John J. Villa, 95, founder of Baltimore tile company


John J. Villa, founder of a Baltimore tile company, died of congestive heart failure Feb. 14 at Oak Crest Village in Parkville. He was 95.

The son of Italian immigrants, Mr. Villa was born in Baltimore. He moved with his family to Piacenza, Italy, but after his mother died of influenza in 1919, he returned to Baltimore and was raised on Eastern Avenue.

He was a graduate of St. Leo's Parochial School, and in 1931 established Villa Tile Co., a commercial and residential tile business that remains family-run.

One of Mr. Villa's jobs was retiling the walls and ceiling of the first Baltimore Harbor Tunnel tube during the 1960s, family members said.

A resident of the Hampton section of Baltimore County for 29 years, Mr. Villa moved to the Parkville retirement community in 1995. He was a charter member of the Shamrock Investment Club, an Orioles fan and an avid golfer.

Mr. Villa was a communicant at Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church in Baynesville and was a longtime member of the Cardinal Gibbons Council of the Knights of Columbus.

His wife of 65 years, the former Elizabeth Thurnhuber, died in 1997.

A funeral Mass was offered Sunday.

Surviving are a son, F. Robert Villa of Baldwin; four daughters, Dorothy R. Porter of Dallas, Elizabeth A. Laur of Annapolis, Rosemary S. Mallon of Greenwood, S.C., and Carolyn J. Geraghty of Lutherville; 19 grandchildren; and 36 great-grandchildren.

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