Boardman-John E. “Jack” Carden, 90, died September 24, 2021 in the comfort of his home.
Jack was born on June 28, 1931 in Youngstown, the son of James Francis and Esther Mildred (Habeger) Carden. He was only seven when his father died, leaving his mother to raise him and his older brother Jim in the middle of The Great Depression. He began working at an early age to help his family. Those ethics of work and sacrifice would stay with him his entire life. He spoke often of his education which began at Parkhill School in a one room schoolhouse on the city’s west side. He recalled days where the building, which was constructed pre-electricity, didn’t have enough natural light for regular classroom work, so the children instead played outside in the sandbox. After Parkhill, he attended Washington School and then Chaney High School, where he graduated in 1949.
After graduation, he enlisted in the US Air Force, where he served from 1952 to 1956. He was a part of the 19th Bomb Squadron’s ground maintenance crew, working on B29s and B49s. He served as crew chief on B47s, eventually reaching the rank of Airman First Class. He was stationed at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California but his duties also took him to Newfoundland and Labrador, Hawaii, England, Midway, Guam and Okinawa. His years in the service meant a lot to him and never forgot the many close friends he made in the Air Force. A true patriot, Jack would often say how very lucky he was to have been born in The United States.
Jack attended Ohio State University and Youngstown University, earning his BS in Education. He later earned his master’s degree in Education from Kent State University. A lifelong learner, both in and out of the classroom, Jack did further graduate work at Youngstown State, Dayton, Kent State and Walsh Universities. He was an avid reader of non-fiction, primarily history, until his eyesight failed him later in life.
Jack began his teaching career in 1960 when he taught a year each at Leetonia High and Brookfield High Schools. He then returned to Chaney High, this time as a teacher, where he taught history and government for 34 years. His thousands of students will remember him not only for his excellent teaching but also for his standard lecture position, where he placed one foot upon his desk, and for his frequent sneezing bouts - 24 being his record.
Jack also served as a track coach at Chaney for many years, first as assistant for the boys’ team and then as head coach for the girls’ team. Not only did he coach runners, he was one himself. He’d occasionally run or bike the 5.5 miles between Chaney and his Boardman home. He stayed physically active well into his retirement as a regular golfer and a daily participant at the Boardman YMCA, until his failing health forced him to stop.
He loved spectator sports and supported his Chaney Cowboys and YSU Penguins for many years, holding season tickets for both YSU football and basketball. When his vision failed, he continued to follow his favorite teams on the radio.
Jack was a member of the YEA, OEA and NEA and later joined the Federation of Teachers, where he served on the legislative assembly. He participated in the Institute for Learning in Retirement at YSU and was a member of the Cultural Alliance. He had attended Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Jack’s family always mattered most to Jack. He spoke with his mother on the phone every night until her passing in 1998 and regularly talked and met with his brother and cousins. He enjoyed regular beach vacations with his family and friends to the Outer Banks, Ocean City, Siesta Key, Myrtle Beach and others places. After retirement, he and Donna traveled more frequently, visiting New England, Alaska, and annual winter stays in Naples, Florida. He rarely, if ever, missed any of his sons’ soccer, baseball, or basketball games, recitals, or concerts. “Family is everything” he would often say.
He leaves behind his wife of 54 years, the former Donna Greco, and two sons, John (Kristin) of McLean, Virginia and Mark (Lynn) of Willowick, Ohio. His grandchildren Maddie, Jack, Violet, Sedona and Colby brought him great joy. He also leaves brother-in-law Joe (Alice) Colella, nieces Cathy, Jamie, Amy and Gina, and nephews Jimmer and Andy.
He was preceded in death by his parents, stepfather Joe Bernice, and brother James (Ro) Carden.
Family and friends will be received on Saturday, October 9, 2021 from 11 a.m. until 12 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 119 Stadium Dr., Boardman. A celebration of life service will follow at noon.
Contributions in his name may be sent to Rescue Mission of The Mahoning Valley and Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Arrangements are being handled by the Davis-Becker Funeral Home. Please visit www.beckerobits.com to share memories and online condolences.
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