John Swope

COLUMBIANA – John Robert “Johnny” Swope, 91, passed away Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, after a courageous six year battle with cancer at his home in Columbiana, with his family by his side.

He was born in Columbiana, on Dec. 6, 1921, to John Abraham and Mable Marie (Basinger) Swope, and lived in the area his entire life.

John attended North Lima High School and excelled in basketball. He was a leader on the basketball team, receiving all county honors for three consecutive years from 1938 to 1940.

John proudly served in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Cimarron AO 22 in the Pacific Fleet during World War II.

John was employed by General Fireproofing as a storekeeper, owned a farm south of Columbiana, and later worked at Franklin Furniture for 38 years, where he retired as a superintendent. He was custodian of the Grace Church for 47 years.

John made a positive impact on many throughout his life. He was a member at the Washingtonville post VFW and the Columbiana American Legion Post. He most enjoyed his affiliation with the Grace Church, acting as Church Deacon and Elder for many years.He had a variety of hobbies that included horse shoes, gardening, and camping. One of his favorite places to sneak off to was his home in Florida during the winters.

He joins his parents; his first wife, the former Josephine A. Bair, whom he married on Sept. 28, 1940, and who died Jan. 9, 1990; a grandson, Craig Alan Swope; and a brother, James W. Swope.

Alongside many nieces and nephews, John is survived by his loving wife, the former Marilyn Cobb Merlo, whom he married on Oct. 14, 2000; his children, Philip S. (Karen) Swope, Lee A. (Margaret) Swope, Mark and Cindy Merlo, Brian and Lori Merlo, and Anita (Merlo) Smith; 10 grandchildren, Kirsten (Swope) Caston, Sara Swope, Abby Swope, Cory Merlo, Carlie Merlo, Marina Merlo, Joe Hornsby, Tyler Smith, Jacob Oppenheimer, and Nicholas Merlo; and four great-grandchildren, Nicole Caston, Christopher Caston, Aubrey Hornsby, and Logan Hornsby. He also is survived by a sister, Martha (Swope) Graft; and his very favorite feline, “Miss Ellie.”

A funeral service will be held at the Grace Church in Columbiana on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Rob Joy and the Rev. John Brownsberger officiating.

Family will receive friends on Friday, Jan. 18, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Seederly-Mong and Beck Funeral Home in Columbiana and also one hour prior to the service Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Grace Church.

Military honors will be conducted by the American Legion Post 290 at Columbiana Cemetery Chapel following the committal at the cemetery.

If friends wish, the family suggests that material contributions may be made to Hospice of the Valley, 5190 Market St., Youngstown, OH 44512, or to the Grace Church, 140 South Main St., Columbiana, OH 44408.

Family and friends are invited to visit to sign the guestbook or to leave private condolences.