John Harry Gephart, 92, of 120 E. 2nd St., Dover, Ohio passed away Sunday, January 6, 2002 at Union Hospital following a brief illness.
Born January 1, 1910 in Homestead, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, John was the son of Frank Shafer and Charlotte Devine Gephart. After brief stays in Canton and Akron, the family moved to Dover in 1922.
John graduated from Dover High School in 1929 where he lettered in football and baseball as a quarterback and a pitcher. During the Great Depression, he pitched for the Wainwright baseball team and worked for the Works Project Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corp., and the Hercules Motor Company in Canton.
John was drafted in March, 1942, and served with Patton�(TM)s 3rd Army landing at beachheads in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. He was honorably discharged in October, 1945 with the European-African Medal and the Eastern Service Medal with 7 bronze stars and 1 bronze arrowhead.
After the war, John corresponded with Adele Panini of Modena, Italy, whom he had met while serving in northern Italy. John and Adele, daughter of Bruno and Desolina Panini, decided to marry and Adele immigrated to Ohio in 1947. The couple were married on August 9th of that year at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in New Philadelphia. John and Adele took up residence in a home John built in Goshen next to his older brother Frank, who was a wellknown local ceramic tile contractor.
John was a master bricklayer and stone mason having learned the trade along with his brother Frank from their father. John served as president of the local bricklayers union in the late 1950�(TM)s.
John was a building inspector for the state of Ohio from 1960-67. In 1967, John became Dover�(TM)s first building inspector serving in that capacity until his retirement in 1981.
He was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dover and former member of Sacred Heart Church in New Philadelphia. He was also a member of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local Union No. 6 and the Dover Veterans of Foreign Wars and the St. Joseph Senior Citizens.
In addition to his wife, Adele, he is survived by his daughter, Charlotte Weigand and husband, Bruce of North Canton, Ohio and grandchildren Brendan, Paul, and Jessica; He is also survived by his son, John and wife Rhenda of Fairfield, Ohio and grandson, Johnny. John is also survived by sister in law Ethel (Mrs. Edward) Gephart of Uhrichsville and brothers, Harry of Dover, Russell (Laverne) Gephart of Pittsburgh, and Dr. Woodrow (Martha) Gephart of Jefferson, Ohio as well as seven nieces and three nephews. He was preceded in death by brothers, Georgie, Kenneth, Joseph, Frank, Edward, Charles and son John Bruno who died at birth.
A Rite of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, January 12, 2002 at 11 am in the St. Joseph Catholic Church at Dover with Fr. William Arnold officiating. Interment will be in the Calvary Cemetery at Dover where the Dover VFW will conduct military graveside services. Friends may call at the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home in Dover Saturday from 9:45 pm to 10:45 pm. Those unable to attend or who may wish to express a fond memory of John may sign the online register book by visiting the “online obituaries” link on our website at www.tolandherzig.com
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Tuscarawas Central Catholic High School or the St. Joseph Elementary School.