John Von Bargen – Oct. 28

“Big” John Von Bargen, former recreation superintendent for the Town of Pelham and safety monitor at Pelham Memorial High School and Pelham Middle School, passed away peacefully on October 28, 2019 at age 80 in the comfort of his home. He was born June 11, 1939. He lived most of his life in his favorite hometown of Mt. Vernon, NY, with his dear wife, the love of his life. He was a dedicated loving husband, dutiful son and nurturing uncle. His kindness, interest in people and love of life touched everyone who knew him.

John was an all-American gifted athlete in high school. He became the fourth basketball player recruited by the legendary Al McGuire to join the Abbey Sports Hall of Fame in 2015, following his inauguration in the town of Belmont NC Hall of Fame. Regarding Belmont Abbey, Von Bargen said, “I was one of four New Yorkers to go there. We all got homesick and I was the last one to come home. It ended up helping me make the best decision I ever made.” A 6-foot-11 center, John Von Bargen joined forces with eventual NBA players and Belmont Abbey Hall of Famers Danny Doyle and Joe McDermott to make the Belmont Abbey Crusaders a small college power. In his four seasons in the program, he scored 826 points and 1,188 rebounds in 93 games for a team that went 81-16 with four NAIA national tournament appearances.

After his successful stint with Belmont Abbey, he returned to Mt. Vernon to take care his newly widowed mother. He served as Superintendent of Recreation for the town of Pelham, NY for over 30 years. He was a referee for high school games throughout Westchester County. After retiring from his Superintendent role, he continued to serve in Pelham High School, working with students, attending their games, and encouraging them to attend college.

John loved good food and good restaurants. It seemed as if every maitre d’ knew him and offered him the best seat and service. When you dined with John Von Bargen, you felt like you were dining with a celebrity because of his understated charisma, winning smile and sparkling eyes. He knew that the secret of being loved was to love. His generosity was as looming as his stature. He leaves behind his beloved wife of 53 years, Diane Von Bargen, also a Mt. Vernon native, and many nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews.

The Wake will be at the Yannantuono Burr Davis Sharpe Funeral Home, 584 Gramatan Ave, Mt. Vernon on Oct 30 from 4-8pm. Mass will be held Oct 31 at 10am at St. Peter & Paul and St. Ursula Church, 129 E. Birch St. Mt. Vernon, NY. He will be buried at Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla.

Editor’s note: This obituary was provided by Yannantuono Burr Davis Sharpe Funeral Home.