John Joseph Villella
John J. Villella, 76, of Warren, Pa., passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at Cleveland Clinic with his wife and daughter at his side, after a 6-month battle with cancer.
He was born on Dec. 9, 1946 in Punxsutawney, Pa. He was the son of the late Joseph Thomas and Jane Crivella Villella. John was a 1965 graduate of Punxsutawney High School, where he was voted “Best Dancer” of his graduating class. He served with the United States Army in the Vietnam Conflict as a private 4th Class with the Signal Corp repairs division. John earned his bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Robert Morris University, where he served as the president of Phi Delta Mu, Delta Ta Delta, and the American Management Association. During his time as President of Phi Delta Mu, John was instrumental in elevating the fraternity to national status. John, with his family, moved to Warren on April 1, 1982 when he became co-owner and operator of Culligan Water in Warren, Meadville, and Erie until his retirement in 2015.
John was a member of Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, Conewango Valley Country Club, the Conewango Club, the Warren Elks Lodge 223, and the “Bird Dog Society” of Bemus Point. He was an avid grouse hunter and golfer, but his passion was fly fishing. John loved spending time at his camp, “Moon River,” on the Clarion River and his monthly neighborhood poker games. His years were always highlighted by his bi-annual trips to Montana where he would spend his days fly fishing in the Lamar and Yellowstone Rivers where he said, “he felt closest to God.” Every summer he and his family traveled to Stone Harbor, NJ, where they all made some of the most beautiful memories together.
John was a devoted husband to his beautiful wife, Sally, for 50 years. He was a dedicated father and a triumphant “Papa” to his three, vivacious granddaughters. He was a master “tickle monster” and “steamroller,” and could make you laugh until you cried. He was a friend and father to everyone he met.
John is survived by his wife, Sally Drennen Villella whom he married Nov. 17, 1973 in Grove City, PA. Two children — Nicholas John of Alamosa, CO and Jane Villella-Sharon of Fredonia, NY; two brothers — Francis Villella of Treasure Lake and Douglas Villella and wife, Holly, of Erie, Pa. His brother-in-law and business partner, Tom Drennen and wife, Sharon; three grandchildren — Charlotte Sharon (7), Sophie Sharon (5), and Emilia Sharon (4) along with several nephews Daniel, Frankie, Anthony Villella and nieces Rachel Drennen Manley (Jay) Amanda Sidman Sytsma (Willem); along with his lifelong Phi Delta Mu and Delta Ta Delta fraternity brothers.
In addition to his parents, John is preceded in death by his father-in-law, Edwin R. Drennen, sister-in-law Joyce Villella, and many uncles and aunts.
John was the epitome of kindness and generosity. He was a true gentleman and left a lasting impression with every soul he met. “We can love completely what we cannot completely understand.” (A River Runs Through It- Norman Maclean)
Friends may call at the Donald E. Lewis Funeral Home, Inc., 304 East St., Warren, PA on Friday, Sept. 22 at 2 to 6 P.M.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue West, Warren, Pa on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 10 am, with Fr. Richard C. Tomasone, Pastor officiating. Interment will be in St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Cemetery.
Those wishing to place memorials may do so in John’s name through Northern Chautauqua Catholic School, 336 Washington Avenue, Dunkirk, NY 14048, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, or the Struther’s Library Theatre, Liberty Street, Warren, PA.
Email condolences may be sent through www.delewisfuneralhome.com.