John D. Bee (Tenor), retired college professor, college dean, university administration agitator, wine importer, and general bon vivant & raconteur died on April 18, 2023.
John was born in Clarksburg, West Virginia on November 30, 1943, to Raymond and Helen Bee. With his older brother Robert, the family moved several times in West Virginia and Ohio, ultimately settling in Tallmadge. In high school, John was active in student council and the golf and debate teams. He was proud to be among the first classes to graduate from the new Tallmadge High School. He attended Ohio University as an undergraduate and went on to receive a Doctoral Degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Music was a central and ever-present part of John's life. From childhood he sang, and in high school began to study voice formally. In the Summer of 1964, he met his forever love, Leonora (Allera), when they each were in Falmouth, Massachusetts with the Oberlin Players performing for the Summer Light Opera Season. They were married in August of 1966, and they celebrated fifty-three years of marriage before Leonora's passing in 2020.
John was a professor and administrator in the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Akron for over thirty years before continuing on to Ashland University as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. During this time, he and Leonora began travel to Italy, and they quickly developed a love for the country, the people and the wines of the Piedmont.
Together they bought and renovated a house in Cravanzana, Italy, and there they made a second home. John established John Bee & Famiglia Wines, specializing in importing the wines of the Langhe. In Cravanzana, they became a part of the community and loved to welcome family and friends to share in their joyous Italian life.
John was always active in his local community. He was a member of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, where he sang in the choir and served on the vestry. He later sang in the choir at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Akron and served on the endowment board. As his children grew, he coached soccer and debate in Tallmadge. He was a founding member of the Tallmadge chapter of Rotary International, and he recently fulfilled the role of emcee for the Rotary Reverse Raffle on March 17th.
John was preceded in death by his wife Leonora Allera Bee, his parents, Raymond “Stinger” and Helen Bee, and his brother, Robert Bee.
John is survived by his children Elissa (Matthew) Melia of Pittsburgh, Gregory (Sarah Hawkins) Bee of Cincinnati, and Daniel Bee of Stow; grandchildren Corey Melia, Allera Bee, Eden Bee and Henry Bee; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Visitation will be from 5 until 8 p.m. FRIDAY, May 5, 2023 at The Billow Company's Bissler & Sons Chapel, 628 W. Main St., Kent, OH, and from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. SATURDAY May 6, 2023 at the funeral home.
Memorial service will be 1:30 p.m. SATURDAY May 6, 2023 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1361 W. Market St., Akron, OH with Rev. Mark Pruitt officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to One of a Kind Pet Rescue, 1929 W. Market Street, Akron, OH 44313 or to the Humane Society of Summit County, 7996 Darrow Road, Twinsburg, OH 44087. Additional remembrances would be to wear a bow tie, to drink a glass of good wine, and to tell a wonderful story.
Services in care of The Billow Company's Bissler & Sons Chapel, 628 West Main Street, Kent, OH 44240.
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