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John Rybarczyk, 92, of Lorain, entered into eternal life on November 18, 2023, surrounded by his loving family.
John was born in Lorain on October 28, 1931, to the late John and Mary (nee Zelek) Rybarczyk. He was a lifetime member of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Lorain where he was active in the Holy Name Society, and served as a Eucharistic minister. He attended Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, after the closure of St. Stan’s.
He was a graduate of Lorain High School class of 1949-B (the Gold Diggers, as they nicknamed themselves).
John served his country in the United States Air Force from January, 1951 through January, 1955 in the Korean War as a radar specialist and radio operator. He was stationed at Itazuke Air Force Base in Japan, 60 miles from the 38th parallel.
John was an exceptionally talented basketball player and coach. He played basketball for Lorain High School and then for his squadron in the Air Force, where he and his team won the Camp Hakata Basketball Championship for the 1953-54 season. He coached basketball at St. Stan’s school where he taught many of Lorain’s youth the fundamentals of the game.
After being honorably discharged from the U.S.A.F., John attended Kent State University on the G.I. Bill and graduated with a Bachelors in Business Administration in 1959.
He retired in 1994 as the Director of Utilities for the City of Lorain, where he worked for 35 years. John was passionate about his work and took immense pride in the fact that he led a utilities department that provided exceptionally clean and safe drinking water to the people of Lorain, all while keeping costs to the citizens reasonable. He would often point out that during his tenure, Lorain had the cleanest drinking water around and he had the statistics to back up his claim. He had great respect for the people he worked with, and he and the entire family considered many of them to be their extended family and friends.
John enjoyed visiting local social clubs and festivals with his wife, Gwen, and their friends and family. He was also an avid golfer and bowler and was a member of the Thursday Senior Leagues at Rebman’s. He enjoyed watching sporting events of all kinds and following all of his favorite teams and athletes – the Cleveland Indians/Guardians, the Cleveland Browns, Ohio State football and basketball, and Phil Mickelson and PGA Tour events.
He often shared his great memories of helping out his uncle and aunt at their small business - Zig’s Meat Market - in Lorain, where he learned the art of meat cutting from one of the best. You could almost smell what was cooking when he described a typical Saturday morning at the market. He also talked often about early Sunday morning Mass, followed by a drive to a park with Gwen and the family, to meet Uncle Lenny, Aunt Mary Ann, and their family. John and Lenny would team up to cook their famous breakfast on the grill for everyone.
John is survived by daughters, Jan Rybarczyk (Pogie) of Amherst, Karen Shawver (Dennis) of Lorain, Kris Lebrecht of Mount Prospect, IL, son John D. Rybarczyk (Kelley) of Avon Lake; grandchildren Cory and Kyle Shawver, Devan, Tate, and Kai Rybarczyk, and Cole Lebrecht. Brothers Richard and Ronald (Monte) Rybarczyk, sisters Elaine Chambers and Joan ‘Dolly’ (Florian) Zemanek, brother-in-law Leonard Milde, sister-in-law Margaret (Charles) Hunger, many nieces and nephews, and nearly lifelong friend Don Talbot.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his loving wife of 60 years, Gwen Rybarczyk (nee Curtis), sister Mary Ann Milde, and sister-in-law Alice Rybarczyk, brother-in-law Thomas Curtis, nephews Victor and Robert Zemanek, Thomas Unger, and great-niece Jessica Unger.
John was an incredibly humble, kind and generous person. His generosity was felt by many and he would prefer that resources be used to help those in need. Therefore, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in John’s name to the Nativity CARES Charity for community members in need at Nativity BVM – 418 W. 15th St, Lorain, OH or the Specialty Hospital of Lorain – 254 Cleveland Ave, Amherst, OH.
His family would like to thank the nurses, aides, secretary, and maintenance staff at the Specialty Hospital of Lorain for the extraordinary compassion, care, and kindness shown to John and the entire family during his final weeks.
Arrangements are being handled by Reidy-Scanlan-Giovannazzo Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Lorain on Friday, December 29th, 2023 at 10:00am., Rev. Frank P. Kosem, officiating. Private inurnment services with military honors by AmVets Post 32 will be held at Ridge Hill Memorial Park immediately following the Mass.