John Joseph Soltis 91, of Bristol, CT passed away on Monday, March 12. Born in New Britain on August 1, 1926, he was the loving husband of the late Pauline B. Soltis (Vinci) for 68 years and son of the late John and Anna (Svitana) Soltis. At the age of 17, he enlisted in U.S. Navy and proudly served as a gunner’s mate in World War II. Upon his return at the end of the war, he worked simultaneously to achieve his diploma from New Britain High School and his electrical certificate from E.C. Goodwin Technical School. After marrying Pauline in 1948, he began working at Stanley Works where he met an executive, David Hadlow, who encouraged him to pursue a college education. John went on to receive a B.S. degree in education from Teachers College (CCSU), a Master’s degree in education from Hillyer College (University of Hartford), and his 6th Year in Special Education from Northeastern University and his 7th year in Special Education from UConn. Being the humble man he was, he completed all studies toward earning his Doctorate in education, including writing his dissertation, but chose not to complete the final step of presenting it to the committee because he did not feel worthy of the title of “Doctor.”
He served in the New Britain school system for 28 years, beginning as an elementary school teacher, working his way up to principal of Thomas Jefferson and Smith elementary schools. Even as principal, you would often find him out on the playground during recess with the students. As one student recalled, “he was our official pitcher during our recess kickball games.” While he achieved his goal of becoming a principal, his heart was in the classroom as a teacher with his students. Upon his retirement, his faculty, students and parents, held a celebration in his honor and declared June 17, 1988 “John Soltis Day.”
Some of his fondest childhood memories were growing up near Wellins Auto Parts, Feiganbaum & Nair Scrap Metal, M. Kotkin & Son in New Britain. This is where his young mechanical mind developed. He became known for his ability to problem solve and fix anything.
He adored his family and was the best husband and father and the most unselfish man. He leaves behind his three children, Paula Soltis of Bristol; Marilou Soltis and her husband Dale Thorp of Unionville; John Michael and his wife Lynn, and grandsons Connor, Cameron and Parker Soltis of Bristol.
He also leaves his siblings, Anne LaMontagne, Margaret Mottola and Andrew Soltis; brother-in-law, Francis Petruff and close friends, George and Carmela Carabetta and Sophie Conti.
He was predeceased by his sister Mary Cayer and her husband Alfred; his sister Catherine Petruff; brothers-in-law Arthur LaMontagne and Carmen Mottola; sister-in-law Ingrid Soltis, and good friend Lino Conti.
For over 20 years, he courageously endured so many medical challenges. The family would like to thank the caring and supportive staff at the Plainville Y; Ellie Thomson of St. Matthew Church for her kindness and spiritual support; the many caring healthcare professionals at The Pines and Seasons Hospice. Special thanks to Nida, Karleen, Joana, Jorge and Ania, and loyal friends and colleagues, Tony Cavallo, Mike Angers and Elizabeth Novosett.
Funeral Services in celebration of John’s life will begin on Monday at 9:00a.m. from the Bailey Funeral Home, 48 Broad St., Plainville to Saint Matthew Church 120 Church Avenue in Forestville for a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m. Burial will follow in Saint Mary Cemetery, 1309 Stanley St., New Britain. Family and friends are welcome to gather at the funeral home on Sunday from 2:00p.m. until 5:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Wheeler Regional Family YMCA, 149 Farmington, Ave. Plainville, CT, 06062.
Wheeler Regional Family YMCA
149 Farmington Avenue, Plainville CT 06062