Cover photo for John Popa's Obituary
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John Popa

September 28, 1926 — July 9, 2023


John Popa

John Popa, 96, died peacefully after a short illness on Sunday, July 9, 2023, surrounded by his loving family. John was born on Sept. 28, 1926, in Akron, Ohio, to Lazar and Anna (Bera) Popa. He grew up on Lexington Avenue on North Hill and graduated from North High School in 1944 where he was a star athlete in football and track, particularly the pole vault. He married his high school sweetheart, Jeanne Mae Moore, on June 25, 1949, and together they survived a tornado that touched down at Geauga Lake in 1942 where they both worked in high school.

He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1944, achieving the rank of sergeant. He served with the 9 th Troop Carrier Squadron, Guam, Mariana Island, where he inspected, maintained and made repairs to C-46 transport equipment. John was a machinist and worked in tool and die-making at Ford Motor Company for over 30 years. He was a proud member of the United Auto Workers trade union.

After retirement, John and Jeanne enjoyed travel to Europe, Hawai’i, Alaska, Canada and across the U.S. In his younger days, John was an avid golfer. He enjoyed watching sports on TV, particularly the Cleveland Indians. He was a longtime member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Akron, was a member of the Masons, and at one point was very active in the Canal Society of Ohio. Jeanne and he enjoyed traveling to Michigan and Ontario on annual trips to the lake with their children and grandchildren over many decades. John and Jeanne let their children choose their own paths and offered unconditional support and love throughout their journeys.

He is survived by his children, Deborah Szabo of Lakewood, Randy Popa (Maureen) of Akron, Greg Popa of Bakersfield, Vt., and Lisa Popa (David Petty) of Akron; grandchildren, Danielle Szabo, Bryan Popa (Amanda), Kevin Popa (Tricia) and Kristen Popa, and Renee Williams (Mason), Kathleen Petty (Amanda) and Tim Petty (Sharlena); five great-grandchildren; seven step-great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Pat Moore; and many nieces and nephews.

Besides his wife and parents, John was predeceased by his in-laws, Holsey and Violet Moore; sisters, Helen Kirk and husband, Bill, and Mary Miller and husband, Art; brother, Lazar Popa and wife, Betty; brother-in-law, Wayne Moore; son-in-law, Jim Rice; and granddaughter, Ashley Szabo.

Calling hours will be held on Wednesday, July 19, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Hennessy-Bagnoli-Moore Funeral Home, 936 N. Main St., Akron. Burial will take place at 2:15 p.m. at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, 10175 Rawiga Road, Seville. A luncheon will follow.

Arrangements are in the care of Hennessy-Bagnoli-Moore Funeral Home. To share online condolences, visit

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations would be welcome in John’s memory to Trinity United Church of Christ, 915 N. Main Street, Akron OH 44310.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Popa, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Wednesday, July 19, 2023

11:00am - 1:00pm (Eastern time)

Hennessy-Bagnoli-Moore Funeral Home

936 North Main Street, Akron, OH 44310

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Graveside Service

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Starts at 2:15pm (Eastern time)

Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery

10175 Rawiga Rd, Seville, OH 44273

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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