John Hooley saved Robert J. Tomer and an unidentified youth and attempted to save Samuel F. Stephenson from drowning, Delmont, Pennsylvania, June 4, 1967. Robert, 8, Samuel, 14, and the unidentified youth, who was about 16, got into difficulty in water six to eight feet deep in a pond. Hooley, 53, circuit breaker assembler, and a man who could not swim ran to the pond and saw the three youths floundering weakly 25 feet from the bank. Hooley removed his shoes and shirt and, although partially winded from running, waded and swam to the youths. Hooley obtained a chest hold on Samuel and began towing him toward the bank. Robert clung to Samuel, and the other youth held to Hooley’s trousers. Hooley towed all three 10 feet, twice going under briefly. Tired and short of breath, he then sank to the bottom with Samuel; but Robert and the other youth released their holds. Hooley sought footing, and his feet sank into mud on the bottom of the pond. Releasing Samuel, who then was inert, Hooley used both hands to free himself from the mud. Underwater vision was impossible. Surfacing, Hooley took hold of Robert and the other youth, both of whom then were inert, and towed them 10 feet to wadable water. Others who had arrived took the two youths to the bank, where they were revived. Hooley dived from the surface to look for Samuel, but he could see nothing in the muddy water. He surfaced and, nearly exhausted, returned to the bank. Others located Samuel and removed him from the water, but he could not be revived.49810-5440
John Hooley, 83, of Jeannette, Pa., died on June 25, 1997, in Monsour Medical Center in Jeannette. He was born on Oct. 23, 1913, the son of the Michael Hooley and Mary Hooley Huzar.
Before retirement, he was employed by Westinghouse Electric. He was a member of Sacred Heart Church, Jeannette, and its Holy Name Society.
Burial was in St. Boniface Cemetery, Irwin, Pa.
(Edited from an obituary in The Standard Observer, June 28, 1997.)