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home : obituaries : obituaries April 25, 2015

4/27/2013 8:00:00 AM
John W. York
March 31, 1919 - April 26, 2013
John York
John York

John Walter York, 94, a longtime Akron resident, died at 4:22 a.m. Friday, April 26, 2013, at Woodlawn Hospital, Rochester, after being in declining health for a number of years.

In spite of the fact he could no longer drive, he continued working until shortly before his death and considered his life as one well-lived.

Born March 31, 1919, in Wabash County, he was the son of Andrew Thomas 'A.T.' and Nettie M. (Webb) York. He graduated from Butler Township High School, Miami County, in 1937 as class valedictorian and entered Purdue University that fall. He left Purdue at the end of his freshman year and enrolled in Manchester College's school of music in 1939. In 1940, he left college to draft house plans for D.A. Pike in Akron.

On March 30, 1941, he and Virginia Pike were married at the home of her parents, D.A. and Eva Pike. Virginia preceded him in death on Dec. 4, 2000.

The couple moved to California in 1941, where John worked at Lockheed Aircraft as an engineer until he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943 and eventually sent to Japan where he served in the Pacific Theater during WWII.

After his discharge in 1946, he bought a sawmill in Kenton, Ohio, that he described as the first sawmill he ever saw. He quit the saw mill in 1959 after, in his words, "The union took all of my money to pay false back wages and fines." He worked for another company for two years before his sister-in-law, Helen Utter, asked him to work for Pike Lumber Company.

He and his family moved to Akron in 1961, and joined the Akron United Methodist Church, where John taught Sunday school and sang in the choir; his wife, Virginia, played the organ. John was also a lay speaker for the United Methodist Church. He was also a longtime member of the Akron Lions Club.

John left Pike in 1979 and pursued other lines of work, including developing computer programs with his son, Douglas, that were sold to other lumber companies. He served as Akron Clerk-Treasurer in the 1990's.

At the dinner following his wife's death, John Brown, now president of Pike Lumber Company, asked him to return to Pike Lumber Company as a salesman. He continued to do this, working from his home, until he became incapacitated.

He is survived by a daughter, Pamela Melcher, Akron; a grandson, Dana York, Fort Wayne; and his daughter-in-law, Linda Crockett York, Fort Wayne. Also surviving are one brother, Eldon and wife Phyllis York, Peru; two great-grandchildren; and two nieces, Karen Shriver, Akron, and Kim Graham, Peachtree City, Ga.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia York, on Dec. 4, 2000; and his son, Douglas York, on July 13, 2005.

Funeral service will be at 11 a.m. with pastors Mimi Ault and Kent B. Harting officiating; a dinner will be held following the service at the Akron United Methodist Church and, following the dinner, there will be a graveside service and burial held at the Santa Fe Cemetery, Santa Fe, Miami County.

Visitation will be from 10-11 a.m. Monday, April 29, 2013, at the church.

Memorials can be made to the Akron United Methodist Church Memorial Fund.

Hartzler Funeral Home, Akron, has been entrusted by the family with arrangements.

Online condolences can be sent to the family at

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