John E. Barson, a longtime resident of Oberlin and Savannah, died January 27, 2018, age 94. Since October 2017, he had been living at the Abbewood senior living community in Elyria with Jean (Mills) Barson, his wife of 70 years.
He was born on April 17, 1923 on a farm in Pittsfield. His parents, John V. Barson and Anna Barson, had come to the U.S. from Romania, fleeing poverty and conflict, seeking safety and a chance for a better life. He grew up on the Pittsfield farm with his sisters Rose and Violet, his brothers Charles, Victor, George, and Eugene. His sister Violet Bartholomew and sister-in-law Susan Barson survive him.
Mr. Barson was graduated from Wellington High School in 1942, having established school records in football and baseball that stood, in some cases, for 20 to 30 years. During World War II, he served in the U.S. 3rd Army, fought and was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, and served upon recovery in the U.S. occupation force in Europe. After his discharge and their marriage, John and Jean Barson made a home in Oberlin, where he was first co-proprietor of the Minute Lunch restaurant, then the head cook at Presti’s, and finally the proprietor of his own raw fur brokerage, which he ran from the family home on S. Main Street. In later years, it seemed to his children that there was no farmer in Lorain County who did not know their father and that there were few people in Oberlin who did not have stories about the furs in the Barson basement.
Mr. Barson loved the outdoors, playing cards, old time country music, the New York Yankees (whose broadcasts he first heard as a soldier in Europe) and especially walleye fishing on Lake Erie. For many years, he and Jean rented a cottage near Huron at Cranberry Creek Marina, where the door was always open and where they made lifelong friends. After retirement, he and Jean moved to Savannah, where they were active in the community for 25 years.
In addition to his wife, sister, and sister-in-law, Mr. Barson is survived by his son Thomas (Nancy) of East Lansing, MI, his son David (Linda) of Seattle, WA, and his daughter Katherine (Thomas) of Algonquin, IL. He is also survived by six grandchildren and step-grandchildren: John (Jennifer) Barson, of Spokane, WA, Katie (Michael) McCarthy of Seattle, Shane Barson of Algonquin, Samantha (Brian) Hoeck of Woodstock, IL, Elisabeth (Kent) Withycombe of Arlington, VA, and Samuel (Rebecca) Corl of Santa Rosa, CA. There are fourteen great-grandchildren.
The family expresses its thanks to many people – from neighbors in Savannah, to the staffs of the Ashland, Mansfield and Elyria hospitals, and especially the staff of Abbewood, Life Care Center, Ideal Home Health Care and FirstLight Home Care – who provided cheerful companionship and expert help during Mr. Barson’s last illness.
The family will receive visitors at Cowling Funeral Home, 228 S. Main St., Oberlin from 10 to 11 AM on Saturday, February 3. A 1:30 PM memorial service will follow at Savannah United Methodist Church, 10 W. Main St., Savannah, Ohio, 44874. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Savannah United Methodist Church or to Christ’s Community Meals, c/o First Presbyterian Church, 225 Williams St., Huron, Ohio 44839.