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John Pothlanski Dies At 82

Lifelong Great Neck resident John Pothlanski died on Thursday, July 25 at the age of 82. John was born on Lee Avenue off Northern Boulevard on July 26, 1930 to Joseph and Anna Pothlanski.


He joined the Alert Fire Company in October of 1948. He would have celebrated 65 years in the company this fall.  John served as chief of the department from December 1972 to

December 1975. He was the chief in charge of perhaps the worst commercial structure fire in the Great Neck Village history, when Gristedes Supermarket burned down in the early

70s during horrible freezing winter temperatures. It took days to extinguish the blaze, with many neighboring departments helping out the brave Alert firefighters. The building stood where HSBC and Middle Neck Pharmacy currently stand on Middle Neck Road.


John married his wife Dorothy (Dolly) and raised children Ann and John in Great Neck. He was a father and an uncle who made every routine event an adventure to the children in his life. 


John, along with twin brothers George and Lenny Motchkavitz, owned M & P Plumbing and Heating, Inc. of Great Neck for over 50 years. Many family members and firefighters worked for M&P over the course of its existence. 


Johnny Pop, as he was called by those who knew him, was a kind man who was always ready with a joke to tell. He was never critical, but rather was full of compassion and encouragement, always willing to help out anyone in need, no matter the job or the time of day. He never looked for anything back in return. He loved his community and loved giving back. 


He was predeceased by his parents Joseph and Anna, his wife Dolly and his sister Adele Hess. He is survived by daughter Ann; son John; grandchildren Allison, Jayson and Joseph; great-granddaughter Holly; sister Dorothy Motchkavitz; brother in-law George Motchkavitz; and many nephews, nieces and friends who will always remember the fun that Johnny brought into their lives. 


A wake was held at the Alert firehouse on Tuesday, July 30, with a firematic service that filled the room with firefighters young and old who came to honor a great man. The funeral was held at St. Aloysius Church on Wednesday ,July 31, with burial at All Saints Cemetery in Great Neck.


Donations in his memory may be made to the Great Neck Alert Fire Department, 555 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck, NY 11023.