John Andrew Gonce, a retired Baltimore Sun printer who enjoyed traveling by train, died at his Perry Hall home Saturday from complications of dementia at age 76.
He was born in Baltimore and raised in Gardenville, the son of Andrew Gonce, a Schmidt Bakery route salesman, and Mildred Berger Gonce, a homemaker.
He was a graduate of Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School, where he learned the printing trade. He went to work in The Sun’s composing room in 1960.
“Among his peers, he was known as ‘Mr. Steady,’ because of his consistent performance and professional demeanor,” said his wife of 51 years, the former Patricia Anne Healy, who met her future husband when she was 10 and he was 14.
Mr. Gonce assisted in composing The Evening Sun. While working at the newspaper, he played baseball with the Printer’s League for many years. He was also a bowler and a member of various leagues.
“Many nights were spent playing ‘pot games’ at the lanes before reporting for the early shift at the newspaper,” said his wife, a retired Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. information operator. “They’d throw money in the pot and would then bowl, with the winner taking the money.”
He was also a golfer; he accomplished a hole-in-one at the Forest Park Golf Course in May, 21, 2000 — then “retired” the ball and displayed it in his home.
Mr. Gonce liked golfing in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and traveled three times to attend The Masters in Augusta, Ga., with his wife.
He also liked traveling by train throughout the U.S. and Canada, and also visited Bermuda, Hawaii and Florida.
Mr. Gonce raised and trained pigeons at his home and raced 60 birds. He was a 30-year member of the Hamilton Pigeon Club and had served a race secretary for several years.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Schimunek Funeral Home, 9705 Belair Road, Nottingham.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a brother, Carl J. Gonce of Nottingham; a sister, Mary M. Haas of Palm Desert, Calif.; and many nieces and nephews. A daughter, Michelle Lynn Gonce, died as an infant.
--Frederick N. Rasmussen