By Neil H. Sheehan
Tributes began pouring in Friday as soon as word spread that Jack Hontz, the longtime inspirational founder and director of Strath Haven High School’s marching band, had died.
Hontz, who was also supervisor of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District’s K-12 music program, passed away suddenly Friday afternoon after suffering a heart attack.
“Despite our collective grief over a such a tremendous loss, we have a sense of gratitude for being part of a school community that included a man who was so generous of his time and talents, so compassionate in his leadership of students and staff, and so dedicated and warm in supporting our entire student body,” said MaryJo Yannacone, the high school’s principal, wrote in a note to the community Friday night.
“Jack served a vital role at Strath Haven High School and indeed, across the Wallingford-Swarthmore community. He was a mentor, friend, colleague and inspiration to us all, and in him, we witnessed the very best a person can be.”