Deacon John J. Davaro, 87, a retired permanent deacon formerly assigned to St. Dorothy Parish, Drexel Hill, died Sept. 11.

Deacon Davaro, who attended the former St. Agatha School in West Philadelphia, graduated from St. Thomas More High School and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Following service he entered the American Institute of Technology from which he received a B.S. in engineering in 1950. He later received a Master of Science Degree in applied statistics from Villanova University.

He was employed at RCA Corp. as an engineering manager for 27 years before his early retirement to devote his time to Church service. He entered the deacon program and was ordained June 2, 1991 at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul by Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. He served at St. Dorothy, where he was a long-time member, until 2001 when ill health forced him to cease ministry.


Married to the former Isabelle Brigetta, he and his wife adopted three children through Catholic Social Services – Mary Louise, Susan and Therese.

At St. Dorothy he took charge of the religious education program, which was a ministry he loved, according to Father Michael D. Murphy, pastor of St. Dorothy. He was also in charge of the Pre-Cana Program and he and Isabelle had a special ministry to families in need, providing them with food and other services.

“He had a special devotion to St. Anthony of Padua and was a very devout person, a daily Mass-goer and a wonderful father,” Father Murphy said.

Deacon John Suplee, who was fellow member of the class of five men ordained in 1991, remembers Deacon Davaro especially for his compassion and outreach to the needy. “He was a spiritual man and very devoted to his family,” he said.

Deacon Davaro’s viewing is scheduled to be held at St. Dorothy at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17. His funeral Mass will follow at 10:30 a.m. with Bishop John McIntyre as the principal celebrant and Father Murphy as the homilist. Deacon Suplee will be the Deacon of the Mass, and his other two living deacon classmates, Deacons James Kane and Karl Hartmann, will serve as deacon chaplains.

Deacon Davaro is survived by his wife, Isabelle; daughters Mary Louise and Therese; five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He is predeceased by his daughter Susan and grandchild, John.

Interment will be at SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Springfield.