John Thomas Stephens died peacefully at home on October 1, 2020. He was the seventh of eleven children born to Clarence and Clara (Satow) Stephens, on June 8, 1925 in Washington, West Virginia. At 13, he earned the Golden Horseshoe Award for his knowledge of West Virginia history. He was baptized in the Little Kanawha River. He graduated from Parkersburg High School in 1942, worked on his family’s 150-acre farm, then served as a US Marine from 1944 to 1946. On the GI bill, he graduated from Ohio University with a BS in Commerce.
He worked for the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Akron from 1950-1985 in a variety of roles.
John dedicated his life to community organizations: Knights Templar of Akron, Tadmor Temple (60+ years each), Yusef Khan Grotto, and the American Legion (70 years). He was a charter member of Barberton Masonic Lodge 750 and was coronated as a 33rd Degree Mason of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in 1971. Being a devout Christian, he chose a guiding set of values and committed himself to them.
On Easter Sunday, 1965, John had his first date with Margaret Adele West. They went to dinner and saw the movie Mary Poppins. On Memorial Day weekend, Margaret met his folks on the farm. The following October 9, John and Margaret married at the Wadsworth Methodist Church, then honeymooned at Oglebay Park in Wheeling, West Virginia where they and their children and grandchildren returned annually for over 40 years.
In 1966, a son was born to them, full-term but stillborn. In 1967 and 1968, daughters Megan Jane and Bronwyn Jean were born and in 1969 the family moved from Barberton to “Westaways” in Bath, Ohio. In 1971, daughter Gwenan Joan was born.
John loved to travel, especially visiting his children and grandchildren in Colorado and Oregon. Family memories include many road trips crisscrossing the continent. His favorite journeys with Margaret included Alaska, Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland. He was a treasured mentor and leader, avid bird watcher, yard-care fanatic, Cleveland Indians fan, crossword puzzler, and newspaper reader from stem to stern. He was a beloved, hearty-laughing, impatient-boardgame-playing, scratchy-beard-kissing grandpa.
He was preceded in death by his parents, son, and siblings: Harold, Russell, Christine, Pauline, Rosalia, and Jean. He is survived by his wife and three children, Megan Morgan of Dillon, CO, Bronwyn Houston and husband Tyler of Wilsonville, OR, and Gwenan Poirier and husband Greg of Arvada, CO; six grandchildren, Emily and Grant Morgan, Riley and Sydney Houston, George and Vera Poirier; and four brothers, Darrell, Carlton, Edward, and Dean Stephens.
The remembrance of John’s life will be Friday, October 9 at Medina Presbyterian Church, 5020 Burgundy Bay Boulevard, Medina, OH 44256 (visitation 12-1 PM, memorial service 1-2 PM). John will be buried at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. The family asks for any donations to go to Haven of Rest Ministries, 175 E. Market St., Akron, OH 44308. To share a Memory, Send a Condolence, Light a Candle, or Send Flowers, visit the Tribute Wall at www.billowfuneralhomes.com
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