John J. Gembar, age 86, passed away Tuesday, January 5, 2010.|
He was born January 6, 1923 in Beaver Falls, Pa. to parents John and Anna Gembar. John was a long time resident, calling Ravenna home since the age of two. He was very involved in his hometown serving as a Ravenna city councilman, councilman-at-large, city council president and ultimately serving two terms as the Mayor of Ravenna. John also served as chairman of the Portage County Democratic Party and a member of the Portage County Board of Elections. Mr. Gembar was a decorated World War II veteran proudly serving as a paratrooper and combat medic with the 326th parachute engineer company of the 101st Airborne Division. John saw action in Normandy, Holland and Bastogne. He was awarded the Purple Heart twice. Other decorations include the Bronze Star, the French Croix de Guerre and the Belgian Forgier. John was a member of the Ravenna VFW post, the 101st Airborne Association and Knights of Columbus.
John retired as Executive Vice-President of Robinson Memorial Hospital and was instrumental in the passage of the bond levy enabling the construction of the new hospital. He was a member of Immaculate Conception Church where he served as an usher.
John is survived by his wife of 67 years, Grace. John is also survived by his children, Carol Valeri of Ravenna, James Gembar of Alliance, and Richard (Alison) Gembar of Nashville, Tenn. He also leaves his grandchildren, Jamie (Bradley) Huntsman of Moon Twp., Pa., Stephen Gembar of Largo, Fla., Christina Gembar of Dublin, Ohio, James (Kara) Valeri of California, John (Cindy) Valeri of California, Theresa (Daniel) Zaborac of California, and Katie and Evan Smith of Nashville, Tenn. Surviving also are his great-grandchildren, JC Valeri and Amelia Zaborac.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Family will receive visitors on Friday, January 8, 2010 from 5 until 8 p.m. at the Wood-Kortright-Borkoski Funeral Home, 703 E. Main St., Ravenna. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Reverend David Misbrener on Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 11 a.m. at the Immaculate Conception Church, 409 W. Main St., Ravenna. Entombment will follow at St. Mary Cemetery. The family requests that donations be made to the Portage County Animal Protective League, 8122 Infirmary Rd., Ravenna, Ohio 44266. Please share your memories at www.mem.com.
Published in Akron Beacon Journal on Jan. 7, 2010