Paul T. Valachovic

Paul T. Valachovic, 91, of 121 Pleasant Avenue, Johnstown, passed away late Sunday, July 21, 2013, at Nathan Littauer Hospital, Gloversville.

Paul was born on July 29, 1921, in Johnstown, son of the late Anthony F. and Louise Hladik Valachovic. He graduated from Johnstown High School in 1939. Paul began his career at the telephone company in May 1940 as a draftsman, retiring in 1987 as an equipment engineer. In January 1941, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and would fly 32 missions over France and Germany as a “dead reckoning” bombardier navigator in a B-24H; he attained the rank of first lieutenant. He married his first – and only – love, the former Madelyn K. Cromer, on March 17, 1945.

Paul was an Eagle Boy Scout, a member of St. Anthony’s Church, an active blood donor and a JAVAC volunteer. He enjoyed helping organize and participating in the Johnstown Memorial Day parade. He loved stamp collecting (since age 10), fishing, and celebrating Christmas with his family. His passion was the Johnstown School District. He served on the Board of Education for 10 years, with “Children First” as his motto. Paul was a dedicated supporter and invited attendee at school functions academic, athletic and artistic. The 1988 Johnstown High School Yearbook was dedicated to him: ” He is for everyone Despite having been overlooked by the football team during his own high school years, Mr. Valachovic, Class of ’39, has missed only one Johnstown-Gloversville game in the last 50 years, not surprising for a man whose enthusiasm for Johnstown has only grown over the years to such an extent that some claim he now bleeds purple and gold” He was the recipient in 1989 of the Founder’s Day Award from the Jansen Avenue School PTA and, in 1997, the Central Council Citywide Founder’s Day Award as “Johnstown’s No. 1 Fan.” In 2007, Paul was inducted into the Johnstown High School Hall of Fame, cited as “Mr. Johnstown.” Paul is probably best remembered for painting parking lot bumpers purple and gold, for planting purple-and -gold flower beds, giving cold cider for 40 years to numerous athletes – varsity and JV, male and female – as they came off the practice fields, cheering loudly, leading cheers and unofficially coaching from the sidelines, and for wearing year-round a purple- and-gold hat.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Madelyn K. Valachovic; his sisters, Betty Cominole of Gloversville and Jeanne Carpenter of Manassas, Va.; and his sisters-in-law, Lois Howe and Shirley Wilmot, both of Johnstown. Survivors include his sons, Thomas (Patricia) Valachovic of Johnstown and Edward Valachovic of Los Angeles; a daughter, Kathryn (J. Stephen) Van Arnam of Johnstown; four grandchildren, Aaron (Michelle) Valachovic of Rochester, Ethan (Amy-Beth) Valachovic of Gloversville, Amanda (Matt) Fleming of Johnstown, John Simon Van Arnam MD (Milica Margeta MD) of Durham, N.C.; six great-grandchildren, Ava and Gavin Valachovic, Masen and Mila Valachovic, Lilah Fleming, Natalia Van Arnam; a brother-in-law, Mark Cominole of Gloversville; and 14 nieces and nephews.

Calling hours will be on Thursday, July 25, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Barter & Donnan Funeral Home, 1 N. Melcher Street, Johnstown. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Friday, July 26, at 10 a.m. at the Holy Trinity Church, Johnstown. Interment will in St. Anthony’s Cemetery, Johnstown.

The family requests that memorial contributions, in lieu of flowers, be made to the William A. Wright Scholarship Fund, c/o JRTA, 137 Webb Road, Johnstown, NY 12095. “Prof. Wright” was Paul’s JHS teacher and principal.

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