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John H. Zavela


1937 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
John H. Zavela Obituary
JOHN H. ZAVELA Age 78, of San Bernardino, California, died peacefully at his home on Sept. 26, 2015, after battling pancreatic cancer. He was born January 20, 1937, in Indianapolis, Indiana, son of the late Anna and Harry Zavela. He was the beloved father of Yvonne Brinton (Michael) of San Bernardino; April Auberry (Lester) of San Bernardino; Vance (Jean Schiro-Zavela) of McLean, Virginia; and Lance (Ann) of Burbank, California. He is also survived by his sisters Minerva Laschuk of North Olmsted, Ohio; Mary Ann Holmes of Rocky River, Ohio; Stella Kinzel of North Royalton, Ohio; seven grandchildren; two great-granddaughters; numerous nieces and nephews; and many friends. He was predeceased by his sister Ann Zona. After graduating from West Tech High School in Cleveland, Ohio, John entered the United States Air Force in 1958 as an enlisted military aircraft mechanic at George Air Force Base in Adelanto, California. He served a four-year tour of duty, which took him to Thailand and Spain. John and his wife Janet (n‚e Barton) moved with their young family to San Bernardino, where he joined the San Bernardino City Fire Department in 1963, attaining the rank of battalion chief in 1978. During his 27 years with the Fire Department, John was involved with several major wildfires, including the 1970 Big Bear Fire and the 1980 Panorama Fire. He served as one of the training coordinators of the 1979 "Burn to Learn" exercise at the old Lake Arrowhead Village. While working full-time, he earned an Associate of Arts degree in fire science from San Bernardino Valley College in 1974, and a Bachelor of Science in fire protection administration from the California State University Los Angeles in 1980. He also received a certificate in public service administration from San Bernardino Valley College in 1976. He served as an adjunct faculty member at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1982. John was an accomplished musician, playing saxophone, clarinet, flute and wind controller at numerous community performances and church gatherings. He was an active member of Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church, as well as Life Changing Ministries, both in San Bernardino. In addition to his strong faith and his devotion to family, he was a steadfast believer in physical fitness and healthy eating. He competed in numerous Senior Games in horseshoes, badminton, table tennis, and shuffleboard. A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the California Fire Foundation (1780 Creekside Oaks Drive, Sacramento, CA 95833), Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church (1035 Inland Center Drive, San Bernardino, CA 92408), or a .
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Published in Press-Enterprise on Oct. 7, 2015
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