Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

John Lonchar Jr.

BERGLAND, Mich. — John Lonchar Jr. passed away at the age of 71 on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019.

Johnny was born on Oct. 22, 1947, in Detroit to John and Phyllis (Finazzo) Lonchar. The family relocated to the Upper Peninsula after Johnny graduated high school. Johnny worked in the family business at the Salt Lick Inn, and at the White Pine copper mine. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Johnny had two sons, John Lonchar III and Tom Lonchar.

Johnny was an active outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting, fishing and riding motorcycles. However, his true passion was in creating. An avid painter and writer, Johnny not only found personal enrichment through the arts, but also combined his creative spirit with his generous and compassionate nature to help others. He served as a director of creative arts and used his position to teach painting and drawing as a way of expression. Beyond that, he developed literacy programs, founded a community garden to support a local homeless shelter, and served on the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs.

An adamant supporter of Native American rights, Johnny was fascinated by native cultures and actively donated to the St. Joseph’s Indian School. Beloved by those who knew him, Johnny was a steadfast and a natural mentor. He valued community and the power of a creative mind, and he worked to leave the world a more beautiful place than he found it.

Johnny was preceded in death by his father, John; and his mother, Phyllis. He is survived by sons, John Lonchar III and Tom Lonchar; grandsons, Justin and Jesse Lonchar; great-granddaughter, Emily; sisters, Linda (Jerry) Albright, Debbie (Bob) Micheletti, Nancy (Russ) Hewitt and Rose (Mike) Romes; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26, at St. Ann Catholic Parish in Bergland. Visitation will be at 10 a.m. with the funeral service to follow at 11 a.m. Internment will be held at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

“A new day has risen. Hope grows. I am going home.” — John Lonchar Jr.

In lieu of flowers, donations should be given to the University of Michigan Prison Creative Arts Program in John’s name.