John J. Katana, 71, of Northern Cambria, died Friday, July 19, 2019, at Miners Medical Center, Hastings.
He was born Aug. 27, 1947, in Spangler, the son of John and Mary (Whites) Katana.
As a lifelong member of St. John’s Byzantine Church in Northern Cambria, he served the church and its community. John upheld the Byzantine traditions and its rich heritage.
Prior to his retirement, John had been employed by the Indiana Area School District for 37 years as an educator, coach and team leader. His tenure at the school was legendary from Geography of Sports to Ball Toss.
His passion for geography was contagious. His many recognitions included: Distinguished Teaching Award by the National Council for Geographic Education, a Distinguished Geographer Award by the Pennsylvania Geographical Society and an Exceptional Academic Service Award by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
He lectured at educational conferences and planned teaching field trips across the United States and internationally.
His love of geography led John to be a world traveler who shared the world with his students. John was instrumental in the teacher exchange program with teachers from the Fujian Province.
He taught summer graduate classes at St. Francis. John’s last educational endeavor was a certified special instructor for physical conditioning at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Police Academy.
John was a member of various professional organizations, including PASR, PSEA and Pennsylvania Geographic Society, where he held various offices.
His acting ability landed him a role as the ring physician in the movie “Southpaw.”
He was a member of the Greek Catholic Union (GCU), where he served as the District 4 president, Lodge 93 secretary, National Scholarship Committee, and convention floor committee chair.
John was an ardent and conversant sports fan and enjoyed attending all sporting events.
John was the brother of Connie Strittmatter and husband Patrick J., of Indiana; and uncle to Patrick Strittmatter and wife Amanda (Overdorff), of Indiana. He is also survived by numerous aunts, cousins, extended family members and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Friends and family will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Robinson-Lytle Inc. in Indiana, where a Parastas service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Additional visitation will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday at St. John’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Northern Cambria, followed by Divine Liturgy, with the Rev. Vasyl Polyak and John’s cousin, Deacon Dennis Prestash, officiating. Interment will be in St. John’s Byzantine Catholic Cemetery.