Past National, Past State Cmdr. “Big John” Biedrzycki Passes Away

From: National and State Headquarters
Subject: Commander-in-Chief John Biedrzycki

It is with sadness that we inform you that Past Commander-in-Chief John A. Biedrzycki, Jr. passed away Thursday, August 29, 2019, at the age of 73.

Funeral service details are:
Schepner-McDermott Funeral Home, Inc.165 Noble AvePittsburgh, PA 15205Tel: 1-412-921-3661 [email protected]
Viewing times are Monday and Tuesday, September 2nd and 3rd, 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Interment Wednesday September 4th – Service at funeral home and interment at National Cemetery of the Alleghenies Full Military Honors.

John A. Biedrzycki was elected Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars on July 22, 2015, at the VFW’s 116th National Convention, held in Pittsburgh, Pa. He had also served in many leadership positions at all levels including as an All-American State Commander.

When he was elected as the VFW’s top officer in 2015, he became the first Pennsylvania VFW member to hold that office since 1971. He was only the 10th VFW member from the Commonwealth to serve as National VFW commander-in-chief.

Mr. Biedrzycki served in the U. S. Army from 1967 to 1970. He served in Korea as a Pay Distribution Specialist with the 7th Infantry Division. His decorations include the National Defense Service Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Korean Defense Medal.

A VFW Gold Legacy member, Mr. Biedrzycki joined the VFW in 1969 at Post 418 in McKees Rocks, Pa., where he was a Legacy Life member. He served in elected and appointed positions at the Post, County, District and Department (state) levels culminating with his election as Department Commander 2002-2003 in which he achieved All American status.

On the national level, he has served on many committees, including Chairman of the National VFW Programs Committee, Chairman of the National Youth, Education and Community Service Committee and Vice Chairman of the National Legislative Committee.

He was named as “Pennsylvania VFW Young Veteran of the Year” and “National Young Veteran of the Year”. He received a Presidential Proclamation from President Jimmy Carter for “Outstanding Community Achievement of Vietnam Era Veterans”.

His leadership helped create the PA VFW’s Voice of Democracy Contest, a student scholarship program that later chosen him as VOD Teacher of the Year. He served as VOD chairman for five years and as a member of the National VFW VOD Committee. Comrade Biedrzycki’s VFW committee service also included national work group assignments focusing on military affairs, legislative, finance, internal affairs, national security and foreign affairs issues.

Big John also served as chairman of the VFW’s Eastern States Conference.

Comrade Biedrzycki was a retired educator. He was employed by the City of Pittsburgh Board of Education as Chairman of the Social Studies Department and Facilitator of the Langley Teaching Academy. He earned a Bachelor of Arts (Cum Laude) and Masters of Education Degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He was the recipient of a Hays Fulbright Scholarship for study in West Africa.

Comrade Biedrzycki was honored for his teaching excellence as an All-Star Educator by the Giant Eagle Foundation and the Vira Heinz Endowment. He was selected as an “Outstanding Educator” by the Teaching Academy of the Pittsburgh Public Schools. As the former Baseball coach of the Langley Mustangs, he guided the team to back-to-back City of Pittsburgh Championships.

Comrade Biedrzycki was been married to his wife Bette Jean (Past State President of the PA Ladies Auxiliary) for nearly 50 years. They have a son, John III, an attorney practicing law in Western Pennsylvania and two grandchildren.

Cards may be sent to:
Bette Jean Biedrzycki
625 Magnus Lane
Coraopolis, PA 15108

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