Thomas A. Campana, 93, of Kent, passed away Wednesday, March 15, 2017.
Born on April 20, 1923, he was the son of Andrew (Condito) and Angela (Carano) Campana. Tom met Lois Talbott in high school and married her on February 8, 1947.
Tom was born and raised in Hubbard, one of 9 children. He left high school early to enlist in 1942 and served our country in the Unites State Navy and was honorably discharged in 1946. He was a gunnery specialist on an LST and served in the Atlantic and Pacific campaigns. A member of the greatest generation, he not only experienced war first hand but also had 5 brothers that served as well. He never wanted to talk about his service and he never considered himself a hero, just an American doing what was necessary.
Using the GI Bill, in 1946 he attended Youngstown State University where he excelled on the football field and in 1950 earned a degree in Education and his high school diploma at the same time. He began his teaching and coaching career in Youngstown, then to Texas, back to Youngstown and then to Ravenna all while working on his Master's degree in Education Administration, which he received from Kent State University. He spent a year in Dove,r Ohio, as a principal and decided that he liked the classroom and football field better. He was hired in 1958 at Kent Roosevelt and worked there until his retirement in 1984 as a history and civics teacher, coach and then Athletic Director. He worked tirelessly to bring as many sports as possible for boys and girls to the Kent School district. He loved coaching and teaching young people to excel not just in sport but in life. He mentored so many young people and truly enjoyed their successes. If they succeeded, then he succeeded. Tom was inducted into the Ohio State High School coach's Hall of Fame and the Ohio State Athletic Directors Hall of Fame. He was in the 1st class of Kent Roosevelt High School Hall of Fame.
After retirement, Tom and Lois traveled the country to sightsee and golf. They were able to see many things that had been put off while raising their family. He even took up skiing for a time and took a number of skiing vacations with friends. Even as his health declined and his eyesight diminished, he never lost his love of sports and continued to watch football, baseball, college basketball and golf when he could.
Tom is survived by his five children, Tom (Marty) of Dublin, Tim (Janet) of Milan, Laurie (Tim) Fisher of Omro WI, Mark (Faye) of Springboro, and Matt (Lynda) of Kent. He is further survived by 10 grandchildren, Mike, Steve, Christy, Dan, Stephanie, Tony, Nikki, Alex, Owen and Reese; 5 great-grandchildren, Tommy, Kara, Eva, Eli and Teagan; two sisters, Norma Clemente and Mary Ellen Hoolihan; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Lois, in 2005; his parents; 1 sister, Carmen; and 5 brothers, John, Jerome, George, Ralph and Al.
The family would like to thank Altercare of Stow and their staff and doctors for the care and kindness given to Dad.
Funeral mass at 12:00 PM Wednesday March 22nd at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Kent. A Celebration of Life gathering will be held 1:30-4:30 PM Wednesday, March 22nd at the The Overlook, 1519 Overlook Road, Kent, OH (Twin Lakes). A private family burial service will be at Standing Rock Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lois Campana Nursing Scholarship at Kent Roosevelt High School.
We thank the Lord for the gift of this extraordinary man who was a devoted husband and loving father and mentor to so many.
(Bissler and Sons Funeral Home 330-673-5857 RC 3-19-17)
Mr. Campana was my fifth grade teacher at Highland Avenue Elementary School in Ravenna in 1954/55. He was an excellent teacher and role model for a young boy who needed it desparetly at that time in his life.
Thank you, Mr. Campana, for the influence that you had on my life.
My sincere condolences to the family. May the Lord bless you with peace at this difficult time.