John Samuel Partenheimer

July 17, 1958March 27, 2021

John Samuel Partenheimer, 62, of Indianapolis, Indiana, died Saturday, March 27, from complications of non-Covid related pneumonia.

John was born July 17, 1958, in Hillsborough, California. His family moved to Indianapolis in 1961 when he was three years old. He attended North Central High School, where he sang in Counterpoints and founded the band Clarian.

John graduated from the Indiana University School of Business in 1980. He was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and the Indiana University Student Foundation Steering Committee.

After graduation, John worked briefly at American Fletcher National Bank but left to pursue his passion for music.

Besides being a lifelong musician, John was interested in computer technology and completed a second degree at IUPUI in Computer Science. He worked in IT for the rest of his career, both with Sallie Mae as a Sr. Systems Analyst and for the last ten years at First Data Bank, he was a Manager of Software Development.

In 2004 John married the love of his life, Janet Pirillo, on Valentine's Day. They tried to elope in Las Vegas, but their families wouldn't hear of it and followed them to be part of the celebration.

John was best known for being one of the founding members of PolkaBoy, where he was the lead singer and played the clarinet. He could play any instrument he picked up and could play any song by ear. John entertained countless thousands with PolkaBoy's infectious and joyful music.

John is survived by his wife, Janet, his Mom, Dessie Partenheimer Koch, his sisters Nancy (Mike) Duffy, Sally (Tim) Claffey, Jane (Mike) Jones, stepsister Nina Koch, stepbrother Stu (Lynn) Koch. He was the favorite uncle to Jack, Grace, Sally, Michael, Matt, Evan, Brian, Hannah, Sophia, Ciana, Matteo, and Alessio. His father, John A. Partenheimer, and his stepfather, Stuart H. Koch, precede him in death.

John's spirit and memory allow us to go forward. We will never forget his quiet smile, the twinkle in his eye, and his unmistakable baritone voice. Now.. in heaven, there IS beer. Ya! Ya! Ya!

Due to Covid restrictions, a celebration of life will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Sigma Chi Foundation at

Leppert Mortuary - Nora Chapel assisting with arrangements. To share a memory or condolence, please visit


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


John Samuel Partenheimer

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Robert Bayless

April 10, 2021

I was devastated when John passed. I spent March 27th writing down all of the good times that we had together.
John and I met on the first day of fourth grade. It was an instant friendship. From sports to music and just being crazy we shared a life. Thank you for jelly crackers, Robsky and Putch, Ponce de Leon, Turmoil, Counterpoints, Clarian, Cork n Cleaver, singing at my wedding in Tahoe, letting me “crash” your wedding in Vegas and all of the good times. John was the only childhood friend that has remained my best bud throughout. I will miss him everyday of my life.
My love and condolences go out to Janet, Dessie, Nancy, Sally, Janie and all of his friends and family.

Rob Bayless

Jean Regas

April 6, 2021

Janet dear,
I am so sorry to learn of John's death. Such a loss for you and his family.
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
With heartfelt sympathy,
Jean Regas

Margo Regas

April 6, 2021

Dearest Janet,
I was so incredibly sorry to hear of the death of your beautiful husband. I truly have no words of wisdom, and am at a loss of what to say. Please know I have had you and all the the family on my mind and the in my prayers since I heard of his passing Sunday. He touched many many lives, but no one more than you. Hold onto your memories, and let those that love you, hang on to you and keep you close.

Margo “Nurse”

Tony Bowman

April 6, 2021

We were so sorry to hear about John's passing. Our hearts go out to you Janet and all of John's family and close friends. He was a really good guy and so much fun to be around. We will always have fond memories of times spent with John through the years especially race weekends, darts and jam sessions at the Clarian house and, of course, watching him perform on stage with PolkaBoy.
We will miss him.

Big T and Nancy

Terri Bertrang

April 5, 2021

John brightened up my life and the life of so many others with his performances with Polka Boy. He was truly a treasure to the city of Indianapolis and summers will never be the same. Rest In Peace.

Jay Simmons

April 5, 2021

You could do nothing but smile when John was present. A truly great singer and musician. Was loved by many and will be missed by all who knew him. Condolences to his family and polka lovers everywhere.

Bob Deitch

April 5, 2021

I was deeply saddened to hear of John’s passing. We were good friends through Nora Elementary School, Northview Jr. High School, and North Central High School. We were also fraternity brothers at Sigma Chi at IU. Though I lost touch with John as time passed, every time Polka Boy was mentioned, I would think of him. What a gift, to be able to bring so much joy to so many people!

My fondest memories of John were at his home when we were boys. John, John Black, and I would just hang out, as boys do.

My deepest sympathies to John’s wife and family.

Emma Engelhardt

April 5, 2021

My condolences for your loss. The loss of this bright light will be felt by many. I only know John for his lively role in the best band in the world, PolkaBoy. This band is a joy factory. It pleases me to know there is now beer in heaven. Thank you for sharing such a loving account of his passionate life. John will be missed.

Gina Granger

April 5, 2021

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. John will be missed by many. I enjoyed working with him and was especially glad to have had the opportunity to experience his musical talents. Thoughts and prayers to your family during this difficult time.

Warmest Regards,

Judy Muirhead

April 4, 2021

What a guy! What a SMILE! This is how I remember seeing Johnny -always Smiling - whether entertaining with PolkaBoys all over central Indiana or sitting and laughing with family and friends at Dessie's house! Smiling! Smiling! Smiling!
Dessie, Janet, Nancy, Sally, Janie, Nina and Stu: carry that smile and his spirit with you, and you'll never be alone! Judy Muirhead