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John J. Cerro

Jan. 11, 1927 - June 13, 2018

John J. Cerro, 91, formerly of Altoona, passed away at his daughter’s home in Virginia on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.

He was born in Altoona, son of the late Luigi and Mary (Fulgaro) Cerro.

Surviving are two daughters: Yolanda Levy of Bellwood and Victoria (Domenic) Savini in Virginia; a son, Frank D. (Suzanne) Cerro in Utah; nine grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; two sisters: Caroline (Anthony) Roberts and Phyllis Ciavarella; and his dear friend and brother in Christ, John Lorrichio.

He will be joining his beloved wife Josephine (Raia) who passed away on Aug. 23, 2013. He was also preceded in death by his beloved son and friend, John L. Cerro; his dear sister, Elaine Klemick; and his dear brother, Michael Ciavarella.

As a young man, John served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He was stationed in Germany, where he studied opera and took voice lessons. Despite an offer to pursue a career in Europe, he returned state-side, where he continued vocal training with an instructor in New York and was sought after for his beautifully powered yet gentle and sweet tenor voice, which charmed audiences in many local operas, on radio and church choirs.

His work career included a brief stint making ice cream with Sealtest and then working until retirement as a rail inspector for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Both of these jobs help describe his inner character: He was a very sweet man always looking to bring a smile to one’s face and always willing to help people carry their load in life. His colleagues referred to him as one of the best “high and wide” specialists on the railroad. John will be sorely missed for being that expert who could help people move the most difficult “loads” in life to their final destination, reminiscent of

1 Peter 5:7 and Matthew 11:29-30.

Later in life, in addition to being a member of the American Legion A&J Iaia Post 827, John’s ministry included serving the homeless as a regional representative and being the local chapter president of the local Full Gospel Businessman’s Association, Newark, N.J. He organized many prayer breakfasts and, in his home, he led weekly Bible studies that emphasized “thankfulness unto the Lord” and always included song led and accompanied by his sweet smile and beautiful, comforting voice.

“We will miss you, Dad — you never realized how important you were to so many people. Thank you for giving this world so much more than you ever took from it.”

Friends will be received from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 22, 2018, at Santella Funeral Home, Altoona, where a vigil for the deceased will be held. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 23, 2018, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Altoona. Committal will be at Calvary Cemetery, Altoona.

Donations in memory of John may be made to American Heart Association, 501 Howard Ave., Suite D101, Altoona PA 16601, or to American Kidney Fund, 11921 Rockville Pike, Suite 300, Rockville, MD 20852.