CANFIELD, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – John Maluso, Sr., 97, of Canfield, a long-time educator, administrator and city activist, passed away on Saturday, October 16, 2021, at Hospice of the Valley. He died from complications of COVID-19. Despite being fully vaccinated and recovering from the acute illness, he was weakened by the disease and unable to recover.
John was born on May 13, 1924, in Fairmont, West Virginia. He was the son of Pasquale (Patsy) Maluso and Maria Teresa (Audia) Maluso. The youngest of eight surviving children, John and his family moved to Youngstown in 1926 after his father’s death, settling in the city’s west side.
John attended Stambaugh School then went on to Chaney High School, graduating in the June class of 1942.
During his freshman year at the then Youngstown College, John was drafted into the U.S. Navy and was attached to the newly-created construction battalion known as the Seabees. He served on Guadalcanal which was where the U.S. Navy Seabees first served under combat conditions. The 6th Naval Construction Battalion supported the invasion, repairing Henderson Airfield and other facilities on the islands of Guadalcanal and Tulagi. John later participated in the liberation of Okinawa.
After the war, John returned to Youngstown College, earning his B.A. in 1949. He later went on to earn a Master of Education in Speech and Hearing Pathology from Kent State and a Master of Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.
A lifelong educator, John began his teaching career in 1949 at North Jackson High School. In 1951, he moved to Hayes Junior High School where he taught for another six years. He then became a full-time speech pathologist for seven Youngstown schools, including Covington, Tod, Hayes and The Rayen School.
John served as Assistant Principal at Hillman Junior High from 1962-65, Assistant Principal at Chaney High School from 1965-68, Principal at Chaney from 1968-74, and Principal at The Rayen School from 1974-76 before he was promoted to the Director of Pupil Personnel and Compliance Officer for Youngstown City Schools, a position he held from 1976 until his retirement in 1985.
Following his retirement, John served on the Youngstown Board of Education for eight years with two terms as President. In his tenure on the Board, he worked with fellow Board members and community leaders to successfully pass a much-needed school levy that made possible the revitalization of existing schools as well as the construction of several new schools.
John was quiet and humble and he never brought his work home with him. In later years, John’s children were often amazed to hear stories from his former students, dating back to his first teaching assignments and through his days as a principal, about how he positively changed and impacted their lives and how grateful they were to him. He never boasted about his accomplishments as an educator and never sought recognition for his actions; he simply took pride in seeing his students reach their potential and succeed.
John demonstrated his love of the Youngstown area with his years of service to the community. He was a member of the downtown Elks Club and the Chesterton Club, President of Mill Creek Kiwanis, President of the West Side Merchants and Civics Association, President of the Youngstown Playhouse, and President of the Youngstown School Board. John also served for many years on the Brier Hill Italian Festival committee and the Downtown Streetscape, was a precinct Committeeman for 4B, 4th Ward Democratic Party, was on the Festival Committee for the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Festival and was a member of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
John was a voracious reader, avid writer and poet. He played a featured role in the film “Fine Tune,” written and directed by Youngstown native Chris Rutushin, which followed the life of an Italian family in Youngstown in the 1970s. He enjoyed cultivating a garden and planted and grew tomatoes for many years. He even engaged his grandchildren in his gardening and planted special varieties of tomatoes in their honor during summers when they visited. At the age of 97, he had no significant health conditions, mostly attributed to his lifelong daily exercise and his love of a good meal and glass of wine. John was always entertaining—he frequently broke into song and dance for the benefit of his family and friends, especially in his later years. He never failed to make his family smile.
John and his wife, Claire (Saunders) Maluso, were married just shy of 71 years. The way he still looked at Claire after all those years was truly beautiful to witness. Their special bond and lifelong commitment set an enviable example for all to emulate. John was the consummate husband, father and grandfather and he loved his wife and family in a way that always made them feel his sincere adoration. His children and grandchildren can’t recall ever hearing him raise his voice in anger.
John and Claire made their home on the west side of Youngstown for 63 years before moving into a parents’ suite built for them in the home of their daughter and son-in-law, Mary Jo and Rick Blackson, in Canfield. John spent the last several years at Windsor Estates in New Middletown, before very recently moving to the Inn at Christine Valley.
John was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Claire, who passed away this year on June 6, 2021; his parents; brothers, Sam (Velma) Maluso and Joe (Ann) Maluso and sisters, Mary (Ross) Barber, Rose (Carl) Pupio, Theresa (Al) Stoeckli, Sarah (Frank) Carsonie and Lucy (Frank) Ambrose.
John is survived by his two children, John, Jr. (Andrea) of Plano, Texas and Mary Jo (Rick Blackson) of Canfield, as well as two grandchildren, Dr. Patrick (Kim) Maluso of Shaker Heights and Attorney Lauren (Drew) Fugate of Dallas, Texas along with numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Because the family was so personally impacted by COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution and concern for others’ health, a private commitment service was held Friday, October 29, 2021, at Greenhaven Cemetery in Canfield. With the fervent hope that the current wave of COVID has waned by Spring, the family plans to have a celebration of John’s life sometime in May 2022 to coincide with what would have been John’s 98th birthday. A public announcement will be made closer to that time.
The family wishes to thank all of the caregivers that shared a part of his life at Windsor Estates, especially Ashley Croyle, who was near and dear to his heart, the staff and caregivers at the Inn at Christine Valley, and those at Hospice of the Valley who helped ease his passing.
Special thanks to Chelsey Santucci of Rossi & Santucci Funeral Home for his professional and compassionate care in handling the funeral arrangements for John and his wife over the last five months.
Chaney High School was a big part of John’s life. In addition to his years as Assistant Principal and Principal, he was Senior Class President and did his student teaching there in 1949. Chaney is also where John met his future wife, Claire Saunders, who was working as the Administrative Assistant to the Principal when he was a student-teacher. John said that his proudest moments at Chaney came from being able to present diplomas to his two children, John and Mary Jo in 1970 and 1974.
For these and many more reasons, the family asks that in lieu of flowers, any memorial donations be made to the 501(c)(3) charitable organization “Once a Cowboy, Always a Cowboy” that was created to help Chaney graduates or their families in times of true need. Donations may be sent to: Once a Cowboy, Always a Cowboy, PO Box 3024, Youngstown, OH 44511. Checks may be made payable to OACAAC.
Arrangments are being handled by Rossi & Santucci Funeral Home.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Joseph Maluso, Sr., please visit our floral store.
A television tribute will air Monday, November 1 at the following approximate times: 5:17 a.m. on WKBN, 8:39 a.m. on FOX, 5:21 p.m. on WYTV and 6:35 p.m. on MyYTV.