John Oliver Sabol, Sr.
John Oliver Sabol, Sr. was born in Pittsburgh on May 27, 1931 and lived in the city for his entire life except for a short stint in the U.S. Army in the 1950s. He passed away after a short illness on January 22, 2023. His loving wife of 67 years, Sally (nee Little) passed in August 2021. John is survived by his younger brother, James Sabol.
In John’s 1951 Langley High School yearbook, he stated that he “planned to be an executive in a large establishment.” He probably did not think the large establishment would be his seven loud and loving children. For close to seventy years, John’s firm but fair presence along with his work ethic guided his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to become responsible and hardworking people. His children are: John (Kim Koenig) Sabol Jr., Kathleen (the late David) Secunda, Carolyn (the late Gerry Kirschner), Thomas (Emilie Fordley), Ralph (Justine Kochan) and the late Donald (Kathy Coleman) Sabol and Teresa (Michael) Sabol Spezio
John’s Army service began in October 1953 and ended in September 1955. He was deployed to West Germany and spent time in Kaiserslautern and other locations. It may have been a tense time during the Cold War but his time there allowed him to perfect his story telling skills. As a Master Sargent in the 7th Army Division, he maneuvered men and equipment throughout most of the country. One of his enduring memories that can be repeated is his less-than-legal trip to the beautiful city of Heidelberg – one of the few German cities not bombed in World War II.
Over the course of over 40 years, John worked as a service technician for 3M. He traveled to offices, manufacturing facilities and power plants to repair a menagerie of equipment where he would share the jokes he collected and tell stories. After he retired, he sent his jokes by email. For years, John drove a MG coupe as his work car until the little car’s frame rusted from the hard winters of Pittsburgh. He missed his “baby,” especially when his next car was a light blue Ford Gran Torino that always seemed to be breaking down. John was happy to drive company minivans throughout the rest of his career.
Even though, John drove all week for his job, he enjoyed taking his large family in the red Kingswood station wagon to any state or local park in southwestern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia. Sally and their big family talked and sang while John listened and smiled. His older children remember trips to Marienville to visit Aunt Betty and Uncle Roy’s cabin. John loved to play with his children. In the winter, sled riding was his favorite and in the summer, although he was prone to sun burn, John would spend hours in whatever lake or pool the family visited throwing his children into the water until they could not stop laughing.
John was an avid reader of science fiction which he passed onto his children. One of his grandchildren, John III engages in Star Wars cosplay as a Mandalorian. John’s love of science fiction expanded in his later years while watching EVERY Star Trek and most Star Wars movies and television series and listening to audio books especially from Clive Cussler. In addition, he loved visiting his children who moved from Pittsburgh. Over the years John and Sally visited England, Scotland, Ireland, and most states including Alaska and Hawai’i. When not traveling, he began every day, sitting with Sally, eating breakfast and reading the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and then onto daily Mass.
As a life-long Pittsburgher, John loved his Steelers, Penguins and Pirates. In his later years, you would find him sitting in his chair during baseball season, watching his beloved Pirates lose. All the winning seasons of the Steelers and Penguins made watching the Pirates bearable. His favorite saying though during every Steeler game at some point was “while I’ll be go to he**.”
John was the backbone of his family. The love between Sally and John sustained their family in good and bad times. His wife Sally was the spokesperson and lead organizer for the family while John provided the shelter, food and transportation to keep the large organization protected and happy. As his sons can attest, he took the responsibility seriously. On many weekends, as they completed their chores, John would stop look around and say, “Just one more thing…” He will be missed.
In addition to his seven children, John had eleven grandchildren, John III (Samantha Tornblum), Ken (Elizabeth Lester) and Aaron (Maureen O’Malley) Kirschner, Claire, Catherine, Zach, Jake, Samantha, Paul (Laura Wheeler), David (Kaitlin Tucker), Amy (JT) Gora and four great grandchildren, Calleigh Kirschner, Talia Kirschner, Benjamin Sabol, and Rosalie Sabol.
Visitation will be at the William F. Conroy Funeral Home, Inc. 2944 Chartiers Ave., Sheraden on THURSDAY from 2:00 – 4:00pm and 6:00 – 8:00pm. Funeral mass 10 a.m. Friday in St. Margaret of Scotland Church of St. Raphael the Archangel Parish, Greentree. Interment in St Martin Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Jasmine Nyree Campus (3011 Landis St, Pittsburgh, PA 15204).
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