Remembering June

By Lucia Isenberg, Tyrone Area High School

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Everyone in Tyrone knew him as June. Most people didn’t even know his last name. But everyone recognized his friendly face. Unfortunately beloved citizen John “June” Wolford Ott III passed away on Sunday, September 29th from complications following open-heart surgery.

The Tyrone community is somber as citizens remember the sweet, warm-hearted friend.

June enjoyed riding around town on his bicycle and would often stop in local shops to share a smile.

Rarely could he be found without a sweet tea in his hand. June also liked to talk about his bowling, volleyball, and basketball achievements in Special Olympics.

To Tyrone natives, it is a strange feeling to be downtown and not see June ride by on his bike.

Local businessmen and Tyrone Councilmen David Snyder grew up with June and fondly remembered the time they spent together. It wasn’t until after his passing that Snyder realized June didn’t actually live near him and his brother.

“Ultimately, June would become a large part of [my brother and I’s] childhood…He embodied home for us,” said Snyder.

Snyder and the rest of the Tyrone community are deeply saddened by his loss but are finding similarities in their relationships with June.

“The more we talk about this, the more we grieve and connect with each other over the loss. [We find that] everybody had the same experience. Which was just good. It speaks so much of his character,” said Snyder.

The more we talk about this, the more we grieve and connect with each other over the loss. [We find that] Everybody had the same experience. Which was just good. It speaks so much of his character”

— Councilman David Snyder

On Sundays, June would volunteer as an usher at the Wesley United Methodist Church, of which he was a member his entire life.

Wesley Pastor Tina Hawkins said June’s smile and sweet disposition will be the qualities missed most about him.

“He showed all of us what it means to love and care for all people,” said Hawkins.

June would often stop in Gardner’s Candy and Ice Cream Parlor almost daily to talk to the workers.

Employee Trinity Fink looked back fondly upon the times June would stop into the parlor while she was working.

“It was always nice to see June. He always spoke about how excited he was to bowl. He would tell me about how he went with his nieces and nephews once and even remembered their scores. He truly was one of a kind,” said Fink.

June leaves behind his mother Georgeanna (Keller) Ott, sister Susan Ott, sister Debbie Ott, brother and sister-in-law Dwayne and Barbra Ott, five nieces and nephews, and eight great-nieces and nephews.

In remembrance of June and his family, Snyder called for the community to live by the quote, “Remember to look up and engage with people because that’s life.”

This quote embodied June as he stopped in shops and conversed with people all over Tyrone without being distracted by his phone. June always made an attempt to connect with others and will greatly be missed by the Tyrone community.

The Special Olympics (SOPA Blair Co., P.O. Box 648, Altoona, PA, 16603) is accepting contributions in June’s honor.

This story was originally published on Tyrone Eagle Eye News on October 7, 2019.