John T. Kotula Bethlehem Steel worker

November 04, 1990

A Mass of Christian Burial for John T. Kotula, who worked for 40 years at the furnaces of the Bethlehem Steel Corp., will be offered at 9 a.m. tomorrow at Holy Rosary Church in the 400 block of South Chester Street.

Mr. Kotula, 72, a son of Polish immigrants and lifelong resident of Highlandtown, died Friday at Johns Hopkins Hospital after a long illness.

Like his father before him he manned the plant's large open hearths, where steel was produced under 2,800-degree temperatures.

"My dad would look in the furnaces and, from the color of the soup, he could tell what ingredient of ore needed to be added," said Mr. Kotula's son, Stephen, who also works at the Sparrows Point mill.

Mr. Kotula worked at the plant during World War II -- at the height of steel production there - and retired in 1975.

He and his wife, the former Helen Pauline Znamirowski, had rarely ventured far from nearby Highlandtown, where they raised their family. But after Mr. Kotula retired, he and his wife visited Canada and every state in the union except Hawaii.

Mr. Kotula was an active member of Steelworkers Local 2610, the Knights of Columbus' Santa Maria Council No. 1733 and Alhambra Alcala Caravan No. 16.

Mr. Kotula died five weeks after his wife suffered a fatal heart attack.

His survivors include a daughter, Juliann Perrin of Hanover, Pa.; two sons, John Kotula of Pasadena and Stephen T. Kotula of Dundalk; two brothers. Dr. Stanley Kotula of Ruxton and Thomas Kotula of Dundalk; two sisters, Marie Leonard of Highlandtown and Sister Mary Leona, F.S.C., of Maple Grove, N.J.; and four grandchildren.

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