John VanKirk passed away on Saturday, April 15, 2023, at 11:00 p.m. from complications of Agent Orange. He has joined his family in heaven 46 days after his sister, Joanne Grim, passed on March 1, 2023. This has completed the life cycle of his parents, Abraham and Rose Kale VanKirk, and they are all together again. John was born on June 9, 1949, and was the youngest of five children.
John attended Western Reserve High School and had various jobs including working in his mom’s restaurant. He was beginning his career at General Motors when he received his draft notice. While waiting to be processed in Cleveland, John saw a United States Marine in his dressed blues and immediately made the decision to enlist in the United States Marine Corp. (Just because of the dress blues!) He served from April 1969 to April 1971 and for most of the time was in Vietnam waking up every day covered in orange dust. John served our country proudly and his service medals included the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. Semper Fi Marine!!
John picked the day, June 13, 1992, to marry his wife, the former Barbara Wolf, who he taught to love the outdoors. Together they enjoyed camping, fishing, and boating. They loved to travel, loved family time, and John loved working on cars.
In 2002, John retired from General Motors and he and Barbara moved to Spring Hill, FL, where he had various construction and maintenance jobs. John and Barbara enjoyed the Florida life, especially camping on the Gulf of Mexico. They returned to Austintown in 2014 to be close to family.
John was a great man, loving father and friend, and will be sadly missed by his wife of 30 years, Barbara; his sons, Tom (Christina) Kean of San Antonio, TX, and John (Sherry) VanKirk of Spring, Hill, FL; his daughters, Rena VanKirk of Carpinteria, CA, and Melissa (David) Hill of Ogilvie, MN. His grandchildren, Tori, Dakota, Ashley, John III, Zack, Naomi, Tim, Heather, Brandon, and Savannah; and his 11 great-grandchildren. John will also be missed by Barbara’s family and many nieces and nephews.
He is also being mourned sincerely by his new fur baby, Chloe. John was met at the Rainbow Bridge by their rescued puppies, grown dogs to be exact, “Our Girl” Butch, and the sister, Carrie, and brother, Bo, who was his main man.
John was preceded in death by his parents, Abraham and Rose; his brother and sister-in-law, Richard and Donna VanKirk; his sister and brother-in-law, Joanne and Ronald Grim; his sisters, Rose Marie Dunlap and Barbara Jenkins; and a great-grandson, Tyler.
Family and friends will be received Thursday, April 20, 2023, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Davis-Becker Funeral Home, 8536 Market Street, Boardman, OH.
A funeral service will be held Friday, April 21, 2023, at 12:30 p.m. at the funeral home followed by an interment at Berlin Township North Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, John's family requests any contributions be made in John's name to his favorite charity, Animal Charities, 4140 Market Street, Youngstown, Ohio 44512.