POLAND, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – John J. Whitinger, beloved husband, father and friend, passed away the morning of Friday, March 13, 2020, after a prolonged battle with brain cancer.
John is survived by his wife, Jennifer Ann (née McCreery); his two sons, Aaron (15) of Poland, Ohio and Stephan (32) of Idaho Falls, Idaho.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Rita Karen Smith and Phil Clark of Idaho.
He was born in Salem, Oregon, on April 10, 1967 and was the only child of Rita and Phil.
He moved to Idaho as a child where he graduated in 1985 from Caldwell High School.
John served our country in the Air Force from 1986 to 1990 Detachment 6 as a Tactical Air Command and Control Specialist and was stationed at McChord Air Force Base in Washington.
After the Air Force, he worked at Clemente McKay Ambulance as a Certified Emergency Medical Dispatcher. Computers also played an important part in John’s life. He was the Systems and Devices Integration Coordinator at Henry Schein Medical Systems and most recently the Senior Implementation Technician at Quest Diagnostics.
As a man of service with a passion for the greater good, John volunteered 20 years with the Western Reserve Joint Fire District and was also a Fire Safety Inspector during this time.
After being diagnosed with cancer, John discovered the real impact of the American Cancer Society and the success of Relay for Life in diagnosing and treating his form of cancer. He became heavily involved, culminating in his founding the Poland Relay for Life in 2008.
When his son Aaron started in the Cub Scouts, John became a cub master for Troop 44 in Poland, Ohio.
Church played an important role in John’s life as well. He was an Elder at Poland Presbyterian Church.
John was a devoted husband and father. He had a flair for model trains, building a basement-sized train layout with his son, Aaron. John was also famous for his creative, computerized Halloween displays, as well as his “Christmas on the Boulevard” light show that resulted in the nickname “Sparky” from his wife. To sum up John’s life in such few written words just can’t be done. What we do have, though, are the stories.
Family and friends gathered to hold vigil over John, ensuring he was not alone during his final battle. They came to support him; his wife, Jen and their son, Aaron. They also brought their stories. Countless stories of a man full of life, love, humor and a passion for the greater good. In the end, those stories are what sustain us, the ones who are left.
John’s impact on the world can be felt through the thousands of threads and connections with people. Cherish those stories, those memories of John. Those memories of your friendship and your love. Share them freely with each other. Remember John.
An avid jokester and prankster and smart aleck, he did, in fact, get the last laugh. He left us on Friday the 13th.
Calling hours will be held from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18 at the Rossi Bros. & Lellio Funeral Home, 4442 South Avenue in Boardman.
A graveside service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 19 at Poland Riverside Cemetery, with Paul Anderson and Dr. Debra Cerra officiating.
Memorial donations can be made to the Hospice House in Boardman or to Poland Presbyterian Church.
Family and friends may visit the Book of Memories at www.rossifunerals.com to send condolences to John’s family.
To send flowers in memory of John J. Whitinger, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
A television tribute will air Tuesday, March 17, at the following approximate times: 6:43 a.m. WYTV, 9:32 a.m. on WKBN, 10:58 a.m. on FOX and 8:12 p.m. on MyYTV.