John Schwabauer passed away peacefully on July 7th, 2019 at his home in Broken Arrow, OK at the age of 99. John was one of 10 children of Alexander and Amelia Schwabauer who were of German descent and migrated to America from Russia. John was born on the family farm outside Marlow, OK, on March 14, 1920. His family relocated to Lincoln Nebraska when we were 2-year-old. He spent his youth there engaged in the family's farming activities and coal hauling business. He often talked of riding a horse to school and learning the true meaning of hard work and responsibility at a very young age. A number of hunting and fishing stories were true evidence of his early self-reliance. He became an avid Nebraska Cornhusker fan often spending afternoons at the football stadium a few blocks from his home mingling with players. Any spare time was spent with what was known as the Black Bottom Gang of which activities are sketchy at best, and probably best left uninvestigated.
John moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1939 where he lived with his oldest brother Alex who helped him start a profession as a skilled machine craftsman at Rotor Tool. It was during this time that he met his future wife Mildred Perko. When WWII started, he was denied access to military service as his skills as a machinist were deemed critical to the war effort. After numerous requests he was finally granted a waiver to join the Navy. He volunteered for the armed guard and made numerous convoy trips between America and England. On one of his trips in the Caribbean his ship was caught in a hurricane and was marooned for 19 days. At a result, he was assigned shore duty for the remainder of the war. Being fluent in the German language, he was moved to a POW camp for German prisoners being held in the United States. He served as their supervisor and interpreter for the remainder of the war.
John and Mildred were married on December 26th, 1944. They resided in Euclid, Ohio for almost their entire 50 years of married life. They raised four children there and were members of the East Shore United Methodist Church. The final 41 years of John's career were spent at Glendridge Machine Co where he retired as plant manager. John was an avid golfer and had the opportunity to play golf at just about every golf course in NE Ohio in addition traveling to Southern states during winter months. John's two biggest golf thrills were a hole in one at number 12 at Pleasant Hills CC in Chardon, Ohio, and having an opportunity to play a round of golf with the famous Byron Nelson in 1944. While John worked extremely long hours, he was always available to coach and attend sporting events with his children and supported all of their varied activities. One of his favorites was New Year's Day breakfast in the park - sometimes in 6 inches of snow.
Mildred passed away in 1995 and John moved to Broken Arrow, OK in 1997 where he married Helen Beurskens. John and Helen built a new life blending their two families and having a whole new set of adventures, traveling often to Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska to visit family.
He continued his lifelong pursuit of golf as long as physically possible. He rarely missed a Cleveland Indians broadcast and was an avid sports fan. His three grandchildren in Broken Arrow, Jonathan, Lindsay and Adam introduced him to the finer points of soccer and he became knowledgeable enough to challenge many a referee's call. He played over 25,000 games of spider solitaire on his computer over the last 15 years of his life without losing a game. While he never shared the secrets to this success, we suspected sleight of hand as a useful tool.
John was a wonderfully gifted storyteller and was never reluctant to share his family's history. From tales of his parent's immigration to America, to their struggles to get a foothold on life in their adopted country, John could talk about 99 years of World and American history and weave his family and personal history throughout his stories. Anyone - family member, friend, or stranger was always provided with a sample of adventure.
John made many numerous contributions to his community. From youth baseball coach, church youth group sponsor, meals on wheels, anonymously paying for youth camp experiences, donating golf clubs to youth and being a great reference for neighbors and friends for performing home repair projects. These skills were also used to design and build a walker for a neighborhood girl stricken with polio.
John was happily married for over 72 years to what he knew to be the two most wonderful people on earth.
John is survived by Helen of Broken Arrow, OK, and his four children. Sandy and her spouse Ray Symons of Solon Ohio, John Schwabauer and his spouse Joanne of University Heights Ohio, James Schwabauer and his spouse Ester of Columbus Ohio and Richard Schwabauer and his spouse Michelle of Broken Arrow OK. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren as well as 18 great grandchildren. In addition, he acquired four more children through marriage to Helen, Aaron Beurskens and spouse Kim from Kansas City MO, Mike Beurskins and Mickey of Bay City MI., Paul Beurskens and spouse Anna of Austin, Texas, Ed and Verna Pluckinnik of Philadelphia, PA. Mary Yanez of Adeline Kansas, 10 grandchildren and two great grandchildren through his marriage of 22 years with Helen.
John will be interred at Acacia Cemetery in Mayfield Hts, Ohio next to his wife Mildred.
Private family services are planned with Bixby Funeral Service.