Edward Joseph Watto, 83, of Swiftwater, died Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown. He was the loving husband of Kathryn (Bower) Watto, with whom he shared 55 years of marriage.
Born in Nesquehoning, he was the youngest of six children to the late Stephen and Susan (Skladony) Watto.
A proud veteran, Edward served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged. His devotion to country was demonstrated by the service of three of his sons, who also served in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army. Edward not only had a strong devotion to his country, but to his community, colleagues, students, friends, and most importantly, his family.
Edward was a graduate of the former Steven’s Trade School and a member of the Stevens Ducks football team. He would later attend and graduate from East Stroudsburg University, receiving his master’s degree in education.
Edward was defined by country, family, coaching and education. He worked for the Pocono Mountain School District and retired as athletic director after 43 years of service. During that time, he served as the head wresting coach for 29 years, leading the Cardinals to countless team and individual championships, including the 1981 undefeated Cardinal wrestling team. His teams amassed 278 dual-meet victories. He was inducted into the District XI Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Carbon County Sports Hall of Fame and the Pocono Mountain Hall of Fame.
He served Pocono Mountain as an assistant football coach for 10 years and helped to guide the program during its infancy. Edward was the current president of the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the National Football Foundation (NFF), having served in various leadership roles. In 2007, he received national recognition from the NFF for his leadership, hard work and dedication to high school football. Locally, he assisted in the recruitment of cadets to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
As a family man, Edward adored his wife, children and grandchildren, and time spent with them, attending grandchildren’s sporting events as often as he could. He enjoyed entertaining, hunting, fishing and gardening.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his sons: Stephen of Swiftwater, David and wife Reesa of Freeburg, Michael and wife Bobbi of Plymouth, New Hampshire, and Edward and wife Dori of New Waverly, Texas; grandchildren: Kaitlyn, Miles and wife Jillian, Danika, Emily, Ben, Amy, Andrew and Brody Watto, and Tyler Grein; and many nieces and nephews; Edward was preceded in death by his siblings: Mary Zabroski, Stephen Watto, John Watto, Tom Watto and Gene Watto.
There will be a viewing from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, at Bolock Funeral Home, 6148 Paradise Valley Road, Cresco. Pastor Kenneth Cathcart will conduct a service at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home. Burial and military honors will follow at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Swiftwater.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the National Football Foundation, Lehigh Valley Chapter, 1104 Old Gate Road, Northampton, PA 18067.