John J. Viola, 93, Waverly, died Friday at Geisinger Community Medical Center. He was the husband of Olga L. Gammaitoni. The couple celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary on Sept. 6.
Born Oct. 20, 1927, in Dunmore, he was the son of the late Joseph and Angeline (Turso) Viola. He was educated in the Dunmore schools. He honorably served his country in the United States Navy during World War II, having been awarded medals for his good conduct.
John received his B.A. in sociology from the University of Scranton and earned his MSW from Fordham University, New York, N.Y.
John began his lifelong professional career in the mental health field in the Clarks Summit State Hospital outpatient program. He later was county administrator for Luzerne-Wyoming Counties MH/MR. He was the author of a federal grant that secured funding for the Luzerne-Wyoming County Mental Health Center. Upon the grant's approval, he became the executive director of the program. In 1978, he returned to Lackawanna County to become the executive director of the Scranton Counseling Center, a position he proudly held until retirement in 1993. He was a professor in the Human Services Department at the University of Scranton for several years. He will always be membered for his leadership skills and outstanding contribution to the mental health systems he served.
He was a member of the Church of St. Gregory, Clarks Green. Active in the community, he was a member of professional boards including Pennsylvania Community Providers Organization, Scranton Counseling Center Board and St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen.
John was devoted to his faith, family, and professional community, giving 100% in all he did.
Surviving are a son, John J. Viola, M.D., and his wife, Cindi, Stuart, Fla.: two daughters, Marian Viola Berns and her husband, Dennis, Milford, and Joanne Viola, Clarks Green; a grandson, J. Alex Viola and two granddaughters, Allison Turner and her husband, Jim, and Katherine Viola, two great grandchildren. Also surviving are three brothers, Dominic and wife, Andrea, Florida, James, Dunmore, and Joseph and wife, Joie, Dunmore; a sister, Ann Viola Clement and husband, Bill, Dunmore; nieces and nephews.
Preceded in death are a brother, Michael; a sister, Connie Rothenberger; brother-in-law, Jack Rothenberger; and a sister-in-law, Elisabeth Viola.
The funeral will be Wednesday from Church of St. Gregory, 330 N. Abington Road, Clarks Green, with Mass at 10 a.m. to be celebrated by the Rev. John M. Lapera, pastor, with military honors. Interment will be private at a later date, Hickory Grove Cemetery. The family will receive friends Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Jennings-Calvey Funeral and Cremation Service Inc., 111 Colburn Ave., Clarks Summit, PA 18411.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen, 500 Penn Ave., Scranton, PA 18509.
For directions or to leave an online condolence, visit the funeral home website.
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St. Francis of Assisi Soup Kitchen
500 Penn Ave, Scranton PA 18503