Mr. John William Ronemus

December 16, 1940 ~ August 7, 2021 (age 80)

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of Kunkletown passed into eternal rest on August 7th, 2021. John was born in Coaldale, Pennsylvania, and was preceded in death by his parents, William Maurer Ronemus and Geraldine (Kropp) Ronemus.

John Ronemus grew up in Lehighton and graduated from Lehighton High School in 1958. He was the first in his family to attend and complete college.  John attended Pennsylvania State University where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics in Secondary Education in 1963.  At Penn State he was a member of the men’s Track and Field Team where he ran the 440, becoming a member of the Varsity S club. He was also a member of Delta Chi fraternity. While attending college, he participated in the United States Air Force ROTC program and earned his pilot’s license.

Upon graduation from Penn State, John was commissioned as a second lieutenant and proceeded to flight school in Texas where he was assigned to Military Airlift Command. He served in the USAF from 1963 to 1967, completing several tours flying transports in the South Pacific and later attending fighter training for the F-105 Thunderchief. During a holiday leave, and through the matchmaking efforts of his aunt, John met the love of his life, Joanne Mackereth.  John and Joanne were married in July of 1966.  After being honorably discharged from the USAF in 1967 with the rank of Captain, John accepted a commercial pilot position with Eastern Airlines. For the next 23 years, he flew nearly all of Eastern’s aircraft, his favorite being the Boeing 727. John’s skill as a pilot was held in high regard among his colleagues, particularly his prowess at landing in challenging weather conditions. Passengers often noted when disembarking that they were not even aware the plane had landed until John’s voice came over the intercom informing them of the plane’s arrival, a compliment he never grew tired of receiving.

The highlight of John’s career was in 1996 when he became the chief pilot for Madison Square Garden.  John’s cool demeanor and expertise made him a favorite of professional athletes and musicians, many of whom credited him with helping them overcome their fear of flying. He had a unique ability to ease their anxiety, often inviting them up to the cockpit and explaining the plane’s avionics in a straightforward manner that let them know they were in the hands of a consummate professional. 

John was a Penn State football season ticket holder for half a century. His encyclopedic knowledge of Penn State sports was legendary and one of the happiest moments in his life took place when he was in Tempe, Arizona to witness an undefeated Penn State football team defeat the University of Miami in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl. He was a diehard New York Yankees fan and an active tennis player with lifelong friends at the former Allentown Racquetball & Fitness Club. He and his doubles partner and best friend, the late Dr. Howard M. Cyr, Jr. of Palmerton, were perennial competitors in many local tennis tournaments where they routinely defeated players half their age.

John is survived by his loving wife, Joanne (Mackereth) Ronemus, with whom he recently celebrated 55 years of marriage. He is also survived by four children, David Ronemus (Susan) of Carversville, PA, Michael Ronemus of Rockville Centre, NY, Andrew Ronemus (Anna) of Farmville, VA, and Anne Binkley (Timothy) of Salisbury, MD, and 12 grandchildren, Alex and Elena Ronemus, Martin, Silvia, and Daniel Ronemus, and Brynn, Braden, Brielle, Brenna, Bryce, Bridget, and Braxton Binkley, as well as his cherished cat Zoey. Funeral Services will be held on Thursday, August 12th at 1 p.m. at The Ovsak FH, 190 S. 4th St., Lehighton with Mr. Ron Rice officiating. Call 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Interment in Christ Lutheran Memorial Park, Jim Thorpe with full Military Honors under the direction of the Lehighton Area UVO. Memorial Contributions in his honor may be made to Disabled American Veterans, ATTN: Gift Processing, PO Box 14301, Cincinnati, Ohio 45250-0301. 

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