John McCloskey was born in 1920 in Philadelphia’s Olney section. Born into a working-class Irish Catholic family, McCloskey moved to Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania, in Bucks County, in 1924. He graduated from Northeast Catholic High School in 1938. He held several jobs before settling in at Crown Cork & Seal’s seamless can manufacturing plant located at I Street and Erie Avenue in Philadelphia’s Kensington section. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942. He was selected to instruct future pilots in the operation of B-17 Bombers. He attained the rank of First Lieutenant. Following his time in the Army, McCloskey used to GI Bill to attend La Salle College where he graduated with a degree in accounting in 1948. He did this while working full-time as the student manager of the College’s campus store and supporting his family which included his wife Betty, and his first two sons, John and James. After graduation McCloskey was made full manager of the campus store. During this time he taught Military Science in the college’s ROTC program. In 1955, he was made Assistant to the President under Brother Stanislaus. At this time he also had begun work on his MBA in marketing at Temple University. He served in that post until 1959 when he was made Vice-President of Public Affairs. In 1986, he would step down as vice-president but continued to serve La Salle the Director of Public Relations, 1986-1988, and then as Assistant Vice-President for Development until he finally retired in 1992. Ultimately, he and his wife had four children: John, James, Kathy, and Dan. In addition to his years at La Salle McCloskey was also extremely active in the Philadelphia community assisting in numerous educational projects and donating his time to many Catholic charities. His service has been honored in many ways. In 1991 he received two distinct designations. He was Affiliated as a Honorary Christian Brother at La Salle, a honor that is not given out lightly. Also, in 1991 he was named a knight in the Order of St. Gregory, a Papal distinction given for outstanding service. On the occasion of his ninetieth birthday, McCloskey received letters of recognition from President and First Lady, Barack and Michelle Obama, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, U.S. Senator Robert Casey, as well as from Philadelphia officials. At the time of the interview he was retired and living in Bucks County. He spent every morning at St. Joseph’s Manor, a nursing care facility, with his wife of over sixty-seven years, Betty.
John McCloskey passed away in March 2019.
McCloskey, John and Fallon, John, "Interview of John McCloskey by John Fallon" (2011). All Oral Histories. 95.
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