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John Melnyk

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John Melnyk Obituary
(News story) John Melnyk, a longtime member of the Northwood Planning Commission who was devoted to feeding the city's hungry, died Wednesday at Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg. He was 71.

He had been diagnosed with cancer and was recently hospitalized for respiratory issues, his brothers said.

Mr. Melnyk lived nearly all his life in Northwood and began his civic career when he joined city council in 1985 when he was 37. He served two four-year terms on council and helped form Keep Northwood Beautiful, an accomplishment he told The Blade in 1993 that he was very proud of.

He later was appointed to the Northwood Planning Commission, a board he continued to serve on until his death.

"He was very much appreciated in Northwood," city Administrator Bob Anderson said. "We're a small community, so a lot of people knew John. John did a lot for the city of Northwood and the surrounding area."

Mr. Anderson said he got to know Mr. Melnyk in the seven years that he has been city administrator. He described him as intelligent and easy to work with.

"He was genuinely a good guy. He cared about the community," Mr. Anderson said.

In addition to serving on city council and the planning commission, Mr. Melnyk was passionately involved in Northwood's food bank. He and other volunteers would pick up food each month from the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank and distribute it to Northwood families in need.

Mr. Melnyk also raised funds each year during the holidays to ensure that families could have a turkey or ham to prepare for holiday dinners.

"John just enjoyed doing that. He felt like he was doing good and giving back to the families," his brother Michael Melnyk said.

City officials in 2016 nominated Mr. Melnyk to be the Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber of Commerce's Person of the Year, an award he won.

"I think he was very proud of that," Mr. Anderson said.

Mr. Melnyk spent 35 years working for what is now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. He started in the press room and retired in 2001 after several years spent working in the quality control department.

He served as secretary for UAW Retirees Local 1435 and attended many luncheons and outings for retired union members.

He was born Sept. 3, 1947, in Feldkirch, Austria, to Maria and Wasyl Melnyk. He and his mother boarded a boat for the United States when he was 2 and settled in Toledo. His father joined them in 1950, and shortly after the family built a home in Northwood.

He attended Northwood public schools through eighth grade and graduated from Cardinal Stritch High School. He spent two years at Bowling Green State University before taking a semester off with the intent of transferring to the University of Toledo, then called Toledo University.

He secured his job at Chrysler before transferring, and soon after he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

He spent one year training in the U.S. and a second year stationed in Germany. He was trained as a cook but ended up working as a supply clerk instead, his brother Michael said. While abroad, he visited his birthplace in Austria. He became a U.S. citizen in April, 1972.

He married the former Carol Reinhart, with whom he attended grade school and middle school, in May, 1971, after he returned home from the service. The two lived in Northwood throughout their marriage. She died Jan. 1, 2017.

The Melnyk family has Ukrainian roots, and both Mr. Melnyk and his father were involved in the Ukrainian National Association Branch 235. He also performed traditional Ukrainian dancing and singing.

"He was a very good singer," his brother Bill Melnyk said.

He was an avid baseball fan and could spout off Cleveland Indian statistics from memory. When he was in his 20s and 30s he would take his younger brothers to opening day in Cleveland.

Surviving are his daughter, Mother Johanna Marie, a Benedictine nun who was born Veronica Melnyk; brothers Bill and Michael Melnyk; and sister Mary Ann Riddle.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Sujkowski-Walker Funeral Home in Rossford.

The family suggests tributes to the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank.

This is a news story by Sarah Elms. Contact her at [email protected], 419-724-6103, or on Twitter @BySarahElms.
Published in The Blade on Jan. 14, 2019
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