We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Andrew K. Coffman Funeral Home, Inc.
John Nicholas Fiore went to be with his Lord and cherished wife Frances Theresa “Terry” in the early afternoon of November 6, 2021, at his residence in Hagerstown, Maryland. He is survived by his daughter, Julia Marie Fiore Suffecool, and husband Ron, his brother Peter Paul Fiore and wife, Sylvia, his chosen sister, Louise Bassi Pastore, his dearest cousin and friend Gabe Spina and wife Joan, various nephews he adored and his much-loved fur baby, Gracie. He was proceeded in death by his parents, John Peter Fiore and Anna F. Logerfo Fiore, and two brothers, Nicholas Fiore and Peter Fiore.
John was born in the Bronx, just two miles from Yankee Stadium, on June 30,1929. He was the third in a family of four boys. He attended Catholic grade and middle school and graduated from De Witt Clinton High School at the age of sixteen. Although young, he yearned to defend his country, so he lied about his age and joined the Army. He completed his tour and then focused on his education, obtaining a degree in engineering from the Northrop Institute of Technology. He then again felt the duty to serve and joined the Air Force Reserves.
In 1951, John met the love of his life, Frances Theresa “Terry” Calthas. Two years later, they were married. Terry was of Greek descent and John, Italian. In almost 63 years of marriage, they enjoyed many good-natured arguments touting their respective heritage before she passed away in 2015. John’s unconditional love for Terry was evident as he tenderly cared for her through her difficult and extended illness.
John joined North American Aviation, transferring to California, where he worked on the structural design of innovative systems. John and Terry then moved back to the east coast where he joined Fairchild Republic Aviation on Long Island. Their daughter, Julia, was born in 1964. John would tell anyone that would listen that his wife and daughter have been the most precious gifts in his life.
In 1977, when production began on the A-10 close air support aircraft, John moved his family to Hagerstown, Maryland. Here, John played a key role in the integration and testing of the A-10 aircraft. A total of 715 production aircraft were manufactured and John touched every one of them! He was extremely proud of the impact that these “Warthog” aircraft have had defending our troops, particularly in the Gulf Wars. John also ran a composite bonding lab where he experimented with many unique structural concepts while in Hagerstown.
In 1988, John transitioned to Fairchild Space & Defense in Germantown, Maryland where he became the Manager of the Mechanical Design group. He was extremely adept in solving challenging problems to keep critical satellite launches on track. In recognition of his work, John was invited to an international symposium in France where he presented some of his creative ideas. After a long and productive career, John retired for the first time, only to then join Fairchild Controls in Frederick, Maryland as their Director of Engineering, retiring a second time in 1997.
Not to sit on the sidelines too long, John began working at the Orbital facility in Dulles, Virginia, supporting the development and testing of the hydraulics system for the X-34 launch vehicle. His expertise was essential to the resolution of many difficult design challenges on the vehicle. Following that program, John was instrumental in supporting the design, development and testing activities on the GMD program, Antares rocket, OmegA launch vehicle and other space programs as needed.
While John had an incredible technical career, it is his spirit, warmth, loyalty, and vitality (and hugs) that people remember. John cared deeply for everyone and was a joy to be around. He was an avid dog lover, devoted to his faith, extremely patriotic, staunchly conservative, and a great defender of this country. He enjoyed playing pinochle with his brothers, bridge with his coworkers, Friday night poker with dear friends, and solitaire and sudoku. He loved his monthly trips to the casino and the challenge presented by blackjack and craps. He was a huge New York Yankee and New York Giants fan, rarely missing a game. He was a long-time member of Morris Frock American Legion, Post #42, and Elks Lodge #378 Hagerstown.
John had a reputation for being unstoppable, a glass-full kind of guy! He was known as the “Jack Lalanne” of Aerospace, doing over 300 pushups every morning when he was 80 years old. He played on many company and recreation league softball, basketball, bocci ball and bowling teams over the years enjoying the exercise, comradery, and competition. At the age of 89, after breaking his femur, he was back at work one month later. He commuted to Northrop Grumman near Dulles Airport to enjoy the work and people he loved so much until retiring for the last time in March of 2021 at the age of 91!
Despite all that John has accomplished, he remained a humble and kind man. He was thankful for the blessings he received, his health, his loving family and that the Lord blessed him with his amazing engineering expertise that made him so happy. Most important to him, as Frank Sinatra said, he did it “My Way”.
During John’s illness, he and the family were lovingly supported by Hospice of Washington County, and we offer thanks to all their hospice care providers especially Jamie, Caitlin, Carissa, and Chaplain Volodymyr “Volody” Grinchenko. A special thank you to Father Mike for offering last rites as requested by John. We also want to express our gratitude to our wonderful caregivers, Mary and Tiffany, who took care of both Terry and John in their time of need and will be forever considered members of the family.
The family will receive friends and family at Andrew K. Coffman Funeral Home, 40 East Antietam Street, Hagerstown, MD, on Saturday, April 2, 2022, from 12:00 PM until a memorial service begins at 2:00 PM. Military Honors will follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family desires memorial contributions in John’s name be sent to Hospice of Washington County, 747 Northern Avenue, Hagerstown, MD, 21740, www.hospiceofwc.org or to The Washington County Humane Society, 13011 Maugansville Road, Hagerstown, MD, 21740, www.hswcmd.org.
Those desiring may offer condolences to the family at www.akcoffmanfh.com