John E. Wienel III, 1950-2018

On Thursday, September 6, 2018, age 67, of Middlesex Twp., Valencia.
Born in Pittsburgh, PA on December 8, 1950, he was the son of the late John E. and Lorrainna Langdon Weinel, Jr.
John was the founder of his own company and was very active with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for water rescue. He belonged to the Explorer’s Club of Pittsburgh. An avid spelunker, he was a member of the Pittsburgh Grotto of the National Speciological Society, the National Association for Search and Rescue and the International Technical Rescue Symposium.
Surviving are his significant other of 30 years, Pamela Long of Pittsburgh; a son, John E. Weinel, IV of Rochester, PA; a brother, John “Butch” Weinel (Mary Jo) of Butler; and four nephews, A.J. (Sierra), Hunter, Harrison and Spencer Weinel. He was preceded in death by a sister, Jacqueline Weinel. Family and friends will have a celebration of life at a later date.
Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on September 14, 2018
When I think of John Wienel I think of his gravely voice, his ability to tell stories, a gecko or some other such critter in the bottom of a liquor bottle that he showed off at his place, his Rock-n-Rescue tent at the Old-Timers Reunion, the bat flight from his barn on summer evenings, his generosity to grottos and cave conservancies, including MAKC. He wasn’t a large man, but his persona was larger than life in many ways. I think of Pam and the relationship they shared for many years.
Anyone who spends time going back through issues of The Netherworld News of a certain time period will find their names frequently, as they were quite active in Pittsburgh Grotto, writing articles, editing the News, doing some guidebooks, hosting MAR meets, parties at their home.
The passage of time makes news of some old friends’ passing less surprising, but nonetheless sad, with memories of days gone by much too quickly, people lost in what seems like way too little time. —Kim Metzgar