John Clifford Anema Jr. passed away on Sunday, April 28, 2013, after a hard fought battle with cancer. A memorial service will be held on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Wilkerson Funeral Home.
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John was born in Passaic, N.J. on August 31, 1947. He grew up in Point Pleasant, N.J. where his love of the outdoors began. John loved fishing, kayaking, canoeing, camping and he experienced spirituality through nature. He gave many years of service to the Sierra Club, the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation and other environmental causes and received numerous awards for his volunteerism and his environmental work. His professional accomplishments include receiving the Pitt County Young Professional of the Year award and the ECU Distinguished Service Award. He was a former president of the Pitt County chapter of the Pirate Club Alumni Association. John was employed with The Pitt County Mental Health Center for 25 years where he formed lasting friendships and positively impacted many lives. After retirement, he opened a private counseling practice and continued helping others cope with life's daily challenges. His work with the Eastern Carolina Vocational Center was so meaningful to him and he loved the many people he came to know over the years he worked there as an EAP counselor. John was very proud to have accomplished a lifelong goal of completing his Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Studies at ECU in 2011, while battling cancer. An avid tennis player, John won many tournaments including the Greenville City Men's doubles championship, the 2011 Senior Games Mixed Doubles State Championship, the 2012 Senior Games Men's Doubles State Championship and was on the team that won the 2011 USTA men's doubles state championship. He was most proud of the relationships he formed with the many wonderful people in his life. He touched many lives with his positive energy and ever present smile. John's philosophy was to do something fun everyday and he imparted this wisdom to benefit those who knew him. A truly good man, John will be sorely missed, and his memory cherished by many.
John is survived by his wife Karen; stepchildren, Alyssa Ventimiglia and Tony Ventimiglia; sister, MaryAnne Norman and husband, Wayne; sister-in-law, Denise Adkins; and brother-in-law, Lee Adkins; aunt, Ruth Casseles; and uncle, Bob Anema and wife, Linda. He is also survived by his beloved dogs, Macie and Frazier, and his parrot Tiki, as well as his many, many wonderful friends.
The family will receive friends tonight from 6 to 8 at Wilkerson Funeral Home.
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Online condolences at www.wilkersonfuneralhome.com.
Published in The Daily Reflector on May 1, 2013