John Sitar, 92, of Romney, WV passed away peacefully on Monday, July 24, 2017 at his residence west of Romney. Born October 28, 1924 in Green Spring, WV, John was the youngest child of the late Yernej and Anna (Karun) Sitar.
Besides his parents, John was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Magdalene Williams Sitar; his brothers, Jerry, Joe, and Frank Sitar; and his sisters; Mary Kenney and Anna Rathe. John was the last surviving child of his immediate family.
John is survived by his two sons, John Daniel Sitar and wife SuzAnn (Sloop) of Romney, and Kenneth Karun Sitar of Albuquerque, NM.; and three grandsons, John Holland Sitar of Mount Pleasant, TX, Samuel Paul Sitar of Hadley, MA, and Thomas Kenneth Sitar of Romney, WV.
John’s parents immigrated to the United States from Yugoslavia in 1910, with John’s oldest brother Jerry, aged 6 months at that time. John’s parents eventually made their way to Green Spring, WV, where father Yernej worked at the Koppers Company railroad crosstie plant. The family lived in a railroad boxcar parked on the railroad siding in Green Spring; John was born in that railroad boxcar. When John was 2 years old, the family moved from the railroad boxcar across the main railroad tracks to a home that was the closest house to the railroad tracks in Green Spring.
Being the son of Eastern European immigrants, when Johnny reached the age to begin grade school in Green Spring, he could not speak English well enough and was denied entry into the school. The following year Johnny did start first grade, and continued his schooling in Green Spring, which took him through the eighth grade. From there, it was on to Romney High School, where he met Magdalene and they both graduated in 1943.
At Romney High, Johnny was discovered by Coach Bob Kyle, a renowned teacher and coach who turned Johnny into an outstanding football player and state track performer. John was the first football player at Romney High to make any All-State team above honorable mention when he was named WV third-team All-State his junior year. Following his senior year, Johnny was invited to play in the WV High School North-South All-Star football game along with RHS teammate Loy Wagoner. With the United States in the middle of WWII, however, Johnny was drafted into the United States Army Air Forces, and could not participate in the North-South All-Star game. Johnny was also offered a football scholarship to West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, WV, but again the war kept him from college. In 2011, Johnny was inducted into the Hampshire County Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of the first class of individual inductees.
During his high school years, Johnny’s family often rode the train from Green Spring to Chicago to visit family that had migrated there. Chicago offered various ethnic communities, with the Slovenian community providing a familiar environment for the Sitar family.
Johnny was drafted into the United States Army Air Forces on August 12, 1943. Initially he attended flight training on the Davidson College, NC campus, and later trained as an airplane engine mechanic and airplane maintenance gunner on B-17 aircraft. Other stops on his military career were Lincoln, NE and Biloxi, MS. He separated from the service as a sergeant on March 9, 1946.
Johnny and Magdalene were married on June 23, 1945 at Magdalene’s home west of Romney. From that point on Johnny took advantage of G.I. Bill schooling and began a lifelong journey farming the family farm along the South Branch of the Potomac River west of Romney. Johnny had a dairy farm for several years, then switched to beef cattle. He grew corn, oats, wheat, barley, and hay to feed the cattle through the winter, and sold any excess crops he harvested. Silos were filled with corn silage every year, and hay filled the barn.
As any farmer knows, you have to do about every job known to mankind to operate a farm, and Johnny did just that. He cut timber for fence posts for the fences he built on the farm, repaired all the used farm equipment he bought over the years, was a mechanic, welder, built hay wagons, butchered chickens, delivered and doctored cattle. Always a hard working, independent gentleman, Johnny did most of the farm work by himself. Honesty and thriftiness were inherent to his way of life.
John was a member of the Romney Presbyterian Church, where he served as a deacon and treasurer. He was also a member of the West Virginia Farm Bureau and the American Legion. He served as a member of the Hampshire Memorial Hospital board.
At John’s request, his body will be cremated, with some of his ashes spread over the family farm.
A memorial service for John will be held at the Romney Presbyterian Church on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 11AM.
Please direct inquiries to Shaffer Funeral Home, 304.822.3511