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June 30, 1941 ~ October 21, 2023 (age 82) 82 Years Old
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JoAnn Johntony, 82 of Girard, Ohio passed away on Saturday Oct 21, 2023 following an extended illness. JoAnn was born in Niles on June 30, 1941 the daughter of William Shirley and Zola Barbara (Tomlin) Estes. However, JoAnn spent her entire life as a proud Girard resident, graduating in 1959 from Girard High School. She dedicated her life to family, service and the pursuit for equality. She balanced two worlds, her family and her union. JoAnn worked for 52 years with the Girard City Schools. Along with her husband Nick, they were instrumental in organizing the Girard school employees with the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE). JoAnn served as the chapter president for many years. JoAnn was actively involved in support of the first state collective bargaining bill and years later saving this right from being dissolved with Senate Bill 5. JoAnn was proud of her humble upbringing, going from a “kid from under the bridge” to serving as NE Ohio OAPSE President for a number of years and eventually as the State President for OAPSE over 34 years. JoAnn served on many local, state and national committees for OAPSE, AFCSME, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Trumbull-Mahoning Labor Council and AFL -CIO.
At 62 years old, JoAnn Johntony graduated with her Bachelor in Labor Studies from the National Labor College. She was steadfast in her work for school safety, equal representation and fair public education for Ohio’s youth. She was most proud of having the opportunity to represent her union at the inaugural’s and later meeting with President William Clinton, Vice President Gore, President Barack Obama and Vice President (now President) Joe Biden, along with many Senators, Congressman as well as past Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.
Even with her full time work and political life, JoAnn was equally devoted and unconditionally loved all of her family. On July 27, 1959, JoAnn married Nicholas Johntony and remained together until his death on May 9, 2011. Together they raised and are remembered by their children Denise (Allyne) Richey, Gina Johntony, Dianne (John) Yash and Nick (Jennifer) Johntony as a wonderful mother who instilled a strong family connection. Whether she was daughter, sister, aunt or cousin, JoAnn loved family events, making holidays special and sharing her love of pictures with all the family. She is survived by sisters Lora Gromley and Sandy Estes. Of all of her accomplishments, she was most proud of being Grandma Jo. She loved her grandchildren more than anything in the world and made sure that each one had special “Grandma Jo experiences”. Whether it was taking them to Geneva, the movies, union meetings, staying at hotels in Columbus, trips to Disney, Vegas, San Fran or Ocean City, she made sure they knew how special they are showering them with lifelong memories. She will be missed by grandchildren Amy (Chris) Keller, Amanda Zuschlag, Vin Rider, Kyle Richey, Mitchell (Mercedes) Rider, Kayla Richey, Brandon Eggert, Nicholas Johntony and Alexander Johntony and well as great-children Liliana & Jackson Zuschlag, Eli, Sam & Liam Keller & Waylon Rider.
JoAnn is proceeded in death by her parents, husband, sisters (Tiny Tackett & Gladys Rounds), brothers (Charles, John, George & Robert Estes) and her great grandbaby Lainey Rider.
Friends and family can pay their respects on from 5 - 8 p.m. on Friday October 27, 2023 at Holeton-Yuhasz Funeral Home in Niles. A celebration for JoAnn’s legacy will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday October 28, 2023 at the funeral home. Internment will be in Girard Cemetery.
The family wishes to express their deepest gratitude to Cookie Meadows for her unwavering support and friendship toward our mother. Also, Sue, Kara, and Jessica with Athens Hospice and finally to all of her “brothers and sisters” with OAPSE/AFSCME you were family to her, us children and grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the OAPSE scholarship, c/o OAPSE/AFSCME Local 4/AFL-CIO. 6805 Oak Creek Drive. Columbus, OH 43229-1591
Visit holetonyuhasz.com to view this tribute and condolences.