Born and raised in “the Bronx”, New York. Attended and graduated from Powell Memorial High School in Manhattan in 1958. He graduated from Manhattan College in 1963 with a Bachelors Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Over his life time he has been registered as a Professional Engineer (P.E.) in every state in the union with the exception of one. John initially worked for Hanes, Lumberg and Wailer in Manhattan. Later moved to the Washington D.C. office of Perkins and Will as a Chief Electrical Engineer. A branch office to Perkins and Will was set up by John and a HVAC engineer as the principles in White Plains, New York. John formed his own Consulting Electrical Engineering Firm in White Plains for a brief time, later relocating to St. Louis, Missouri to work for Hospital Designers Inc (now known as H.B.E. Corp.) and remained with them for 18 years. During his tenure there he was promoted to Senior Chief Electrical Engineer and functioned in that capacity until his resignation. John left them and moved to the small consulting engineering firm of KM2 in Springfield, Illinois where he remained for about 18 months until he secured a position at Ross and Baruzzini Inc (R. & B.) in St. Louis, where he finished the last twelve years of his career (to the date of his death) as the Chief Electrical Engineer and later as Vice President and Director of the Electrical Engineering Department. John was an active member of the Electrical Boards of Missouri and Illinois and the NFPA .
John was previously married to Nancy Christiano, now deceased. From his union with her came his only living three children, John, Daniel and Maryjane. That marriage ended in 1974 prior to his relocation to Missouri in 1977.
John married Karen (nee Kristen) Berger after a year’s courtship (for lack of a better word) in 1978 (it was the ‘70’s, what can I say) and gained two step children, Robert and Kimberlie Berger.
In November of 1979, John’s youngest two children permanently joined our family in St. Louis. Due to a severe brain injury suffered at birth, the State of Connecticut maintains custody of his oldest son, John, to this day.
With this making of a combined family and all the extraneous issues that came with that, we laughed together, played together, cried together and each wanted to send another to the moon on occasion too. I will say this, it really made each of us very interesting as individuals. God Bless us (we really needed all the help we could get).
John’s greatest hobby was building plank on frame “Tall Ships”. They are very beautiful and contain a lot of his heart and soul. John also really loved flowers even though he did not care for the process of getting them. He really enjoyed the gardens that I (Karen) was able to create over the last 33 years of our partnership and marriage.
One of John’s greatest loves and frequent enjoyments where his moments with his grandchildren. Whether they were blood descendants like D.J. (Dan’s son by his union with Sondra Dattoli) or his step grandchildren, like Steven, born to my daughter Kim (nee Berger) and her husband Mark Gerecke or Samantha, Addison and Charles born to my son Rob and his wife Jennifer (nee Marth), John loved them one and all and was very proud of each of them in turn. They are all adorable and special in their own uniqueness and we feel very blessed for the miracle they each represent.
I don’t think the telling of his story would be complete without saying something about his personality. John had a very unusual sense of humor and was often referred to as a “CHARACTER”. (I was told to capitalize that word because he was quite a character). One either loved him for his unusual way of looking at life which was very funny or one dismissed him out of hand as off the wall. He could make people laugh, including myself. I believe there was some kind of a clown that lived inside him that needed expression, unfortunately sometimes, it would express at awkward times and could be embarrassing. John lived by his own rules, but I know he was sound of heart (the reason I married him) and he was an honorable man. One could trust his thought, his word and his deeds.
I will say this and I don’t think anyone would dispute it, he was a very dynamic man, very intelligent, an outstanding and knowledgeable Electrical Engineer, a good manager of his department and very introspective about life and himself. (He just couldn’t understand that I (Karen) wasn’t in his employ and wasn’t interested in being managed, one of life’s many struggles in a marriage but it was what gave our relationship a lot of zest)!
John was John and I am blessed for every year I had with him. With him and through him, I became strong and a world of hurt was healed and I learned to reach out and ask for help because I could trust his reasoning and support. There was nothing that we couldn’t discuss or analyze or laugh or cry over. Yes, the process of building a relationship is slow and hard at times, but the bringing together of two such people as ourselves with the baggage we each carried into this marriage, it was a MIRACLE how we came to evolve and grow stronger together year after year. I loved him more with each passing year, which was always amazing to me. I will tremendously mourn his loss, my life’s partner, my husband.
John’s struggle with cancer was horrific and the end was painful for him to live and for we who loved him to observe. However, he doesn’t have to struggle with that worn out, debilitated body any longer. He IS free and he IS home with God once again.
Services: A visitation will be held at St. Louis Cremation, 2135 Chouteau Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63103, on Saturday, March 27th from 11:00am to 3:00pm. A memorial service will be held at Old Trinity Lutheran, 812 Soulard, St. Louis, MO 63104, on Monday, March 29th, at 10:00am. A private interment will be held by the family.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, please make donations to The Community Outreach Program at Old Trinity Lutheran Church, 812 Soulard, St. Louis, MO 63104, or to the American Cancer Society, 4215 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/don/don_0.asp