John M. MacIntosh, Jr., 74, of Poland, died peacefully at Select Specialty Hospital, Boardman, on May 18, 2018 following a lengthy illness.
A life-long resident of Poland, John graduated from Poland Seminary High School in 1961 and from Youngstown State University in 1965. He was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and participated in Army ROTC, where he was a member of the Scabbard & Blade Honor Society.
John was a quadriplegic for nearly 51 years, having been severely injured in an automobile accident shortly after his 1967 return from a year in Vietnam. He served as a U.S. Army Military Intelligence officer with the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion and retired with the rank of Captain. John spent more than a year at Walter Reed Medical Center and the Cleveland VA before coming home to Poland.
John’s life was far from easy. He faced many physical challenges daily, and simple tasks were difficult and time-consuming. In 1986 John was able to learn to drive a modified hand-control van which enabled him to travel, and, more importantly, to be an active participant in community service.
John was an especially strong advocate for persons with disabilities to have access to buildings and facilities.
He served for more than 40 years on the board of Easter Seals, and also was a board member for Mahoning County Red Cross, Community Foundation of Mahoning Valley, Poland Cemetery Association, the Youngstown Symphony, the Hine Memorial Fund and the Youngstown Foundation. He was a past president of the Butler Institute of American Art board of trustees. John was also instrumental in the establishment of the YSU Veterans Resource Center.
John began his community service in the 1970s as a member of the Ohio Governor’s Sub-Committee for Barrier-Free Architecture, an organization begun by Youngstown military veterans Carl Nunziato and Don Baker.
His successes - curb cuts, ramps, elevators, handicapped parking, automatic doors - promoted easy access as well as dignity and respect for those with disabilities. Accessibility at the Poland Post Office, the Poland Library, polling places, and city and county government offices were the result of countless presentations and on-site inspections. With the sponsorship of Easter Seals, John conducted voter registrations for the handicapped.
In addition to numerous military awards and commendations, including the Joint Services Commendation Medal, John received two awards from Easter Seals: the 1999 Anthony Vivo Community Service Award and the first Frances Schwebel Solomon Spirit and Life Award (2002). In 2007 he was honored as the Alumnus of the Year by the Poland Schools Foundation. This past November, John was presented the Cincinnatus Award by the Veterans Affairs Office at YSU for distinguished military and community service. John was a member of Poland Presbyterian Church.
John was always grateful to his mother, father and brother for their dedicated care, and to his loyal care-givers for the past 20 years, including Jonna Cambridge, Robert Cronin and Ulrike Black. John’s family appreciates the loving care and friendship extended to him by St. Elizabeth’s Belmont ICU and Select Care Boardman physicians, nurses, aides and therapists (especially his respiratory therapists) during his months of treatment.
John’s parents were the late J. Millard and Elizabeth G. MacIntosh. He leaves a brother, William R. MacIntosh, of Chestertown, MD; his sister-in-law Kay, and two nephews, Will and John; along with close relatives George R. Orr Jr., Kathy Orr Scheel and Mark Scheel and their daughters Gretchen and Lydia, and George R. Orr, III.
Despite his disabilities, John was a happy person who enjoyed and appreciated life, his family, his friends and his community. He was known for his generosity and a gracious manner that always put others at ease.
Calling hours will be held Monday, 4 to 7 p.m., at the Cunningham Becker Funeral Home, Poland. A private family burial is planned. A celebration of John’s life will be held on Sunday, June 3, at 4:30 p.m. at the Butler Institute of American Art, Wick Avenue, Youngstown. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to one of the charitable or civic organizations John served and supported.