Cover photo for John P. Kazmaier's Obituary
John P. Kazmaier Profile Photo
1942 John 2017

John P. Kazmaier

June 12, 1942 — January 9, 2017

John Patterson Kazmaier, 74, Hollidaysburg, passed away on Monday, January 9, 2017.

He was born in Altoona, son of the late Jack Kemp Kazmaier and Jane Patterson Kazmaier.  He was the stepson of T. Dean Lower.  John married Deedra (Dede) Mauk on June 22, 1968.

Surviving are his wife; a son, Christopher Mauk Kazmaier and his wife, Jessica (Price) of Mechanicsburg, PA; and a sister, Diana J. Kazmaier and her husband, George Foord of Newton, Ma.

John was educated at Baker Elementary School, Roosevelt Junior High School, Altoona High School ‘60, and Valley Forge Military Junior College.  He attended Penn State, as well as a number of banking schools.  As a proud patriot, he served in the US Army in Vietnam.

John was employed as an executive for 35 years at the former Mid-State, then Keystone Financial Bank.  After his banking career, he worked for The Allegheny Heritage Development Corporation.

Civic pride led to John’s active involvement in many organizations, including supporting his high school alma mater and Penn State.

John spearheaded the campaign to have Connecticut based sculptor Heinz Warneke create the Altoona Mountain Lion statue.  He helped to organize the Altoona Area School District Foundation, participating on that board for many years after serving as the organization’s first president.

For over 30 years, John was on the Penn State Altoona Advisory Board, and his strong convictions about the revitalization of downtown Altoona were instrumental in promoting the growing downtown PSU Altoona campus.  His idea of paradise was “to see a renewed and prosperous in-town Altoona.”  The Kazmaier Family Building that houses the Office of Development and Alumni Relations is part of that dream.

For their philanthropic support, his family was inducted into the Platinum category of Penn State Altoona’s Ivyside Society, the highest level of recognition.  In 2008, John received a Penn State Altoona Honorary Alumni Award.

Dede and John Kazmaier are members of PSU’s Mount Nittany Society.  In 2015, John received a Distinguished Honorary Alumnus Award from Penn State University Park for his significant contributions to the “welfare, reputation, and prestige” of the university.

John’s love of and commitment to his hometown have been evident in his tireless efforts to be involved in multiple other community initiatives.

Altoona has Hustle was an Altoona Chamber of Commerce project when John served as president.  He also served on the PA State Chamber of Commerce Board, the PA Transportation Commission, and GAEDC (Greater Altoona Economic Development Corporation) as head of the strategic planning committee.  John helped found the Central Pennsylvania Community Foundation and was serving as the organization’s current chairman.  He was made a Blair County Fellow by this group and also given a philanthropy award as a token of appreciation for his service and leadership.

John won a National Banking Award, and received a Presidential Citation in the Rose Garden from President Ronald Reagan for his economic development efforts for the Moshannon Valley Chamber of Commerce.

John was an avid supporter of the arts.  He assisted the Mishler Theatre seat campaign committee, which helped to preserve that cultural landmark.  He was instrumental in bringing the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art branch location to Altoona, and he served on SAMA’s Board at Saint Francis College for 18 years.  SAMA honored him with an award for outstanding service to the arts.

Various community clubs were an important part of John’s outreach.  He prided himself on a perfect attendance record for many years at the Rotary Club of Altoona, where he served a term as president.  He very much enjoyed visiting Rotary clubs in other countries, as Dede and he loved their many opportunities to travel the world.  John was a Paul Harris Fellow in this organization.  At one time, John was active in the Jaycees in State College and he was awarded the Kiwanis Club of Altoona Distinguished Citizen Award in 2008.

Paying attention to everything connected to Altoona was on John’s radar screen, planes and trains included.  He was on the Altoona Blair County Airport Authority Board and Chair of the Board of the Railroaders Museum Development Corporation, which founded the museum in order to properly celebrate Altoona’s rich railroad history and spearheaded major fundraising efforts to support it.
He thrived on coming up with ideas to promote and enhance the experience of living in the Altoona area.  He was Chairman of Altoona’s Sesquicentennial Committee. Mid-State Bank’s Have a Rosy Day slogan was John’s creation, and the mission to erect the Gospel Hill flag was a source of intense pride.  As President of the Board of the Cancer Society, his concept of Daffodil Days was a popular idea that went state-wide.  He received recognition as an outstanding volunteer from that group.  John persevered through ups and downs to save and preserve the oldest wooden roller coaster in the country, Lakemont Park’s Leap-the-Dips.

John was a longtime member of Zion Lutheran Church. He was a third generation member of the Spruce Creek Rod and Gun Club, as well as a member of the Ancient Gastronomic Order of Rattling Reptiles. He was a founding member of the Blairmont Club.

On a personal level, hobbies through the years have included a love of travel, jogging, golf, and reading.  John always was a people person and particularly valued a group of close friends from childhood called PALS.

In answering a series of interview questions for a 1987 Altoona Mirror “Sunday Spotlight” feature article, John was asked how he would like his personal epitaph to read.  His response was, “He tried to make things happen for Altoona!”  Those who know him best realize that John’s hometown never had a more dedicated, enthusiastic native son.

Friends will be received from 2 to 8 pm on Friday, January 13, 2017, at The Stevens Mortuary, Inc., 1421, Altoona, PA 16602 and from 10 until an 11am funeral service, Saturday, January 14, 2017 at Zion Lutheran Church, 500 Allegheny Street, Hollidaysburg.  The Reverend Greg Harbaugh will conduct the celebration of John’s life.  Interment will be at Alto Reste Cemetery.

For those choosing to send a memorial contribution, the family would appreciate support of The Penn State Altoona Fund or the Gospel Hill Flag Fund at the Central Pennsylvania Community Foundation, the Altoona Area School District Foundation, or Zion Lutheran Church, Hollidaysburg.

Arrangements are by Mauk and Yates Funeral Home and The Stevens Mortuary, Inc.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John P. Kazmaier, please visit our flower store.


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