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Long-time faculty member John Pataky '49 passes away

  • Alumni

McCallie is sad to pass along the news that one of its all-time student and faculty giants, John Pataky, class of 1949, died at his Lookout Mountain home on Tuesday with his wife Debbie by his side. He was 90.

A five-year boarding student from Orlando, Florida, Pataky rose to the rank of Captain during the school's military school days, lettered in soccer, swimming, diving and track and was the head cheerleader. He was also a member of the Senate, Student Council and Keo-Kio before heading off to Georgia Tech, and later the 101st Airborne Infantry Division during the Korean War.

But as impressive as his early years were, it was what he achieved after returning to Missionary Ridge in 1957 as a mathematics teacher that most led to his receiving his class's alumni achievement award in 2019. Nor was his 50 years and three months as a member of the faculty before his retirement in 2007 his only memorable accomplishment. John served as Chairman of the Math Department for 18 years. He was a former TEPS advisor. He was the Endowed Chair of Mathematics alongside Mr. Chalmers McIlwaine.

John was also a member of the Greater Chattanooga Area Hall of Fame, as well as the Tennessee Swimming Hall of Fame after leading the Blue Tornado to nine state championships in that sport. He won the Keo-Kio Distinguished Award, as well as the Herbert Smothers Teaching Award. John also coached cross country, soccer and track.

Read his full obituary below.



John T. Pataky, 90, of Lookout Mountain, GA, passed away suddenly at his home on Tuesday, September 13, 2022.

Mr. Pataky was a graduate of The McCallie School and Georgia Tech.  He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict and returned to “The Ridge” where he taught all levels of mathematics for 50+ years to “his boys.”  John was a head coach for 46+ years, coaching and mentoring thousands of McCallie boys who remained close to his heart.  He coached Cross Country, Track, Soccer, and Swimming for 106+ athletic seasons.  The Math Center, as well as the McCallie Aquatics Center, are named in his honor.  John lived by a lifelong motto of “Honor, Truth, and Duty “!  As well as Excellence which he strived for in life, the classroom, As well as in the pool or on the field. The list of his accomplishments would be too long to list here.

John made a huge impact on the lives of over 6000 McCallie students He taught and coached in a career span of over 50 years. They will never forget Coach Pataky. John was a numbers guy all his life and could tell you the times and wins set by so many of ‘His boys” that He was SO very proud of.

Mr. Pataky was preceded in death by his parents, Tibor & Ellen Pataky, first wife, Alice Pataky, “daughter-in-love”, Vickie White, and a precious granddaughter, Ashleigh Lusk.

Left to cherish his memory is his wife of “20 glorious years” as he just remarked last week, Debbie Martin Pataky; sister, Mary Haynie of New Hope, PA; nieces & nephews, Karen, Brian, David & Keith; Debbie’s daughter that he loved as his own, Melissa (Jimmy) Bryant; son-in-law, Bill White; grandsons, Robert Lusk, Tripp White, & Rhett White; great-granddaughter, Alyissa Sue.

Mr. Pataky will be laid to rest in a private service at the Chattanooga National Cemetery.

Online expressions of sympathy may be shared at

Should you choose to contribute to John’s memory, these are two funds that were dear to his heart. The Faculty Support Fund, The McCallie School, 500 Dodd’s Avenue, Chattanooga, Tenn.37404

Or to the Vickie White Memorial Fund, North Lafayette Elementary School, 610 N. Duke Street Lafayette, Ga 30728.

A Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m. ET in the Chapel on the McCallie School Campus on Sunday, October 2.

Arrangements are entrusted to Ryan Funeral Home & Crematory, Trenton, GA.