John's Story

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John Joseph Boback, 76, of Elysburg, left this world on Saturday, July 16, 2016, surrounded by his loving family.

He was born on April 22, 1940, in Shamokin, the son of the late John J. and Barbara (always known as Jennie) Woyurka Boback. On Aug. 31, 1974, he married the love of his life, the former Susan Van Buskirk.

John graduated from Shamokin High School in 1957, earned a bachelor's degree in education from Bloomsburg State College, and then a master's degree in social work from Marywood College of Social Work. Among other titles, he was the Director of Professional Services at Selinsgrove Center and worked there for 31 years. Following his retirement, he became an associate broker with Bressi and Martin Real Estate.

But what made John unique was his passion for community and public service. In addition to being the Ralpho Township Youth Sports president in the early 1980s, he was a proud member of the All Home Days Celebration in Elysburg for nearly 20 years, many of which were served as president. He was instrumental in upgrading the facilities at the Community Park, founded several events, and in true John Boback fashion, decided that to make the Park complete, it needed an official U.S. Army M60 Artillery Tank. And after four years of perseverance, in 1995 it was delivered to Elysburg and remains there to this day.

Following in his father's footsteps some 60 years prior, John was appointed as a Northumberland County Commissioner in 1993, and enjoyed the opportunities and challenges that the position brought. The following year, he ran for a seat in the Pennsylvania State Senate. Though unsuccessful, he remained active in local politics, serving on the Northumberland County Planning Commission, the Northumberland County Industrial Development Authority, the Brush Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Central Susquehanna Board of Realtors, the FNB Bank N.A. Regional Board, and the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau Board, among many others.

John had a gift of being able to fix almost anything with nothing more than some chicken wire and duct tape; over the years in his spare time he liked to build fireplaces, chimneys, and was a precise and skilled craftsman. When he wasn't building something, he and Sue loved to spend time in Colonial Williamsburg, learning about early American History and visiting with their many friends in the area.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son Dan, and daughter-in-law, Deena, of Stroudsburg and his three beloved grandchildren, Tyler, Hannah, and Brady, all of whom were a constant source of pride and pleasure to him, and his favorite playmates. Some of his most memorable moments were watching their Little League baseball and football games and spoiling them at Knoebels. He is also survived by his sister, Pearl, her husband, Cal, and nephew, Michael Swank; brother-in-law, Gary (Caroline) Van Buskirk, brother-in-law, James (Linda) Van Buskirk, and cousins and nieces. John took great pride in community service, but he took an ever greater pride in his family - the joy of his life.

His last words were "At least I won't have to go to the damn gym anymore!" He hated it but always wanted to pass away in good health. Mission accomplished.

A memorial service will be held at noon Wednesday in the Stephen A Chowka Funeral Home, 114 N. Shamokin St., Shamokin, with the Rev. Mykola Ivanov presiding. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to noon prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, John would have loved a donation be made in his memory to Ralpho Youth Sports, c/o Dave Hoy, 198 Longacre Road, Elysburg PA 17824, or to the Special Olympics, 2570 Blvd. of the Generals, Suite 124, Norristown PA 19403.
Published on July 17, 2016
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