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A Wetzel and Son Obituary for:
John William Ettner
March 9, 1950 - June 21, 2019

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Public Events and Locations

Graveside Service - Monday, July 1, 2019, 11:00 AM at Greenmount Cemetery, Philadelphia


Funeral Home - Wetzel and Son Funeral Home - 419 Huntingdon Pike, Rockledge, PA 19046 - 215-663-8550 - Map
Cemetery - Greenmount Cemetery - 4301 North Front Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140 - 215-329-4747 - Map
Donation - Pennsylvania SPCA - 350 East Erie Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19134 - 215-426-6300 - Map

John William Ettner of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, died Friday, June 21, 2019, peacefully at his home on Martins Mill Road. He was 69 years old. The cause of death was late stage cardiac disease and late stage renal disease.

John was born on March 9, 1950 in Frankford Hospital in Philadelphia, son of the late John Francis Ettner (1916-1955) and the late Anne Marie Ettner (nee Eidemuller) (1917-2003). He is survived by his younger brother, Michael J. Ettner, of Washington DC.

John led a full and rich life. As a child growing up in the Crescentville neighborhood of Philadelphia in the 1950s, John followed the television adventures of Bertie the Bunyip, the antics of the Howdy Doody cast, and the farcical short films of the Three Stooges featured on Sally Starr’s program. Getting a two-wheel bike was a liberation, granting him freedom to explore the real world for hours and hours. When each summer arrived he reveled in vacations down the shore in Wildwood, NJ where he love to bodysurf the ocean’s endless incoming waves. He became a Cub Scout and later on was a leader in the Boy Scouts

A lifelong supporter of the Eagles and 76ers, his most ardent enthusiasm was reserved for the Phillies. He championed the team from the era of Robin Roberts and Richie Ashburn up to the present. He also enjoyed bowling, softball, occasional skiing, and visits to the Atlantic City casinos in their heyday. As a sports enthusiast and in other endeavors in life, his approach was to combine the passionate with the analytical. He stored up lasting memories from family trips to Alaska, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Disneyland and Disney World.

John’s sense of humor at times was self-deprecating. For example, he was quick to joke about how, back in Fels Junior High School, his so-so athletic skills on the basketball court won him the ironic nickname of “Wilt.” Yet later into his adult years, when he showed off slick moves on the dance floor, he was nicknamed the “Disco Duck” by the admiring crowd at the club Pulsations. It was there he met his partner Patricia (Pat) Thompson, who predeceased him in 2015.

John attended Benjamin Franklin Elementary School on Rising Sun Avenue. At his Sixth Grade graduation ceremony he received the American Legion Award. He attended Abington High School, and then went on to Michigan State University where he earned a Bachelors Degree with a major in sociology. Returning to Philadelphia, he had a long career in government service at the Navy Aviation Supply Office. He ended his work years with a brief stint as an auditor at the Internal Revenue Service, although he told anyone who would listen that he had learned more from two short-term jobs -- as a common laborer at the unionized Boulevard Baking Company and as a pizza delivery guy in Atlantic City.

John was loved and will be missed.

Relatives and friends were invited to his Graveside Service on July 1, 2019 at 11:00 A.M. at Greenmount Cemetery, 4301 North Front Street, Philadelphia. Following the Service, all were invited to a remembrance luncheon at the Country Club Restaurant located at 1717 Cottman Avenue.

Donations in John’s name may be made to the Pennsylvania SPCA, 350 E. Erie Avenue, Phila., PA 19134.

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