BOARDMAN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Captain Thomas V. Petzinger, 90, a servant to his family, friends, community and country, passed away on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Boardman.
He was born March 13, 1930, in Canton, Ohio, the son of Bernice Van Voorhis and Henry W. Petzinger.
He graduated from Canton Lehman High School in 1948 and in 1952 from Mount Union College (now the University of Mount Union), in Alliance, Ohio, where he was yearbook editor, a member of the Senior Men’s Honorary, an officer of the Sigma Nu fraternity and captain of the track team. As a sprinter, he was a persistent first-place finisher in the 100-yard and 200-yard dash and was the leading point recipient in the 1952 Ohio Conference College Track and Field Championship.
His service to his alma mater was lifelong. He served as a member of the Mount Union Board of Trustees from 1990 until his death and was awarded the University’s Alumni Service Award. Both his daughter and granddaughter also became Mount Union alumni.
Following college, he joined the U.S. Navy, graduating from Officer Candidate School and Deep Sea Diving and Salvage School. He served as Executive Officer aboard the USS Mender, ARSD-2, a diving and salvage heavy-lift ship. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for his work in clearing underwater mines and sunken vessels from Inchon Harbor immediately following the Korean Conflict. He also received the Navy Certificate of Commendation as a diver in Operation Castle, in which the early tests of hydrogen bombs were conducted in the atolls of the South Pacific. After retiring from active duty in 1956, he remained an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve (USNR), whose Deep Sea Diving Program he directed from Crystal City, Maryland, for many years. He retired from the USNR in 1986 with the rank of captain.
In civilian life, he co-founded March-Petzinger Travel Service in 1956. Upon a merger, the business became Pan Atlas Travel Service, a leading provider of travel services in Northeast Ohio and one of the world’s first adopters of airline computer reservation systems. He was president of the Mid-America Chapter of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), on whose national board he served for many years. During this period he organized and chaired the ATSA World Congress in Seoul, Korea, the largest convention ever held in Korea to that time. His business service also included assisting all three of his children in their own business endeavors, both as an advisor and as an investor.
As a community leader, he served on the board of the Youngstown Chamber of Commerce, the Hearing and Speech Center and the Youngstown Symphony Society, as President of the Youngstown Club, and as chair of the YMCA Membership Drive and the American Cancer Society Fundraising Drive, among other activities, he was a member of Boardman United Methodist Church.
His humor and generosity made him the friend of many.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Jean Belden March Petzinger, whom he married in 1952 and who died in 2007 and by a son, William, who died in 1963.
He leaves three children, Elizabeth Holter (Stephen) of Boardman, Charles Petzinger (Lisa) of Amelia, Ohio and Thomas Petzinger, Jr. (Paulette Thomas) of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; six grandchildren, Beatrice Olesko (Nicholas) of Ithaca, New York, Chase Petzinger (Amanda) of Loveland, Ohio, Eva Petzinger of Somerville, Massachusetts, March Petzinger of Winter Park, Colorado, Janis Petzinger of Dundee, Scotland and Sam Holter of Boardman and three great-grandchildren, Amelia Olesko, Lincoln Petzinger and Griffin Petzinger. He also leaves his longtime travel and social companion, Paula Barrett.
A memorial celebration will be scheduled.
Interment will be at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman, Ohio.
The family requests material contributions take the form of donations to either the University of Mount Union or to the Boardman United Methodist Church.
Arrangements are by the Davis-Becker Funeral Home in Boardman. Please visit www.beckerobits.com to send condolences.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas V. Petzinger, please visit our floral store.
A television tribute will air Sunday, December 6, at the following approximate times: 6:27 p.m. on WYTV and 6:58 p.m. on MyYTV.
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