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Welcome to the memorial page for

John Troan

August 23, 1918 ~ October 7, 2017 (age 99)

The Piano Brothers

Retired editor of The Pittsburgh Press (1967-83) died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday October 7, 2017, at the age of 99. Born August 23, 1918, in Jessup (Lackawanna County), Pa., to Slavic immigrants Andrew and Veronica Troanovitch. His name was shortened for byline purposes by the Pittsburgh Press when he joined the paper directly out of college in 1939. Except for World War II service as an Enlisted Navy Correspondent on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific (two battle stars and a fleet commendation on board the Bon Homme Richard CV31) he spent his 44-year career with the Press and Scripps-Howard Newspaper alliance as a reporter, science editor, and editor-in-chief. A former president of the National Association of Science Writers, he was the only reporter to chronicle step-by-step development of the Salk polio vaccine from its conception to its successful conclusion, inclusive of history’s largest field trial that proved it to be both “safe and effective.” As a reporter, he covered the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations, as well as the US Space program from Vanguard through Apollo.All this, and more, he recounted in a 332-page memoir, “Passport to Adventure – Memoirs of a Twentieth Century News Correspondent and Science Writer” , published in 2000 and republished in 2012 (Amazon). Mr. Troan was a Distinguished Alumnus of Penn State University, held an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Westminster College, and was also an honorary fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. At various times he served on the board of directors of the American Press Institute, the Buhl Planetarium, Carnegie Science Center, Center for Theater Arts, Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh (co-founder), Children’s Hospital, Civic Light Opera, Council for Advancement of Science Writing (co-founder), Duquesne Club, National Association of Science Writers, Penn State Alumni Council, Pittsburgh Press Club, Pittsburgh Symphony, Press Club of Western Pennsylvania (co-founder), Science Service, and World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. He was a loving and devoted husband, father, and patriarch to his wife of 73 years, his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He fostered their dreams from the arts to the sciences, and always had a soft ear to listen. He enjoyed a long, fruitful, and healthy life, loved his occupation, and found something good in every person he met. He once said that, if more people looked, they’d find that every person has something to offer, you just have to listen to their story. He is survived by his daughter Judy (Robert) Gelman of McMurray, daughter Mary Lou (Douglas) Satterfield of Mount Lebanon, and son Geoffrey (Amy) Troan of Orlando Florida. His wife Varcey, and another son, Larry (Lesley) Troan of Raleigh, North Carolina, predeceased him. Also surviving are eleven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. In accord with his wish, there will be no public viewing. Mass of Christian Burial in Saint Bernard Church, Mount Lebanon, will be held at 10:00 am on Wednesday, October 11, 2017. Burial in Queen of Heaven Cemetery to follow. If so inclined, you may make a memorial contribution to either the Baptist Homes Foundation, 489 Castle Shannon Blvd, Pittsburgh PA 15234 or to the Saint Bernard Angel Fund (for student scholarships), 311 Washington Road, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15216.


Charitable donations may be made to:

Baptist Homes. Inc.
489 Castle Shannon Boulevard, Pittsburgh PA 15234

Saint Bernard Angel Fund
311 Washington Road, Pittsburgh PA 15216



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