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Well-known and respected retired Pennsylvania State Trooper and former Wilkes-Barre Area School Director, Mr. John M. Yencha, 86, of North Wilkes-Barre, entered into Eternal Life unexpectedly Tuesday morning at his residence.
Born on December 28, 1931 in Wilkes-Barre, John was the eldest son of seven children to the late John and Mary (Witzak) Yencha. Educated in the city schools, he attended the James M. Coughlin High School, Wilkes-Barre.
Following his education, Mr. Yencha enlisted with the United States Marine Corps on June 21, 1951 and proudly served our country during the Korean Conflict, being honorably discharged on June 20, 1954.
In his younger days, he and his brother, Michael served as funerary assistants and drivers for the John V. Morris Funeral Homes.
Upon his return home from military duties, he began his career with the Pennsylvania State Police on April 16, 1957. John served thirty-three years as a State Trooper retiring from Troop P, Wyoming barracks on July 6, 1990. A no-nonsense individual known for his distinctive crew cut, John did not slow down once he left the State Police. His family became used to sharing their father's time with the many fraternal and social clubs he belonged to.
In his children's youth, he was involved in their sporting events and served as a coach for the North End Little League Association.
John was a member of Saint Andre Bessette Parish, having previously been an active member of the former Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church prior to its closure. Proud of his Slovak heritage, he also held membership in the Slovak Catholic Sokols, and was an active life member of the North End Slovak Citizens Club, where he previously served as President and on the Board of Governors besides his regular membership for many years. He was a member of the former Tatra Club of Luzerne County; Served on the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board and the Wilkes-Barre Area Zoning Board; was a member of the Brookside American Legion, Post #837; The Veterans of Foreign Wars; the Polish American Club in Hudson; the Fraternal Order of Police; the Knights of Columbus; and the National Rifle Association.
He took classes in the study of small engine repair, and enjoyed fixing and tuning up yard equipment for family, friends and neighbors.
An avid outdoorsman, John was a hunting and fishing enthusiast who loved spending time at his family's cabin in Bradford County.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, the former Marguerite M. "Margie" Mehm on December 31, 2006. At the time of Mrs. Yencha's passing, the couple shared some forty-three years of married life together. Sadly, prior to his wife's passing, the couple laid to rest a daughter, Kathleen R. Bly on August 26, 2001. More recently, he was preceded by sisters; Elizabeth Baum and Mary Ann Jones; by brothers Richard D. Yencha Sr. and Michel J. Yencha Sr. as well as several nieces, nephews and in-laws.
Left to cherish his memory are his children, John M. Yencha Jr. and his wife Teresa of Wyoming; Debra Walsh and her husband Philip of Wilkes-Barre and Beth Ann Christian and her husband Scott of Plains Township; Son-in-Law, Donald L. Bly Sr., of Ashley; Grandchildren, including Donald Jr., Kevin, Karen and Matthew Bly; Alyssa, Philip, Nicole and Jessica Walsh; Jennifer and Lindsey Yencha; Scott, Eric and Julia Christian; Great-grandchildren, Wyatt, Gabriella, Matthew and Natalia Bly; Sisters, Geraldine Goldberg, Boca Raton, FL; Nancy Jacobs, Kingston; Numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, fellow state police retirees and dear friends.
Funeral services for Mr. Yencha will be conducted on Friday at 9:30 a.m. from the North Wilkes-Barre location of the John V. Morris Family Funeral Homes Inc., 625 North Main Street followed by a Funeral Mass at 10:00 in the Parish of Saint Andre Bessette, 668 North Main Street. The Reverend Kenneth M. Seegar, his pastor, will serve as celebrant and homilist.
Interment with the Rite of Committal will follow next to his wife and daughter in Saint Nicholas Roman Catholic Cemetery, Pioneer Avenue, Shavertown section of Kingston Township where military honors will be accorded by the United States Marine Corps.
Relatives and friends may join the Yencha family for visitation and remembrances Thursday evening from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. at the funeral home where prayers will be offered by Father Seegar and tributes given by several of his fraternal organizations.