John R. Barra, passed away at age 96 on October 31, 2023, at the Wesley Ridge Retirement Community in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Antonio and Filomena Barra, brothers, Tony, Louie, and Joe Chiampo, and sister Santina Zannotti.
John is survived by his wife of 73 years, Dora Barra; son, Michael Barra; daughter Kristina (Bruce) Fraser; and three grandchildren, John “Andrew” Fraser, Ellen (Adam) Thompkins, and Elizabeth Fraser. John’s sister Margaret (Jerry) Saseen also survives.
John was born on May 3, 1927 in Vandergriff, Pennsylvania to Italian immigrants. Soon after his birth, John’s family moved to Powhatan Point, Ohio, where John was raised. He graduated from Powhatan Point High School in 1945 and immediately joined the U.S. Navy.
Following his discharge from the Navy, John enrolled at The Ohio State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. John also earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Ohio State and a Master’s Degree in Chemistry from New Mexico Highlands University.
During his career as an educator, John served as a teacher, principal, and in other administrative capacities in Logan County, Ohio. John began his teaching career as a science and math teacher at Belle Center High School. John also taught math and science at Buckeye Local High School and Huntsville High School. For the bulk of John’s career, he served as principal of the Huntsville Elementary School in the Indian Lake School District.
During his years in Logan County, John was also an active member of First Lutheran Church in Bellefontaine. During his time at First Lutheran, he served on the church council for a number of terms and was involved in the creation of the New Life Charitable Foundation, as well as the Lutheran Thrift Store. Always an avid reader and lover of books, John was motivated to serve on the Logan County Public Library Board.
Following John and Dora’s retirements from the Indian Lake Schools, they moved to Columbus to be closer to grandchildren and other family members. During this time John continued his commitment to volunteer work and social service by volunteering at the Columbus Public Library and with First Link and Lutheran Social Services. John also returned to the Catholic faith of his childhood and became an active member of the congregation of St Thomas the Apostle Church in Columbus. John was especially dedicated to his volunteer work with the St. Vincent de Paul group at St. Thomas and spent many hours making sandwiches to feed hungry people and making food deliveries in the community well into his late 80s.
Arrangements and cremation with care provided by Dwayne R. Spence funeral home, Canal Winchester.
The family will receive friends from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday, November 18, 2023, at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 767 North Cassady Avenue, Columbus, Ohio. The Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10 a.m. Saturday at the church. Father Denis Kigozi will be the celebrant. Contributions may be made to St. Thomas the Apostle Church with a notation for the St. Vincent de Paul Fund.