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John Bitler, Denver council member, vet, dies
John Artz Bitler, a lifelong resident of Denver, passed away Friday, Feb. 10, 2012.
John joins his wife of nearly 60 years, Barbara J. (Mellinger), in the afterlife, who died just 17 days earlier. John was born in Denver on Dec. 21, 1926, to John P. and Minnie (Artz) Bitler and was 85 years old at the time of his death.
John enjoyed an extraordinary professional career that began at The Beryllium Corporation and culminated as vice president of environmental affairs, General Battery Corporation of Reading, a career that included authoring numerous U.S. and international patents focused on the safe and permanent removal of toxic waste from the environment. He proudly served in the U.S. Army during World War II and again during the Korean Conflict as sergeant major, Headquarters, 17th Armored Cavalry Group. His three sons, Steven, Bennett and Jonathan, all followed their father’s enduring dedication to service of our nation by pursuing military careers of their own in the U.S. Air Force. John offered mentoring to several of the town’s youth, encouraging them to serve their country as a noble career choice.
John was a pillar of the community throughout his life, supporting the local Boy Scout troop where he enabled his three sons to earn Eagle Scout honors as well as focusing on Denver’s future by serving on its borough council and park commission for many years. He ensured the sacrifices of the town’s young men and women who served in each of this nation’s wars were memorialized by spearheading the addition of granite walls, with each serving member’s name engraved upon them, to Denver’s War Memorial. He was a lifelong member of St. John’s United Church of Christ (UCC), serving on its consistory, his design of its bell tower a lasting tribute to his faith and dedication to the church and its congregation. As a mason for many years, John routinely volunteered his time to provide transportation for children needing medical care at the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital. John and Barbara were fervent supporters of Cocalico’s boys and girls basketball programs through their philanthropy and as permanent fixtures in the gym’s bleachers, both home and away.
John is survived by his three sons: Steve, of Navarre, Fla.; Ben, husband of Maria, of Vail, Ariz.; and Jon, husband of Margaret, of Williamsburg, Va. John and Barbara were blessed with 10 wonderful grandchildren and two great-granddaughters that they loved unconditionally.
A memorial service will be held on Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. at St. John’s UCC, 659 S. Fourth St., Denver. Burial will take place in the Fairview Cemetery, Denver, with military honors being accorded by the Red Rose Honor Guard.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers contributions be made to the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Foundation, 8330 Ward Parkway, Suite 510, Kansas City, MO 64114-2000. Their phone number is (800) 753-2873. Make checks payable to the PKD Foundation and include John’s name on the contribution.
Arrangements are being made by Roseboro Stradling Funeral & Cremation Services Inc., Denver.