John N. Gruitza, 76, of Hermitage, passed away Thursday evening, July 26, 2018 in the transitional care unit of Sharon Regional Medical Center, after a brief illness.
Mr. Gruitza was born May 6, 1942, in Sharon, a son of the late John and Aurelia (Vulcan) Gruitza.
He was a lifelong area resident and a 1960 graduate of Hickory High School.
John earned his bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and his master’s degree from Columbia University, New York, New York. He studied abroad at the University of York in England where he completed his fellowship and had a long distinguished career as an architect.
John began working at Hunter, Heighes and Associates in downtown Sharon and later opened John N. Gruitza Associates in 1974. During the past 40 years he designed many of the buildings in the Shenango Valley, including St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Hermitage. He was the first architect in the area to incorporate solar energy into projects and his firm was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification on several projects, one being the first of its kind in the entire United States. John loved providing housing for seniors and designed many of the HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) complexes. He was also interested in historical preservation and was a member of the Mercer County Historical Society.
He was a member of the American Institute of Architects and served on the board of directors for ARC of Mercer County.
John was a member of the former St. John’s Romanian Catholic Church, Hermitage and most recently attended St. Joseph Church, Sharon.
Surviving are two daughters, Leah Gruitza, of Asheville, North Carolina and Stacia Gruitza of Sharpsville; a granddaughter, Elleana Danilovics, who affectionately called him “Tati”; his fiancée, Rosanne Smithyman of Hermitage; his former wife and mother of his children, Cheryl (Ross) Barillare of Columbiana, Ohio; three sisters, Virginia “Gigi” Cannone and her husband, Dr. Michael Cannone of Naples, Florida; Andrienne Tychonievich of Hubbard, Ohio and Susan Seidel of Venice, Florida and two brothers, Attorney Michael Gruitza and his wife, Joan of Hermitage and George Gruitza of Sharon.
Besides his parents, John was preceded in death by a son, John “Jason” Gruitza, who passed away Wednesday, June 13, 2018.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 1 in St. Joseph Church, Sharon, with Rev. Thomas Whitman, pastor, as celebrant.
The family will receive friends immediately following the Mass in the gathering space of the church.
Funeral arrangements handled by J. Bradley McGonigle Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc.