Very Reverend Protopresbyter John Paul Gido
Thou art a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek
Father John Gido, 93, was born in Erie, Pennsylvania on July 12, 1928, and passed to eternal life on November 25, 2021. Preceding him in death was his beloved wife of 50 years Pani Pauline Kesselak Gido, parents, John E. and Mary A Magdinec Gido, and parents-in-law Andrew and Kathryn Kohan Kesselak, Senior. Surviving is his son John, daughter-in-law Tammy, grandchildren Jacob and Sarah, and daughter Mary, sister-in-law Catherine and husband Nick Timko, in addition to numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews.
Father John received his elementary and secondary education in the Erie County Public schools, graduating from Erie East High School in 1946. He attended Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, New York and attended Christ the Savior Seminary in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, becoming a member of its first class of seminarians. Upon graduation, he married the former Pauline Kesselak of Johnstown, Pennsylvania on September 25, 1954.
Father John was the first seminarian to be ordained by the late Metropolitan Orestes, of thrice-blessed memory, in the newly consecrated Christ the Savior Cathedral in Johnstown on October 3, 1954. His first pastorate was St. John the Baptist Church in Hawk Run, Pennsylvania, where he served for six and a half years. During his pastorate, ground was blessed for the site of a new church and cemetery, and in 1960, Metropolitan Orestes, consecrated a beautiful new church for the parish. During this time, he also served as chaplain at Pennsylvania State College University.
Father John and his family came to St. John the Baptist Church in Ambridge, Pennsylvania and he served his first Divine Liturgy on August 7, 1960. He retired after 54 years of service in 2006. After retiring from his parish, he continued to serve as a substitute priest for another 10 years for the orthodox churches of Allegheny County, Beaver County, and the surrounding area. Most recently, Father John celebrated his 67th year ordination anniversary on Oct 3rd, 2021.
During his pastorate, Father John served as the Orthodox chaplain at Dixmont State Hospital in Glenfield, Pennsylvania for over 20 years; he served as dean of the Pittsburgh Deanery from 1988 to 2006; he was a member of the Executive Council of the Brotherhood of Orthodox Clergy of the Greater Pittsburgh Area; he was a member, and past officer, of the Ambridge Interfaith Clergy Association; he was the chairman of the Annual Distinguished Diocesan Doners Appreciation dinner for the Host, Metropolitan Nicholas which benefited Camp Nazareth in Mercer, PA; he was the chairman of the Annual American Carpatho-Russian Day; he was the chairman of the Annual St. Nicholas charity dinner which raised funds for the diocesan seminary; he was the chairman of the Annual St. Nicholas Charity Dinner of St John’s Parish to help parishes or organizations in need; he has served as Master of Ceremonies for diocesan celebrations at Christ the Savior Cathedral and Seminary in Johnstown, and the Consecration of Cyril and Methodius Church at the Diocesan Youth Camp and Retreat Center in Mercer, PA; he attend the canonization ceremonies for Father Alexis Toth, leader of our people in America, at Saint Tikhon Monastery where he had the honor of carrying the casket containing his bodily remains; he accompanied Metropolitan Nicholas to Constantinople to attend the 150th Anniversary of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s Seminary on the Island of Halki; he accompanied Metropolitan Nicholas to Gorlice in Poland for the Canonization ceremonies for Saint Maxym Sandovych, who was martyred for his love and dedication to the Orthodox Church and faithful; a new parish center and rectory were constructed in Ambridge, and the mortgages on the new church, rectory and parish center were eliminated under Father Johns pastorate; he taught the children of Ambridge several Christmas plays, creating the costumes and scenery with the help of Pani Pauline; he also taught carolers and organized the “Koladniky” annually, visiting the homes of parishioners during the Christmas season; he and Pani Pauline served as the “alter society” laundering and dressing the alter during the liturgical year; he and Pani Pauline also served as hosts for the Pittsburgh Council of International visitors for a number of years, as well as serving as hosts for many foreign visitors of our diocese, and serving as translators.
Father John was an avid gardener and while in Ambridge took care of the parish landscaping. He then transferred those gardening skills to the home of his daughter where he lived after retiring and excelled at flower arranging and decorating. He enjoyed visiting various outdoor gardens and conservatories. He volunteered as the archivist at The Captain William Vicary Mansion in Freedom Pennsylvania feeding his love of history. He enjoyed art and architecture and enjoyed visiting museums, historic buildings and living history museums. He played violin and loved music, especially choirs and liturgical hymns, as well as classical music, musicals and opera and loved to sing. He also loved books and read voraciously. He also was an amateur actor and loved the role he played in Fiddler on the Roof the best.
Father John had a true vocation from the time he was a child. He was dedicated to his faith and his church, loved his fellow priests, his parish members, and his family, and was dedicated to them during his lifetime. Please remember him in your prayers. Friends will be received Monday November 29, 2021, from 3:00pm until time of Funeral Service for a priest at 7:00pm, at St. John The Baptist Church, 450 Glenwood Drive, Ambridge, PA. A Liturgy will be held Tuesday November 30,2021 at 10:00am. Komashna immediately following at the Parish Center. Interment will follow at St. Nicholas Cemetery, Erie, PA.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in memory of Father John to Christ the Savior Seminary to help sponsor future vocations. Checks can be made out to Christ the Savior Seminary and sent to: Christ the Savior Orthodox Cathedral 300 Garfield St., Johnstown, PA 15906. BOHN-MATICH FUNERAL & CREMATION SERVICES, INC., 1099 Maplewood Ave., Ambridge, is in charge of arrangements.