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Old 06-14-2009, 12:54 AM
GyBill GyBill is offline
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John L. Vengien, 90, Plymouth, PA

John L. Vengien, 90, of Plymouth, died Tuesday, June 9, 2009, in Hospice Community Care, Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre.

He was the son of the late Stanley and Mary Ryzner Wengyn.

John was a graduate of Ward P. Davenport High School, Plymouth, in 1937.

He proudly served in the Marine Corps as a field music sergeant and bugler of the Drum and Bugle Corps in Washington, D.C., in peace time and war time. During World War II, he served overseas with the Amphibious Duck Co., Third Division; in Guam, Saipan, Kyushu Island and Nagaski, Japan.

John was put in charge of the Drum and Bugle Corps and participated with the U.S. Marine Band in two presidential inaugurations of the late Franklin D. Roosevelt.

As a Marine bugler, he played many taps at Arlington Cemetery.

John was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Medal, Pacific Theater Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign and Occupation Service Medals.

Following military service, he worked in the coal mines for five years, then for two years with the Pennsylvania Railroad Steam Engines. He was employed by the Veterans Administration Medical Center for 23 years as a nursing assistant, retiring in 1975.

While employed by the VA Medical Center, John was awarded "Man of the Month" for designing a safety device for low beds to prevent falling. He was also a member of the Veterans Administration Hospital Softball Team.

He was very active in community affairs and was manager of the Teener's Baseball League for more than 20 years. He helped to build the Teener's Baseball Field. His famous quote was "A dugout instead of a hangout."

In 1971, John promoted the First Anthracite College Football in Wyoming Valley which was approved by the NCAA.

He was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Shawnee Post 1425 and American Legion Post 463 who honored him as bugler.

John was an assistant manager for the American Legion Baseball, also an assistant baseball coach for St. Vincent's High School.

He enjoyed sports, music and gardening.

John was also a member of Plymouth Historical Society, Plymouth Public Library, Plymouth Lions Club and a member of Huber Breaker Preservation Society.

From his own experiences as a miner, his greatest legacy was to build a Coal Miners Monument honoring all coal miners who gave their lives and sacrificed so much to provide fuel for our growing nation. As chairman, he organized a committee and with hard work and dedication raised funds to erect the Coal Miners Monument which was dedicated in Plymouth, 1987.

John composed a song, "The Coal Miners Legend," accompanied by his son-in-law, Ken Marion, who played the guitar. The song secured a copyright.

Since 1986, he had been actively pursuing a coal miners' postage stamp. He and two members of his stamp committee traveled to Washington, D.C., to deliver to the U.S. Stamp Committee signed petitions of more than several thousand signatures, and still remains under consideration.

John was featured in the brochure Outlook, published by the Times Leader in April 2001 regarding the coal miners monument and the coal miners' postage stamp. He was invited by various schools and organizations to make presentations on the history of coal mining.

He was preceded in death by his sisters, Viola Bongiovanni, Agnes Balukonis, Stella Bradley, Evelyn Karwoski and Marcella Mularczyk; his brothers, Raymond Wengrsen and Fred Wengrsen; niece, Irene Schoppaul.

John is survived by his wife of 60 years, Julia Kanapka Vengien; daughter, Teresa Marion and her husband, Kenneth Marion; grandson, V. Kenneth Marion of New York; his dedicated nieces and nephews and their children.

He will be remembered as a devoted, caring husband, father and grandfather. He will be deeply missed.

John was a faithful member of All Saints Parish, formerly, St. Mary's Nativity Church, Plymouth, also a member of the Ushers Club for 30 years.

As a volunteer, he planted shrubbery and flowers at the church grounds.

During the 1972 flood, John helped restore St. Mary's School basement to have Sunday services.

Funeral services will be held Saturday at 10:30 a.m. from S.J. Grontkowski Funeral Home, 530 W. Main St., Plymouth, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. in All Saints Parish, 66 Willow St., Plymouth. Interment will be in St. Mary's Nativity Cemetery, Plymouth Township. Visitation will be Friday, 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to All Saints Parish, 66 Willow St., Plymouth, PA 18651; Plymouth Historical Society, 115 Gaylord Ave., Plymouth, PA 18651, or Plymouth Public Library, 107 W. Main St., Plymouth, PA 18651.

Please visit for additional information, directions or to submit an online condolence to John's family.

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