John Jankowski, witty and charitable

Posted: January 04, 2011

JOHN JANKOWSKI, a former Philadelphia police officer and Army veteran who operated a truck-spring business in Bridesburg for 35 years, died Dec. 29 of complications of diabetes. He was 76 and lived in Torresdale.

John had four daughters and was famous in his family for his devotion to them and his five grandchildren, a duty he carried out with both love and wit.

"He was very witty," said one of those daughters, Patricia Haeber. "He was fun to be around."

John was born in Philadelphia to John and Martha Jankowski. He attended Frankford High School and graduated from Edison High School.

He served stateside in the Army, and after his discharge joined the Police Department. He was assigned to the Front and Westmoreland streets station, in North Philadelphia.

But when his father died, John left the police force to take over Standard Auto Springs, founded by his father. It manufactured and installed springs in vehicles, mostly trucks. He retired in 1990.

He married the former Maureen Quinn in 1961. She died in 2002.

"He was a laid-back, funny guy," his daughter said. "He was a wonderful father and a wonderful friend. He cherished his grandchildren, who called him 'Pop-Pop.' "

John was a man of simple pleasures. He enjoyed hanging out with his longtime friends, and chilling out in Avalon, where he did a little crabbing, but mostly just relaxed.

One of his longtime friends was Ron Fritz, who had known him since ninth grade at Frankford High.

"He was proud of being Polish," Fritz said. "He used to bring me kielbasa.

"He liked to hang out with old friends. We stuck together through the years and would take our vacations together. We'd have lunch every couple of months. He was a jolly guy."

John was also devoted to his church, St. Katherine of Siena, at Frankford Avenue and Primrose Road, his daughter said.

"He was very generous," she said. "He always gave to the church and Catholic Charities."

Besides his daughter, he is survived by three other daughters - Megan Jankowski, Rosemary Magazzo and Jennifer Fagan - and his five grandchildren.

Services: Funeral Mass 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Katherine's. Friends may call at 6 p.m. tomorrow at Burns Funeral Home, 9708 Frankford Ave. Burial will be in Our Lady of Grace Cemetery, Langhorne.

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