John Robert “Johnny” Swope

COLUMBIANA John Robert “Johnny” Swope, 91, died Sunday after a six year battle with cancer at his home in Columbiana, with his family by his side.

He was born in Columbiana, on Dec. 6, 1921, a son of the late John Abraham and Mable Marie (Basinger) Swope, and lived in the area his entire life.

He served in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Cimarron AO 22 in the Pacific Fleet during World War II.

John was employed by General Fireproofing as a storekeeper, owned a farm south of Columbiana, and later worked at Franklin Furniture for 38 years, where he retired as a superintendent. He was custodian of the Grace Church for 47 years.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, the former Josephine A. Bair, whom he married on Sept. 28, 1940, and who died Jan. 9, 1990; and a grandson, Craig Alan Swope.

John is survived by his wife, the former Marilyn Cobb Merlo, whom he married on Oct. 14, 2000; his children, Philip S. (Karen) Swope, Lee A. (Margaret) Swope, Mark and Cindy Merlo, Brian and Lori Merlo, and Anita (Merlo) Smith; 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He also is survived by a sister, Martha (Swope) Graft.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Grace Church in Columbiana with the Rev. Rob Joy and the Rev. John Brownsberger officiating.

Family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Seederly-Mong and Beck Funeral Home in Columbiana and also one hour prior to the service Saturday at the Grace Church.

Military honors will be conducted by the American Legion Post 290 at Columbiana Cemetery Chapel following the committal at the cemetery.

If friends wish, the family suggests that material contributions may be made to Hospice of the Valley, 5190 Market St., Youngstown, OH 44512, or to the Grace Church, 140 South Main St., Columbiana, OH 44408.

Family and friends are invited to visit to sign the guestbook or to leave private condolences.