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John Paul "Jack" Colletti
October 26, 1940 ~ August 2, 2023 (age 82) 82 Years Old
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John Paul "Jack" Colletti, a long-time resident of North Strabane Township, passed away suddenly on August 2, 2023, at the age of 82.
Jack was born in Brooklyn, NY, on October 26, 1940, to Emmanuel and Isle Colletti. Tragically, he and his brother Alan lost their mother at an early age, which led to their upbringing by their loving grandmother and an extended family on Long Island—an ensemble of adoring and very Italian relatives.
With the turbulence at home, Jack found a haven in the form of summer camp. Attending Raritan Camp and later Trail Blazer Camps in Montague, NJ, the tradition was something he would pass onto his four sons.
A graduate of East Rockaway High School, Jack was active in track and gymnastics, and he met his future wife, fellow ERHS alum Noelita Whitty. Academically adept, he had aspirations for the Merchant Marine Academy, attending the New York Maritime Academy for one year before obtaining his dream placement at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. There, he earned a B.S. degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, and his classmates gave him the nickname "Cyrano."
Following graduation, Jack was commissioned into the Naval Reserves, where he sailed as an engineer, visiting ports worldwide. Afterward, he lent his expertise to the American Bureau of Shipping and Dravo Corporation as an engineer.
Eventually, this New Yorker put down roots in the south hills of Pittsburgh. The Colletti family found home in North Strabane, settling in a Ryan home with a sprawling 3-acre yard and large creek. In his spare time, Jack was a private pilot and was known for the countless "touch-n-gos" he performed at Washington County Airport, delighting in demonstrating his piloting skills.
In 1970, he established his engineering consulting firm, working as a licensed Marine Surveyor for over 50 years and later passing on the business to his son. True to his profession, Jack had a fondness for mechanical pencils and slide rules. In 1988, his exceptional skills led to his nomination to the standards committee for the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME). His knowledge made him a sought-after expert witness in cases involving water-borne accidents, including the 1988 Pittsburgh Regatta speedboat accident case.
While Jack was an engineer at heart, his wife Noelita inspired his entrepreneurial side. Together, they started a travel agency, acquired apartment complexes, and bought land in Cumberland, Maryland. Their ventures taught the Colletti boys invaluable lessons.
Jack also harbored an affection for guns and cars—though the latter was never fancy. From various VW bugs to a green Mercedes, the Colletti driveway had seen over 20 cars in the years, each with its unique charm.
In his later years, Jack relished reconnecting with his Kings Point ('63) classmates and enjoyed coffee chats and reminiscing at the McDonald's in Peters Township.
Predeceased by his beloved wife of 42 years, Noelita, and son, Christian, Jack is survived by his loving wife of 15 years, Ruth Colletti. He leaves behind his brothers Alan (Leonora) and Dr. Thomas (Laura) Colletti, sons Steven (Tina), Jack (Nicole), and Brian, grandchildren Nicholas, Rachel, Eli, Celia, and Joshua, along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Friends and family are welcome from 2pm until 6 pm Monday August 7, 2023, in SALANDRA FUNERAL and VREMATION SERVICES, INC. Joseph P. Salandra LFD owner/supervisor 304 West Pike Street Canonsburg (724-745-8120) where services will be held at 6 pm. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes donations be directed to either Trail Blazer Camps (https://trailblazers.org/donate/) or The United States Merchant Marine Academy foundation (https://www.usmmaalumni.com).