, both in Texas, Darren Ellis, Devyn Ellis and Elayni Ellis, all in Pennsylvania, and Jhett Lewis in Colorado; three great-great-grandchildren: Jacob Mays in Louisiana, James W. Mays in Texas and John Mays in Louisiana; and a sister-in-law, Linda Birely of Altoona.

He was preceded in death by a brother, William Birely; a sister, Diane Kaczmarek; and a brother-in-law, Frank Kaczmarek.

John was a 1957 graduate of Altoona High School, and he was active on the 1957 reunion committee, as well as the all-reunion committee, and he had served as an officer with the AAHS band and majorette booster clubs. For many years, he had worked as a supervisor for Stanley Electric Co., Altoona. He later worked for 30 years for Caterpillar Inc.,York, until his retirement in 2005.

While residing in Altoona, John was a member of the Altoona Jaycees, where he served as president from 1970-71. He was also a member of Heidelberg Country Club, Bavarian Aid Society and Masonic Lodge No. 281. He was a member of Long Memorial United Methodist Church, Lancaster, and Hawk Gunning Club, York. He was also a Penn State football season ticket holder.

Friends will be received from 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, at Stanley J. Krish Funeral Home Inc., 1204 17th St., Altoona, where a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Interment will be held at the convenience of the family in Grandview Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please make contributions in John’s memory to Water Street Rescue Mission, 210 S. Prince St., Lancaster, PA 17603.


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