Walter John Gregonis

Published 5:08 pm Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Walter John Gregonis was born May 2, 1922 in Shenandoah, Pa. Fervently dedicated to family, he was the son of

Walter John Gregonis

Michael and Mary Gregonis, originally of Vilnius, Lithuania. Accepted to University of Pennsylvania on a football scholarship, he qualified for admission to the Wharton School of Business.
In his third year, during which time he became “the sweetest end to ever snag a pigskin on Franklin Field,” the Army called him up from the enlisted reserves for active duty in WWII. After several months of officer training at Louisiana State University and playing tight end for LSU, then the Army team, all the men in this program were assigned to the 99th Infantry Division.
The division was shipped to France in September 1944 and engaged in heavy combat in the Battle of the Bulge and received the Bronze Star Medal. Remained in Germany after the war to organize athletic programs for the occupation forces until 1946, then returned to the Wharton School and graduated with honors in 1948. General Motors hired him for the executive training program at the Wilmington, Del, assembly plant. Concurrently, he played semi-professional football for the Wilmington Clippers.
He met his future wife, Jean Anna Hubert of Wilmington, while they played at a GM softball game. They married on September 15, 1951. A promotion in 1953 took the couple to the GM plant in Linden, N.J., and during their residency in Metuchen their four daughters were born. Subsequent promotions took the family to plants in Southgate, Calif.; Norwood, Ohio and Baltimore, Md., where he retired as plant manager in 1986 after 37 years of service to GM. The couple moved to Orlando, Fla. in 2010, then Columbus in 2011.
Gregonis received a National Alliance of Businessmen Citation from President Carter in 1980. He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1979 and was an active member of Lions Club, Knights of Columbus and St. Margaret Parish of Bel Air, Md.
He and Jean attended numerous Army and 99th Division reunions across the country. Their love of travel took them to every state in the Union, Canada, Europe, Central and South America.
He was preceded in death by parents; two brothers, Louis and Mitchell; two sisters, Helen Chesla and Mary Witkowski. He is survived by wife of 60 years, Jean; sister, Bernice Stefanowicz; daughter, Jane Louise Rice; daughter, Vicki Jean and husband, Bob Leibfried; daughter, Kristine Gregonis and husband, Hans Hahne; daughter, Judith Mary and husband, Glenn McDonald; seven grandchildren; one great grandchild.
A memorial service will be held on April 14, 2012 at 10 a.m. at St. Margaret Parish, 141 N. Hickory Ave, Bel Air, Md. In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to VFW ( or Bel Air Lions Club (
An online guest register may be signed at,
McFarland Funeral Chapel, Tryon.

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