In Loving Memory of Big John


Photo courtesy of Mrs. Rao

Big John greeted everyone with a welcoming smile.

Sofia Cedeño, Staff Reporter, Junior

On the morning of October 28, one of our beloved security monitors, John Von Bargen, widely known as Big John, passed away peacefully in the comfort of his home at the age of 80. He was born on June 11, 1939 and lived in his hometown of Mount Vernon, NY. During his high school days, Big John was a talented basketball player. He attended Belmont Abbey College to play basketball and was even inaugurated into the Town of Belmont NC Hall of Fame. After college he returned to Mount Vernon, where he lived for the remainder of his life. He worked as the Superintendent of Recreation for PMHS for over 30 years.

Mr. Rothstein said, “He was a presence in every respect of the word. His warmth and kind and gentle spirit emanated from him everywhere he went. It was always a treat to run into him and receive a warm smile, a kind word, or to talk about high school sports.”

When asked to describe Big John and his impact, Pelham alum Jen Bell said, “He was a giving man who would put others’ needs and safety before his own. He will be missed by all of Pelham, friends and family.”

Big John’s close friend and coworker Mrs. Rao said, “I’ve known him my whole life. He went to high school with my mother. For many years now I’ve had the privilege of working side by side with him in the cafeteria C. He was my work partner and friend. Every Friday he would give me a kiss on the cheek, pat my head and told me to have a nice weekend. Though my heart hurts immensely from this loss it also bursts with gratitude for being so lucky to have known him.”

Big John will always be remembered as not only an amazing security monitor, but as a friend and helping hand to the school. He had a charm and goodness in his heart that made an impact on every person he met. There was never a time where a smile or hello from him didn’t make someone feel special, and his dedication and love of PMHS will never be forgotten.