In Memory

John Bisceglia

John Bisceglia

John Charles Bisceglia

John Charles Bisceglia, age 23, of Tarzana, survived by parents Mr. and Mrs. Gabriel A. Bisceglia.

Rosary Wednesday 8:30 p.m. and Mass Thursday 10 a.m. both at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, Encino. J.T.Oswald Reseda Mortuary, directors,

Los Angeles Times - 18 October 1967


Valley Newsman Dies

Rites Scheduled Today for John Bisceglia 23

The young strapping boy of 11 years pedaled furiously down the street on his bicycle. The billowing cloud of black smoke was still rising a few blocks away and he would soon be there. It was a fire. And John Bisceglia, breathless and excited, was hurrying to the scene to see what it was all about.

But it was more than natural curiosity that drew the dark-haired boy to the fire. It was an urgent need to know, to investigate, and to report the fire as best he could to local radio stations and newspapers.

Not even his parents knew what attracted their only child to the destination of screaming fire engines and ambulances.

His father, Gabriel Bisceglia of 5440 Shirley Ave., TArzana, a certified public accountant, knew only this.

"It was his one single, biggest interest in life, journalism. He wrapped his whole life around it."

They did not stop him, for somehow they knew this was his calling.

All through his young life, this was the daily routine for John Bisceglia, and for the next 12 years he would read newspapers, listen to radios and learn in school all he could about journalism, principally radio, for that's what he wanted to do --broadcast the news -- which, in his mind, was the fastest way of relaying information to the public.

But John Bisceglia, born John Charles Bisceglia the evening of July 31, 1944, is dead. He died early last Sunday morning in Pennsylvania Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia of porphyria, a rare disorder that affects one in 10,000,000 for which there is no known cure.

Death came at a time when Bisceglia had just achieved his life-long ambition -- that of a full-time staff newsman for a radio station. He was 23 years old, an age when most newsmen are completing their college education or embarking on their first assignments as "cub" reporters.

But John Bisceglia was not a "cub." He was a professional who began earning his rank on a bicycle 12 years ago "with that something in his system that never left him."

When death came, it came peacefully with his father Gabriel amd mother Mary at his side.

Bisceglia left the Valley two weeks ago for Philadelphia. Before leaving, he had had two impacted wisdom teeth extracted, and when he left, a friend of the family said "He wasn't feeling too good."

"John never made it to the radio station," his grief-stricken father said. "He called his boss, Chuck James, from the hotel and told him he was sick and would be unable to show up for work."

James, a former newsman with radio station KGIL in the Valley, visited Bisceglia and immediately ordered him to the hospital and contacted his parents.

Mrs. Bisceglia flew to Philadelphia and was later joined by her husband. Both remained until Sunday when their son died.

Bisceglia, a member of the Valley Press Club was graduated from William Howard Taft High School in 1962 and completed his sophomore year of college at Pierce College where he was named "Man of the Year" in 1964.

From there he went to Stanford University where he was accepted for a graduate course in radio and television communications. He was one of a few select students who covered the Republican National Convention in San Francisco. He was not yet 20.

He completed one quarter at Stanford but then returned home to the Valley where he resumed his junior year at San Fernando Valley State College.

To pay his own way, Bisceglia was hired as a part-time mobile unit reporter and newswriter at KGIL, where he worked until September 27, when he accepted the job in Philadelphia with station KYW of the Westinghouse Broadcasting Corp.

While at KGIL, his father said, Bisceglia spent three full days covering the Watts Riots in 1965 and numerous other major news events in Los Angeles.

In the interim, Bisceglia enlisted in the Air Force Reserves and was an information officer for the 146th Military Airlift Wing based at Van Nuys Airport.

Bisceglia may be remembered in the Northern California community of Eureka, which in 1964 was struck by a flood of major proportions, his father said.

"It was through Johnny's ingenuity that the Air Force was able to schedule flights from Van Nuys to Eureka with needed medical supplies,"  his father stated.

Telephone communications were severely damaged by the floods and there was no way of contacting the area.

"John hooked up his citizens band radio with a local ham radio operator's equipment. The ham radio contacted a Navy aircraft carrier stationed off Eureka and with two phones in his hands, John relayed the information to the Van Nuys base, Bisceglia's father explained.

Bisceglia was not unfamiliar with the tools of his radio profession, according to his father.

"John's car was a four wheel radio station. Just give him a microphone and he'd go to town."

"My son lived a full life for a boy of 23," his father observed.

"He experienced more in life than most people in their 50's."

Requiem high mass will be celebrated in his honor today at 10 a.m. in Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, 5011 White Oak Ave, Encino.

A rosary was recited yesterday evening at the church.

Entombment will follow the church service today at San Fernando Mission Cemetery. San Fernando Mission and Sepulveda Blvds., in Mission Hills.

The [Valley] News, Thursday, October 19, 1967


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02/29/12 02:33 PM #1    

Stephen Bruttig

I don't ever remember John with a rock band.  His favorite instrument was the radio.  I knew John from grade school on, he was in my wedding and I saw him just days before he died.  He was a very loyal, thoughtful friend and I have missed him a long time.  His parents (Gabe & Mary) were like a second dad & mom to many of us wayward youths.

Steve Bruttig

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