John James McGowan Sr.
NYC fireman, patriarch of proud loving Irish Catholic family. John James McGowan Sr. passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on Nov. 19, 2019. John was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he spent his childhood. He was the son of Austin McGowan Sr. and Grace Stillwell; a proud Irish family with deep roots. He spent summers on Staten Island visiting his family's 1900s home. He met Joan Brunnell, the love of his life, in Brooklyn in 1954 and they married on October 13 1956. They moved to the family home in Staten Island in 1959. It is in Staten Island where John and his loving family spent their lives. He started his civil service career as a NYC police officer, and retired as a proud NYC fireman. He carried that pride with him until the day he died. Poppy John, as he was affectionately known by his loving family, was always the life of the party. He spent many days with his young family fishing on the beach. Family gatherings, days at the racetrack, many many many nights at bingo. Poppy never missed a birthday, holiday or any occasion with his beautiful grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His eyes always lit up when they surrounded him. John was a proud Irish American, and that pride is still felt in his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Joan. He is survived by his daughter, Denise VanTassell and her husband, Billy; his son, John Jr.and his wife, Julie; his son, Michael; daughter, Victoria, and son, Daniel (a NYC fireman who made his Dad very proud); his seven grandchildren, Christy Minetello and her husband, Michael, the late Charles VanTassell, Deanna Tuccio and her husband, Joseph, Jonathan, Jamie Lynn, Sheena, and Jake; his seven great-grandchildren, CJ., Michael, Mathew, Christopher, Tyler, Joseph, and his little girl Emma Rose; his significant other, Lydia, whom he spent the last 20 years with, enjoying each other's company. John has over 130 nieces and nephews, and he always had a special place in his heart for them. He was the last patriarch of a very proud loving Catholic Irish family. He will be greatly missed. Funeral is from Bedell-Pizzo Funeral Home on Friday at 9:30 a.m.. Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady Help of Christians R.C. Church at 10 a.m. Cremation will be private. Friends may visit Thursday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.