John Loren Whitmer, 86, of Shamokin Dam, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Nov. 10, 2017.
He was born Aug. 8, 1931, in Chicago, the second of three sons of Walter Edward and Nellie (Lorensen) Whitmer.
John was a graduate of Morse High School in Bath, Maine, attended LA City College for drafting and graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. He was a veteran of the Korean War, having served in the Air Force beginning in 1950.
He married his high school sweetheart, Madelyn Kronstrand in 1956. He and 'Maddie' raised a happy and close family of six children -- Walt and Lisa, of Spring Mills, Jay (deceased), Chris, of Middleburg, Carla and Tim Minori, of Shamokin Dam, Susan and Jim Chlebowski, of New Berlin, and Jeffrey 'Duffy' and Jenna, of Lincoln University. John and Maddie were married for 53 years until her passing in 2009.
After beginning his career as a draftsman, John joined International Paper in Maine as an engineer, later transferring to Pennsylvania. After several years in the paper industry, John moved onto the steel industry and for 10 years enjoyed making concrete reinforcing steel as a member of management. With the sale of the steel mill, he went on to become City Engineer for Harrisburg until he took a resident engineer position during the construction of the Allenwood prison. He concluded his career as a consultant before retiring in 1996.
John's first passion was his family. Having grown up during the Great Depression and suffering the loss of his own father at the age of 9, he dedicated his life to ensuring that his family had the stable and nurturing environment that he was denied.
In addition to his dedication to family, John was a lifelong community servant. Following college graduation, John was active with the US Jaycees and the Masonic Fraternal Brotherhood in Maine. For more than 40 years John served his hometown of Shamokin Dam in many ways: as a planning commissioner, borough councilman and representative for the Eastern Snyder County Regional Authority (ESCRA). John also served as ESCRA director and chairman until the time of his passing.
Having grown up on the waters of coastal Maine, he maintained a passion for boating and served as Yeoman for the Northumberland Boat Club. Other pastimes included dancing, listening to music, traveling, swimming and ping-pong. As he approached retirement age, John converted to Catholicism to honor his devout wife.
In addition to his children, John is survived by 11 grandchildren, Sam, Ethan, Peter, and Gabe Chlebowski; Cristen (Minori) Diegle and Mark Minori; Joseph and Lucy Whitmer; Liana, Vivian, and Jane Whitmer; and four great-grandchildren, Liam Smith, and Klohie, Hannah and Jackson Hawkins. In addition to his wife, Maddie, and son, Jay, John was preceded in death by his brothers, Tom and Alan.
A visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Pius X Catholic Church, Selinsgrove, followed immediately by a funeral Mass at 11. A celebration of life and reception will then be held from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Susquehanna Valley Country Club.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or Boys Town.
Published on November 13, 2017