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John Prete, 93, decorated veteran, community leader, dies after being struck by a vehicle



John Prete, who has spent over 60 years as a community and civic leader in Hornell passed away Friday after being stuck be a car while he was out on a walk.

Prete, who died from the injuries at Strong Memorial Hospital, was 93. The driver was ticketed for failure to take due care with a pedestrian in the roadway. The investigation is ongoing.

John graduated from Hornell in 1947 where he first learned the rewards of hard work. During high school he was employed by the Erie Railroad, Things Show Store and Jacob Bros. in Hornell. He worked for Westinghouse in Bath while in college.

Prete attended St. Bonaventure University and University of Illinois.

His decorated military career began in 1950 with the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict. He received the National Defense Service Medal as well as the Good Conduct Medal while serving during the war.

Also during his military career, he majored in Surgical Technology at Brooke Medical School at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He was honorably discharged in 1954.

Prete was known in Hornell but across the state for his work with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) in Hornell for 39 years. He retire as a Senior Right of Way Agent in the Real Estate Division.

Family was most important to him.

In 1959, John married Patricia Stisser at Immaculate Conception Church in Wellsville and they have been married 63 years.

The couple has six children, Jean Prete of Hornell, Christine (Dave) Prete-Freeland of Vestal, Karen (Jim) Carney of Hornell, Jon Prete (Andrew McSherry) of Edinboro, Scotland, Deborah (Kevin) Smith of Hornell and David (Jodi) Prete of Canisteo as well as 16 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

John also has two brothers, Francis (Cecilia) Prete of San Francisco and George Prete of Arkport as well as two brothers-in-law, Gerry Stisser of Wellsville and Lee (Christine) Stisser of Florida.

He was a staple at sporting events and performances his children and grandchildren took part in. He also found time to balance his civic work and family time as he trained to be a pilot. The only time he rested was to watch the Buffalo Bills or New York Mets. He also enjoyed the fellowship of being an avid golfer and was a member of Twin Hickory Golf Course in Hornell

When you talk about Hornell being a great place to live, it’s because of people like John. Many children over the decades learned moral excellence in character as well as devotion to faith as he served as a principal and instructor for the CCD Religious Education Program and attended the Perpetual Adoration Chapel.

John was an active member of Our Lady of the Valley Parish and a devout communicant of St. Ann’s Church in Hornell, where he also served as an usher.

Prete was a life member of the Arthur H. Cunningham American Legion Post No. 440 in Hornell, a Fourth Degree member of Hornell Council No. 243, Knights of Columbus and a member of the Carducci Lodge Sons of Italy in Hornell.

Calling hours will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday at the Bishop-Johnson & DeSanto Funeral Home, 285 Main St., Hornell.

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Ann’s Church on 31 Erie Ave. in Hornell. Burial with military honors will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Freemont.

The family is asking, in lieu of flowers, to contribute to St. Ann’s Church of Our Lady of the Valley Parish, 27 Erie Ave., Hornell, NY 14843, Care, First Hospice, 3805 Meads Creek Road, Painted Post, NY 14870 or to Hornell Special Olympics, in care of Amber Kossow, 120 Red Raider Road, Hornell, NY 14843.

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