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FREDONIA:  John A. DeFries, Sr., 94, of Gardner Street, Fredonia, formerly of Forestville, died Saturday, January 7th, at Brooks Memorial Hospital, Dunkirk.  He was born in Bayonne, NJ on November 19, 1917, the son of the late Henry and Grace (O’Connell) DeFries.

Mr. DeFries was a graduate of Cleveland Heights High School, Class of 1935 and graduated from the former Case School of Applied Science, Cleveland Ohio, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Metallurgy in 1939.  In 1940, he started with the former Allegany Ludlum Steel, Dunkirk as a Wire Mill Metallurgist, then became Chief Plant Metallurgist, Manager of Quality Control and Division Technical Specialist.  In 1970 he became Plant Manager for the former Al-Tech Specialty Steel, Dunkirk, where he retired from in 1980.  He returned as Plant Manager in 1985 and retired again in 1986.  Then, in 2003 he became Director of Metallurgical Technology for Dunkirk Specialty Steel, LLC.  He was a devoted member of Remnant of Christ’s Ecclesia, Fredonia.

Survivors include a daughter, Martha White, of Portland, a son, John A. DeFries, Jr., of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, two sisters, Barbara DeFries and Grace DeFries, both of Albany and a brother, Robert M. (Esther) DeFries, of Frederick, MD.  Also surviving are 4 grandchildren, 6 great grandchildren and several nieces & nephews.  Besides his parents he was predeceased by his wife Naomi (Carter) DeFries, whom he married June 26, 1943 in Buffalo and who died June 25, 2002, by a son Andrew J. DeFries, who died June 16, 1982 and by 3 brothers William, Richard & Henry DeFries.

There will be no visitation observed.  Private Graveside Services will be at the convenience of family in Forestville Cemetery, with Milton C. Steiger, of Remnent of Christ’s Ecclasia, Fredonia officiating.  Arrangements are by Riles & Woolley Funeral Home, Forestville.  To post condolences go to

12 Comments on Obituary Notice- John A. DeFries, Sr.

  1. Phil Julian says:

    John was a great leader and wonderful human being. Ask anyone who worked with John and they will tell you of his brilliant and compassionate leadership. He was one of a kind.

    • Martha White says:

      Thank you for your kind words regarding my Dad. He was a great father also and even though he lived a long and happy life I miss him. We are grateful he was able to live independently and continue to drive up until a week before he died. I guess it doesn’t get much better than that. Thank you.

  2. Robert Robinson says:

    John DeFries was a very bright individual and a man of strong character. He had a hand in forming my career as I viewed him as a man to be admired. He stood up for what he believed in – often against “the easy way”. He was a man that people respected!


    Bob Robinson
    Former General Superintendent, Bar & Wire Finishing
    Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corporation

    • Martha White says:

      Thanks you so much for sharing your thoughts and condolences regarding my Dad. It is heartwarming and comforting to hear of his effect on your career. He took his work very seriously and truly cared about the working man. He was a wonderful Dad also and his death has left a big gap in our lives.

  3. Dear John and Martha,

    My deepest condolences on the death of your father. I have very fond memories of our families from childhood. My dad had the highest regards for him.
    Martha, I had no idea you lived in Portland…I am assuming it is Portland, NY…so close.

    You and your families will be in my thoughts and prayers as you deal with your loss.

    Kindest regards,

    • Martha White says:

      Hello Judy,
      Thank you so much for your expression of condolences regarding my Dad’s death. He lived a long and happy life while maintaining his independence (living alone and still driving locally) until a week before his death. We are so grateful for that. He was a good man and a great Dad.

      So nice to hear from you…and yes, I do live on Webster Rd in the town of Portland. Thank you so much for your kindness – we too have fond memories – how long ago it was! Perhaps we shall meet around and about but know how much your reaching out has been appreciated.

  4. Doanld G. Corter, DDS says:

    Mr Defries will be sadly missed by by all at our office. We really enjoyed having John and Naomi as patients. Please accept our deepest sympathy.

    • Martha White says:

      Dr Corter and staff,
      Thank you so much for sharing you condolences and memories of Mom and Dad. Dad did amazingly well for 94 – still driving and living on his own. We are so grateful because he would not have done well otherwise.
      He was a great father and we shall miss him but were blessed to have had him this long.

      Thank you,
      Martha White

  5. Tom Burek says:

    Jack and Martha,
    I’m sorry to read about the passing of your father. Your family was such wonderful neighbors when we grew up.
    Sincerely, Tom Burek & family

    • Martha White says:

      Thank you Tom. I will relay your kind thoughts to Jack also. Yes, we did have good neighbors in you also. It all seems so long ago but we did have fun. Hope all is well with you and your family and thanks again for your care.

  6. Linda White DeMarco says:

    Dear Martha, My Dad, Nelson White worked & retired from Allegheny Ludlum and always spoke very highly of your Dad; of what a great man he was and also how intelligent he was. Also, I graduated from Forestville High School and knew your brother Andy. As a matter of fact, we used to sit on the bus together. He was a great friend, very smart, kind, and also a big help with my Earth Science homework! I don’t think we ever stop missing the wonderful people in our lives who leave us but the deep sorrow does get better. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.


    Linda White DeMarco

  7. Matt Rzepka says:

    I remember when Mr. DeFries would walk through the billet grind area on Howard Ave. every morning on his tour of the plant.. he would make sure that we were all working safely and would see things about the job that I would miss and I was the supervisor.. He was a great man. My heart goes out to all of the family. Matt Rzepka

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