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James P. "J.P." Mihaliak, Jr.

May 6, 1949 - April 5, 2024

Burial Date April 10, 2024

Family and friends may call at the Amos Carvelli Funeral Home, 201 Edison Street, Nutter Fort on Tuesday from 3:00 – 8:00 p.m. where Catholic Burial Rites will be held on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. with Father Walt Jagela presiding. Interment will follow in the Holy Cross Cemetery.

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James P. “J.P.” Mihaliak, Jr., 74, of Fenwick Mountain, WV, passed away unexpectedly at WVU Medicine Summersville Regional Medical Center on April 5, 2024.

He was born May 6, 1949 in Clarksburg, WV and was the son of the late James P. and Helen (Yankowski) Mihaliak Sr.

J.P. is survived by his wife of 52 years, Rose Mary (Carlomany) Mihaliak. Also surviving are brother Tom (Gail) Mihaliak and Monica (Gary) Maditz, nephew Rhyan (Kristina) Maditz, niece Adara (Zack) McCarty, great nephews Aiden Jeffrey, Elias James and great niece Evelyn Kate Maditz, multiple cousins and many special friends.

After graduating from Notre Dame High School in 1967, he graduated from Glenville State College in 1971 with a degree in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Safety Grades 1-12. J.P. played high school football and was the captain of the track team, he also played football at Glenville State. He completed post graduate work at Marshall University and the College of Graduate Studies.

He put his education to work throughout his career teaching Health, Kinesiology, Physical Education, and English. He always believed in making education fun and meaningful for his students. He was a teacher and coach at Van High School, in Van, WV for three years, leading their football team to their first winning season in eight years with only thirteen players in his first year of coaching. He was named defensive coach of the year. The duration of his career was completed at Park Junior High in Beckley, WV, retiring in 2004. He coached basketball, winning multiple county championships, football, wrestling, and track and field. During his last years he coached the Woodrow Wilson High School cross country teams. His teams won county and regional championships and finished with high rankings at the state meets. Coach Mihaliak was named 2003 Coach of the Year of the Coalfield Conference.

Sports, especially running, were his passion as a participant. He placed in hundreds of races at every distance from 5K to 50-milers, having completed ten 50-milers. J.P. was always supported in his 50-milers by his parents, sister and her family. Completion of multiple Olympic Distance Triathlons culminated in the event of which he was most proud. At the age of 40 he completed the 140.6 mile Full Ironman Triathlon which he considered the hardest thing he had ever done in his life. Also, at that age he ran his fastest marathon at 3 hours and 7 minutes, qualifying for the Boston Marathon. J.P. was a goal setter and when he set his mind to do something he accomplished it. The many friends he made through running shared his competitive spirit. They enjoyed meeting at races throughout the region for a little healthy competition. In the last 15 years he was joined in running by his wife. J.P. and Rose Mary competed in half and full marathons together often placing in their age group.

Starting at age 12 he developed a passion for weightlifting and bodybuilding. This progressed to bodybuilding competitions culminating in winning the 1980 Mr. West Virginia Tall Man competition. Bodybuilding afforded him the opportunity to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger and to work out at Muscle Beach in CA. During his 60s he competed in powerlifting, competing alongside Rose Mary and training her to win state titles in West Virginia and Virginia.

J.P. had many diverse interests and was a quick apprentice at everything he attempted. He enjoyed rabbit and squirrel hunting with his father, brother, and his uncle, Mike Audia. Completing many projects alongside Rose Mary and her father, he also enjoyed stone, masonry, and ceramic tile work. Taking their first trip across WV on their honeymoon, J.P. and Rose Mary enjoyed traveling, visiting 47 states and the majority of the National Parks. They also enjoyed wintering in Oceanside and Carlsbad, CA.

His cats were his special buddies.

While flowers are appreciated, the family request donations be made in J.P.’s memory to the New Hope Community Center, 2967 Nettie-Fenwick Road, Fenwick, WV 26202 or to an animal shelter of your choice.

Family and friends may call at the Amos Carvelli Funeral Home, 201 Edison Street, Nutter Fort on Tuesday from 3:00 – 8:00 p.m. where Catholic Burial Rites will be held on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. with Father Walt Jagela presiding. Interment will follow in the Holy Cross Cemetery.

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