- About Us
John "Jack" HontzMarch 24, 1960 ~ June 23, 2017 (age 57)
“Jack” Hontz, music educator, church member and community servant, died suddenly on Friday, June 23, 2017. He was 57 years old. Through his music, education, church, sports and community service, Jack was given the rare opportunity to touch thousands of young lives.
Jack was a zealous music educator. A 1978 graduate of Newton High School in Newton, New Jersey, where his father was his high school music director, Jack earned his B.A. (Music Education) and M.A. (Music Performance) from West Chester University. In 1983, the then-newly-formed Wallingford-Swarthmore School District employed Jack to form Strath Haven High School’s new instrumental department and serve as Department Chair for the Fine Arts. For the past 34 years, Jack enthusiastically grew the Strath Haven High School bands and orchestra, touching the lives of generations of students. The accomplishments of his individual students and the musical ensembles he was privileged to direct, including the enormous, over-400-member Strath Haven High School Marching Band, were a constant source of pride. For nearly 30 years, Jack also served as the Musical Advisor to the Princeton University Band, which he enjoyed enormously. Jack was also the conductor of the Chester County Concert Band for 22 years.
Jack gave back to his music education profession by mentoring generations of student teachers from West Chester University and Temple University. West Chester University honored Jack in 2016 with its Distinguished Music Alumnus Award. Jack was active in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, serving as District 12 President, and enjoyed attending and hosting many music festivals. To the day of his death, in the midst of the summer band program, Jack was grateful to the school system he served, and to his career-long professional colleagues Henry Pearlberg and John Shankweiler, the staff and administration which gave him the opportunity to do what he loved every day.
Jack was a skilled and inspiring coach. His 15 years of volunteer service to the Great Valley Little League, as assistant coach, coach and as President, gave him the opportunity to employ his keen eye for sports strategy and his instinctive teaching skills to encourage his players. His coaching of the 2014 All-Star Senior League Team, which included his youngest son, to the Pennsylvania State Championship, was a cherished memory. He was a devoted fan of the New York Yankees from his childhood visits to Yankee Stadium, Penn State football, West Chester University sports, Princeton University football and basketball and Strath Haven football.
Jack was a life-long, faithful servant of the United Methodist Church. He and his family are active members of Grove United Methodist Church in West Chester, where he was able to share his music and assist in worship.
Jack was an active community servant and volunteer. He was a member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Media. His musical ensembles gave their best efforts and energy into promoting community fellowship, local events and parades.
Jack was an extraordinary friend. His gregarious personality sought out, made and nurtured fierce friendships in every situation. He loved sports, music and food in equally-unbounded measure. He cherished his extended family vacations in Vermont and found inner peace on the golf course, where, in the midst of a delightful round with his oldest son last Friday, his heart suddenly gave out.
Jack was devoted to his family. He worked energetically with his beloved wife of 28 years, Cindy, in raising four children: Jack (25), David (22), Matthew (19) and Emily (16). All four children were active young athletes, church members, and All-State high school musicians. Jack is survived by his loving and proud parents, Jack and Elizabeth Hontz, both retired teachers, of Newton, New Jersey. Jack is also survived by his two brothers: David Hontz and his wife Donna and children Kelly and Samuel; and Mark Hontz and his wife, Stephanie and children Nathaniel, Thomas and Susanna all of Newton, New Jersey. His many nieces and nephews will miss the commandingly benevolent presence of their uncle.
Relatives and friends are invited to his visitation at the Strath Haven High School’s George H. Slick Auditorium, 205 S Providence Rd, Wallingford, PA, on Friday, June 30, 2017 from 1p.m. through 6 p.m. A memorial service will be held at the Grove United Methodist Church, 490 Boot Road, West Chester on Saturday, July 1, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, the Hontz Family asks that friends consider making a contribution to the Hontz Family Education Fund.C/O Bryn Mawr Trust 849 Paoli Pike West Chester PA 19380
Arrangements by DellaVechia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home, Inc. West Chester 610-696-1181 www.DellaFH.com