Albert J. Canfora
Albert J. Canfora passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family in Akron on September 14 at the age of 92. The son of Italian immigrants, Albert was born in 1926 in Barberton where he continued to reside all his life.
Raised during the worldwide economic depression of the 1930's, he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944 at age 18. He served honorably as a World War II soldier in the Phillippine Islands. There he suffered an injury, was blinded in one eye at age 19 and began his ongoing activism on behalf of military veterans.
While recuperating after his injury, Albert met his future wife at Percy Jones Army Hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan. Anna Minarik of New Brighton, Pennsylvania, a nurse in the Women's Army Corps, married Albert Canfora in March, 1948. Their four children were born in Barberton in 1949, 1950, 1952 and 1958.
In 1952, Albert started his career as an aerospace worker and union activist at Goodyear Aircraft (later Goodyear Aerospace) and remained very active in his union for 30 years. Starting as a shop steward for United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 856, he continually supported workers' rights, benefits and fair contract negotiations. In the late 1950's, Albert helped organize a team of UAW union activists known as the Equality Slate to promote rights for all workers, including African Americans, in their workplace. Successful, these activists remained organized and strong under Albert's leadership as Vice President of Local 856.
Albert met National UAW union leader Walter Reuther--his labor role model--in April 1970, when Albert was an invited speaker at the UAW National Convention in Atlantic City, NJ.
Known for his compassion for those who struggle, Albert was inspired by the progressive ideals and accomplishments of the Democratic Party since President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs raised the U.S.A. out of the Great Depression and on to victory in World War II.
A proud Democratic Party supporter all his life, Albert served on the Barberton City Council during five decades starting in 1964 until 2005. An environmental activist, he sponsored legislation to help stop air pollution in his highly industrialized hometown and championed legislation facilitating the first curbside recycling program in NE Ohio. In 1976, Albert proudly marched with striking Barberton latex and hospital workers through the streets of his hometown.
After his son, Alan was injured by gunfire during the 1970 Kent State massacre, Albert, Anna and their family joined with other families of the Kent shooting victims in a long courtroom battle seeking truth and justice. After their arrests during a massive, peaceful civil disobedience protest at KSU in 1977, his case was dismissed in court, but Albert was recalled from Barberton City Council. A dedicated fighter on behalf of common people, he was again elected to city council in 1987 and was elected to two more terms before he retired from council and from public life in 2005.
In recent years, Albert lived a peaceful life at his home overlooking Lake Anna with his dear wife, Anna at his side each day. He especially enjoyed time with his loving family. An avid sports fan all his life, he faithfully watched nearly every game of the Cleveland Indians, Browns and Ohio State. And he excelled as an outstanding poker player at annual Canfora family gatherings.
Albert is survived by his wife, Anna; his sister, Mary Day; his son, Alan (wife Anastasia and their daughter, Maya); daughter, Roseann "Chic" Canfora (and her children, Michael, Natalie and Ian Knepp); son, Albert, Jr. "Sonny", and son, Mark (wife, Dena and children, Carly Nicholas, Brooke, Juliana, Dominic); one great-grandchild, Bryce (son of Carly and Gary Nicholas); and many extended family members and friends. Albert was preceded in death by his parents, Pasquale and Philomina; brothers, Louis, Vincent and Augustine and grandson, Mark II.
Visiting hours, Thursday, September 20, 1 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. at Campfield Hickman Collier Funeral Home, 566 West Park Avenue, Barberton.
Funeral Mass, 10 a.m., Friday, September 21, at St. Augustine Church, 204 6th St NW, Barberton, OH 44203.
Private military burial service Monday, September 24, at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman, Ohio.
In lieu of flowers, send donations in Albert's name to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital