NILES, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – John was born in Niles, Ohio in 1926 to John and Mary Saraya, who had immigrated from Croatia.

He worked as a boy for the Niles Times newspaper. John obtained his driver’s license at age 14.

During WWII, he joined the U.S. Army and served in the 128th Signal Service Battalion. He was sent to Europe as hostilities were ending. He was then sent to the Pacific Theatre and was aboard ship when word of Japan’s surrender was received.

He met and fell in love with Frances Lubanovic. They were married on October 27, 1951. They welcomed their son, John, in 1963. Fran passed away October 4, 1985 with John at her side.

John was an active member of the St. George’s Lodge 66 Croatian Home for 72 years, American Croatian Citizens Club and was a councilman at Sts. Peter and Paul Croatian Church.

John found employment with the Pennsylvania and Lake Erie Railroad, where he worked as a brakeman on trains. He left the railroad and went to work at Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company until they closed. John became a certified mechanic, working on the bowling machines at Hubbard Lanes. He retired from there but later found himself working at Youngstown Landscaping until he finally retired.

John’s talents included bricklaying, carpentry, electrician, plumber and mechanic. John found immense joy with his grandsons, John and Nick Saraya. He imparted his wisdom and love for his Croatian heritage on the boys. John and Nick became the source of support and travel, taking him shopping, running errands and spending time with him.

John will be missed terribly by those who knew him. He is survived by his sister, Josephine Fiorenzo; son, John and wife, Lisa, his grandsons, nieces and nephews.

Family and friends will be received on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. at Vaschak-Kirila Funeral Home on Canfield Road, followed by a funeral service at 11:00 a.m., also at the funeral home, with Fr. Rudjak officiating.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John, please visit our floral store.

A television tribute will air Tuesday, December 21 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.