James L. Koontz, 68, of Latrobe, passed away Friday, February 15, 2019 at his home after a courageous battle with leukemia. He was born September 16, 1950 in Latrobe, a son of the late James H. Koontz and Virginia R. (Freeman) Koontz Trees.
Jim was a six-year veteran of the National Guard having served during the Vietnam War. Prior to retirement, he was employed by the Ligonier Valley Historical Society as the Compass Inn Museum Curator and Inn Keeper. After retirement he along with his wife continued to volunteer at the Compass Inn. Before working for the Historical Society, he had been employed by Kennametal Inc. in Latrobe for 35 years.
Jim was a man of many interests. He was an avid historian and genealogy enthusiast. He took on the character of Lester the Clown and taught clown classes at the Westmoreland County Community College. Along with his wife, he was an avid ballroom dancer and enjoyed travelling all around the world. He enjoyed fishing, golfing, and following the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a member of the Frontier Club in Latrobe.
In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by his father-in-law, Joseph W. Miller. He is survived by his wife of over 42 years, Katherine A. (Miller) Koontz, three sisters: Cindy Miller (Dennis), Janet Behr (Larry), and Kathleen Beels (Michael), his mother-in-law Katherine (Downs) Miller, in-laws: William Miller (Sheila), Brian Miller (Judy), Celeste Mizgalski (Kent), and Mark Miller (Tina), and numerous nieces and nephews.
Friends will be received Monday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 PM in the Hartman-Graziano Funeral Home, Inc., 1500 Ligonier Street, Latrobe. A funeral liturgy and service of committal will be held Tuesday at 11 AM in the Mary Mother of Mercy Mausoleum Chapel at St. Vincent Cemetery, Unity Township. Full military honors accorded by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 33 will immediately follow the service. Everyone please go directly to the mausoleum chapel. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Ligonier Valley Historical Society, P.O. Box 167, Laughlintown, PA 15655 or online at www.compassinn.com. To post an online condolence, please visit www.hartman-grazianofuneralhome.com