John Litwinowich, 96: Loving father and grandfather, veteran

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Zenon “John” Litwinowich, 96, of Portland, died Jan. 15 at the Skilled Care Center at The Cedars in Portland.

Litwinowich was born Aug. 5, 1916, in Winslow to Zenon and Sonia Litwinowich and was a longtime resident of North Deering.

He attended the Massachusetts Radio School in Boston in 1935, where he received his radio broadcast license. While in Boston, he enjoyed roller skating to and from work and school, wearing out his skates every few weeks.

He spent a year after radio school in the United States Naval Reserve and another year on active duty on the USS Arkansas, stationed in Cuba. He returned to Maine in 1941 to work as a radio technician at WRDO in Augusta.

Litwinowich met his future wife, Ada Margeret Pacelt, at the Island Park Band Stand on Lake Cobboseecontee in Manchester, where they fell in love dancing to the song “Moonlight Bay.” The couple married Apr. 25, 1941, at St. Joseph’s Church in Gardiner.

Litwinowich soon reenlisted in the Naval Reserve and was stationed in Portsmouth, N.H. A week before Christmas, 1943, he shipped out to the Philippines, where he served as chief radioman on the island of Emirau until 1945.

He returned to Maine again in 1945, working first at WRDO and then at Central Maine Power, where he worked as a radio technician for 28 years.

With his wife Ada he raised three children, Janet, John and Michael, in Gardiner, where the family lived until 1968. Ada died in 1965.

Litwinowich married Blanche Duprey Johnston, of Portland, in 1968 and together they filled the roles of “grampy” and “grammy” to his seven grandchildren and her six grandchildren. The couple were active members of the Round Squares Square Dancing Club in Portland for more than 30 years and enjoyed traveling and visiting friends around the country into their eighties.

After Blanche’s death in 2005, Litwinowich relocated to The Woods at Canco Independent Senior Living Community, maintaining his independence and establishing a new life with the help of his dear friends Norm and Letha Pease.

Litwinowich was predeceased by his two sisters, Val LaMontagne and Rose Poulin. He is survived by his daughter, Janet McDaid, and her husband, Edward McDaid of San Diego, Calif., and their two children, Michael and Ashley, two sons, John Litwinowich, his wife, Clarice McDonald of Cambridge, Mass., and their children Jennifer Litwinowich, Sybil Wilen, Duane McDonald, Marty McDonald, and Michelle Ramos, and Michael Litwinowich of Redondo Beach, Calif.,  and 10 great-grandchildren.

Visitation was held Jan. 19, at Conroy-Tully Crawford Funeral Home, 172 State St., Portland, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Pius X Church, 492 Ocean Ave., Portland. Burial will be in the spring at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Gardiner. The family will have a private remembrance for Litwinowich on the top of Mt. Washington this summer.