SALEM, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – John Oana, Jr., born on January 22, 1928, passed away peacefully on Saturday, December 25, 2021 at the age of 93 with his family by his side.
He was the fourth child born to Ioan (John) and Iliana (Helen) Canja Oana both of Parau, Romania and Salem, Ohio. He was born at home by midwife, Susana Buta and was baptized at the Romanian Greek Orthodox church in Niles, Ohio on February 25, 1928. With the scarcity of a priest to hold Mass at St. John’s Romanian Church, Salem, Ohio, John and his siblings joined the First United Methodist Church on S. Broadway in grade school.
John was also the nephew of the highly decorated and historical “Heroine of the Olt”, Lucretia Canja Manciulea Butum, who guided the out-numbered WWI Romanian Army on September 6, 1916, at night, under fire, across the dangerous rushing current of the Olt River near Parau, the family’s village and on to a victorious battle against the large Hungarian Army. She was highly decorated for her heroism by King Ferdinand of Romania in 1918. She made sure all of her nieces and nephews carried her patriotism and love for country here in America as well.
He attended the old Columbia Street School, Salem Jr. High and was a member of the Salem High School graduating class of 1947. He went on to study industrial arts, focusing on woodworking and art and graduated from The Ohio State University in 1951 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.
The son of Romanian peasant immigrants, John had a strong work ethic and began his first job at Scott’s Candy Store on East State Street selling popcorn on the sidewalk outside the entrance for 15 cents an hour. His perfectionism, which he learned from his mother and father and Romanian aunts and uncles, carried with him throughout his career and lifetime.
Ever patriotic, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in early 1946 soon after WWII and served for two years. After being honorably discharged, he attended The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
He married the love of his life, Cora Ann Kampfer, whom he referred to as “beautiful Cora”, on November 22, 1951 at the First Methodist Church in Salem, Ohio. Cora preceded him in death on September 13, 2018.
His 30-year teaching career began at Leetonia High School teaching wood shop. He began teaching wood shop at Salem High School in 1956 and later became supervisor of OWE classes.
In 1980, he and Cora opened the Cor-Jon Furniture Company at 333 Benton Road in Salem, Ohio. John continued to be active in his wood shop and store until his death.
His love for his alma mater, The Ohio State University, never waned. Expressions of this can be seen throughout his home, store and mill. He never missed an Ohio State football game, even up to the end of this season. GO BUCKS!
His first love after his wife was making furniture. He was also skilled in colors and decorating. He never got tired of making Mission, Shaker, Colonial and Early American style furniture. His second love was horses and horseback riding, which he shared with his wife. They loved riding the trails at Beaver Creek. His third love was traveling and attending wood working/furniture shows all over the country. He was an avid reader and he encouraged people to continue learning long after he retired from teaching.
His love, care and devotion to his wife was obvious to anyone around them and his respectful, chivalrous ways and politeness never faded from his actions throughout his life.
Besides his parents, three sisters, Areta Irene Enders, Victoria Kaiser (Salem teacher) and Helen Johnson (Salem teacher); niece, Jeffeney Johnson DeBarr (Salem teacher) and nephew, Jan Kaiser also preceded him in death.
He was a life member of the Elks, was affiliated with Salem Historical Society, the Salem Alumni and was a Methodist by faith.
Upon his death, he and Cora leave many nieces and nephews, Elaine Reiter, Tyrone Enders, Jerry (Doug) Johnson, Fred (Carol) Kaiser, Marcia (Marvin) Carroll, Brenda Myers and Brian (Janet) Dickey, as well as several great and great-great-nieces and nephews.
Friends and family will be received from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Friday, December 31, 2021 at Stark Memorial Funeral Home and Cremation Services, followed by a funeral service will be at 11:00 a.m.
Burial will be at Hope Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please make Memorial Contributions to The Salem Public Library, 821 East State Street, Salem OH, 44460 in John and Cora’s memory.
If unable to attend, you may show your support by joining our complimentary “Hugs from Home” program where your message will be attached to a balloon in the chapel to remind the family of your love and support at www.starkmemorial.com/hugs-from-home.
To send condolences, visit www.starkmemorial.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Oana Jr., please visit our floral store.
A television tribute will air Tuesday, December 28 at the following approximate times: 6:43 a.m. on WYTV, 9:32 a.m. on WKBN, 10:58 a.m. on FOX and 8:12 p.m. on MyYTV.