Pillar of Saint Dorothy’s VIRTUS Program Passes Away

John Catalano passed away on January 6, 2017

John Catalano, a long time member of Saint Dorothy’s Church and the first coordinator for the Church’s VIRTUS program, has passed away. He died on January 6, 2017 at the age of 87 from heart failure.

Catalano was heavily involved in the church and community since moving to Glendora in 1963. Below is an obituary written by Michael Allawos, a friend of Catalano and fellow community member. The service schedule is also below.


John Catalano and his wife Anita moved to Glendora in 1963 to raise and grow their family, and enjoy our wonderful Glendora close knit community.  John was an only child, first generation Sicilian (big difference for John being Sicilian, I know being Sicilian myself). He was raised a devout Catholic in upstate New York where he attended Jesuit school and then later attended and graduated from Loyola University in Los Angeles.

An older image of John Catalano

An older image of John Catalano

John made Saint Dorothy Catholic Church his home where he was the coordinator for their Virtus program since its inception and providing training for the protection of children. John was also part of the RCIA (Right of Christian initiation for Adults), Saint Dorothy School Board and on the Finance committee for the homeless.  He also served on numerous helping organizations, mentoring and just being there for those in need including the Priests.

I was fortunate to meet John in 2008 when I was asked by Saint Dorothy’s Priest (Father John) to be the Chairman for the Oak Tree Festival for the next two years. I asked the parishioners who knows the right people to work with in our parish with over three thousand families. Everyone pointed to John. When I introduced myself to John and asked for his help he smiled and said “are you sure you want to do this”. I said “yes” and after a moment he said “I’ll help under one condition. We have to have fun doing it.”  The 2009 and 2010 Saint Dorothy’s Oak Tree Festival broke all records and the community had fun.  What I also learned shortly after meeting John was that he was my High School Principal at West Covina High and I never knew it until then. 

John and I kept office hours (had breakfast) every Tuesday morning and sometimes on Sunday with his bride Anita. We both enjoyed our visit together over oatmeal talking about business and life in general but John really valued the brain wrestling that we did, he felt it kept him young, viable and still able to learn new things. John was a great listener and taught me many things for which I am deeply grateful. We joked about his patience or lack thereof but in his own way, he had the patience of a saint.

John was one of the original staff members at West Covina High School when it first opened, teaching science and later joining the administration as Principal for 20 years. After retiring in the Fall of 1984, John continued to teach, volunteer, and encourage his students, family & friends to be the best that they can be.

John headed up the Active Blind, Inc. that supplied equipment, training and loving support for those in need who were disabled due to blindness.  In John’s early years he too dealt with vision problems until he researched (as John often did) and found a specialist that could correct his condition.

John’s faith, values, fidelity, traditions and family life gave him confidence, wisdom & love which he shared generously. In so many simple and profound ways, he enriched and affirmed others wherever he would go in only the way that John could.

In the last months of 2016, his health declined and John past gently of heart failure. We grieve the loss of his unconditional love, strong spirit, smart advice, and reassuring voice.

John was a pillar in our community and will be deeply missed.  For those of us who were fortunate enough to be John’s friend, hold on and cherish those memories so that his spirit will live on.  For me, I will miss those early mornings eating oatmeal and being with my friend.

Services will be held at St. Dorothy Catholic Church in Glendora: Rosary & remembrances on Tuesday, January 10th, 7:30 PM and Funeral Mass on Wednesday, January 11th, 10:30.” -Michael Allawos


Services for John Joseph Catalano

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

3:00 – 5:00 PM – Visitation & Viewing – Forest Lawn, Covina

7:30 PM – Rosary & Remembrances – St. Dorothy Church

This will be spiritual reflection, music, and an opportunity for people to share their thoughts & memories of Mr. Catalano.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

10:00 AM – Viewing – St. Dorothy Church Vestibule

10:30 AM – Funeral Mass – St. Dorothy Church

12:00 Noon – Luncheon – St. Dorothy Church Parish Hall

The Catalano family wishes to make it convenient & pleasant

for their guests to take a break after the service to eat lunch,

relax & visit reflecting further on all of the lives that John has

touched and all of the lives that has touched John. Everyone

is welcome to travel to the cemetery for the burial services after

the reception if they wish.

2:30 PM – Burial – Forest Lawn, Covina


The Catalano family wishes to express their thanks for the outpouring of love and support during their time of mourning.