John attended the Church Farm School in Frazer, Pennsylvania, beginning his residence there. He was popularly known as “Mickey” in school, and played forward on the basketball team and tackle on the football team. John was also a sprinter and weight man on the track team. He was said to be the schools best farmer.
John overcame several illnesses in his youth - Measles, Mumps, Chicken Pox, and Scarlet Fever - but successfully recovered from them all. According to the yearbook, he was the portliest and most jovial of his class.
After graduation, John assisted in the dairy program at the school and a few years later obtained employment at Abbott Dairies.