John Joseph Dangos, November 18, 1927 – January 19, 2021 (age 93) WHEN I’M CALLED TO DUTY GOD, WHEREVER FLAMES MAY RAGE, GIVE ME STRENGTH TO SAVE A LIFE, WHATEVER BE ITS AGE. John was born on November 18, 1927 in St. Louis, Missouri to August and Katherine (Cunningham) Dangos. He was the oldest of five children and lived through The Great Depression, experiencing economic hardship firsthand. He graduated from McKinley High School in 1946 where he excelled in his studies and was a standout athlete in football, baseball and basketball. Following graduation, he was drafted by the St. Louis Browns for his pitching prowess, but military duty called and he proudly served his country in the U. S. Army in occupied Japan. Upon his honorable discharge from the service, he joined the St. Louis Fire Department where he spent his entire 32 year career, retiring as a Battalion Chief in 1982. He and his fellow firefighters constantly risked their lives and were involved in many spectacular fires, most notably the Ralston Purina feed mill fire of 1962 (fought in sub zero temperatures along the Mississippi River) and the Heyday Fire of 1976 in the warehouse district downtown. They were a close knit, courageous force that battled blazes along the riverfront, on train trestles spanning the river, in skyscrapers, dangerous grain elevators, on roads and waterways and at many homes and businesses, saving countless lives and properties for the citizens of St.Louis. During his younger years, he continued playing ball in the popular Muny Baseball League and other leagues. In 1996, he was inducted into the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame and the St. Louis Softball Hall of Fame in 1998. John treasured an autographed picture given him by a former competitor in high school, Rudy “The Rifle” Bukich when he was quarterback for the Chicago Bears. It was signed, “To John, The greatest athlete I know.” In retirement, he enjoyed playing golf with abundant friends and family, 4 times a week for many years, always insisting on teeing off at the crack of dawn and walking the courses. John loved his family and all their adventures. He was married for 61 years to his beloved late wife, Bernice (Mueller) Dangos who everyone affectionately called Bunny. They were married on St. Patrick’s Day in 1952. He is survived by his 3 children: Stephen Dangos (Beth), Deborah Mueller and Donna Bockius (Don); six grandchildren, Sarah Beth Webb (Alex), Ashley Brittingham (Brant), Rachel Grindle (Tim), Graham Mueller (Erin), Brian Bockius (Angie) and Zach Bockius; and 11 great grandchildren, Ben, Mary and Tommy Webb, Layne, Gavin, Blake and Bowen Brittingham, Aiden and Wyatt Grindle and Beckett Mueller and Oliver Mueller. Also, one brother, Jim Dangos (Peggy) and two sisters, Mary Sides (Jerry) and Pat Griffey (Ken). He was predeceased by firefighting brother Mike Dangos (Audrey) and grandchild Emily Mueller. Survivors include many nieces, nephews and dear friends. All share precious memories of John. He died January 19, 2021 fortified in the Sacraments of the Holy Mother Church.
Services: A private visitation will be held at Kutis South County Chapel, 5255 Lemay Ferry Rd., Monday February 1, 2021, 11:30 a.m. until service at 12:30 p.m. Immediately followed by private interment at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in memoriam to Backstoppers, Inc.