John Michael Berila, 70, a longtime resident of Chesterland, who recently moved to Olmsted Township to spend more time with his family, passed away unexpectedly on Feb. 1, 2021.
He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.
Born Jan. 5, 1951, in Cleveland, John developed a love of reading as a young child that sparked a lifelong pursuit of adventures, passions and goals. He climbed mountains with friends, enjoyed camping and took expedition courses that encouraged his appreciation of nature and the outdoors.
He developed a love of martial arts, taught Aikido to many and earned his 5th degree black belt in Aikido.
John met the love of his life, Rose Anne M. Berila (nee Durante), in one of his Aikido classes, and proposed to her on the Maid of the Mist, under a rainbow. They wed in 1975.
John loved a good joke (and also sometimes a bad one), especially if it could make others laugh. A friend to anyone who needed one, he relished the chance to spend time with those he loved. He would do anything to lend a hand; what is more, he did it without expectation or reservation.
John earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cleveland State University and served as part of the Ohio National Guard before he embarked on a 33-year career with the State of Ohio. He served in a variety of capacities, enjoying most the opportunity to focus on the protection and safety of children.
After retirement, John continued to work with youth and taught driver’s education.
John is survived by his wife, Rose Anne; their daughter, Gina Henke (Stephen); and three granddaughters, Sophia, Nora and Francesca, who were the light of his life.
He is also survived by his sister, Donna Scanlon (William, deceased); his nephews, William Scanlon and Daniel Scanlon (Mary); his nieces, Bridget Vulic (Alex), Coleen Biehl (Robert), Kate Durante, Erin Durante (Alex); and cousins, family and many steadfast friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Theodore and Dorothy Berila (nee Swech); and his brother, Fred.
In lieu of flowers, to honor John’s desire to protect children, please consider a donation to St. Jude’s Research Hospital or Shriner’s Hospitals for Children.
A funeral mass will be held Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, at 11:30 a.m., at St. Brendan’s in North Olmsted, followed by interment at Holy Cross Cemetery.