John Thomas “J.T.” Toriski, 78, of Titusville, passed away Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020 at St. Vincent Hospital in Erie.
John was born Nov. 8, 1942 at Titusville Area Hospital, the only child of John G. and Bernice M. (Kotwica) Toriski.
John once said the greatest lesson his parents ever taught him was to “treat people like you want to be treated, and never lie.” With that in mind, he dedicated his life to being a proud, lifelong resident of Titusville; a devoted member of St. Titus Roman Catholic Church; and a friendly, reliable face to everyone he met in his community.
John graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy in 1960. In 1964, he was drafted into the United States Army. During his two years of service, John was a Military Policeman, including serving as protection for thousands of civil rights marchers in the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. Following his honorable discharge and return home to Titusville, he was employed at the Titusville Herald for 42 years, working his way up to Production Manager before retiring. Following The Herald, he worked part-time for Murdoch’s and McElroy’s flower shops as a delivery driver, where he enjoyed brightening people’s days with his flower deliveries. Most recently, he was employed part-time as a courier for Titusville Area Hospital.
John cherished time spent with family and friends – both new and old. He had a deep passion for his hobbies that spanned from writing to trains to mechanical drawing to photography. He was an avid reader, especially on topics of history, biographies, and political commentary. Animals always had a special place in John’s heart, particularly the numerous cats and dogs that were fortunate to have him as an owner the past several decades.
Of the many accomplishments in John’s life, what he considered his greatest were being a husband and father. He married the former Karen Strickland on Oct. 11, 1975, and recently celebrated 45 years of marriage. She survives him as do three sons: Stephen John and partner, Justin Kruse, of Erie, PA; Mark Christopher and wife, Eleanor Perrone Toriski, of Chicago, IL; and Matthew Aaron, of Titusville. Additional survivors include a brother-in-law, Thomas (Cynthia) Strickland, of Titusville; two sisters-in-law, Jane (Paul) Thorne, of Sparks, Nevada, and Carole (Richard) Panas, of Pittsburgh, PA; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews he loved like they were his own children.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister-in-law, Ruth McQuown; a brother-in-law, Forrest McQuown; parents-in-law, Clarence and Therese (Madden) Strickland; as well as numerous aunts and uncles.
There will be no public observance held, per wishes. Memorial contributions for John may be made in care of the Gordon B. Garrett Funeral Home 303 N. Washington St. Titusville, PA 16354. Additionally, the family would like to thank the ICU staffs at Titusville Area Hospital and St. Vincent Hospital for their care and comfort provided the past few weeks.
If you would like to leave a condolence for the family, visit garrettfuneralhomeinc.com.