Ohio State lost one of its biggest fans Tuesday evening; John W. Oxender, 61, passed away at his home in Pioneer, surrounded by his family. Throughout his courageous battle with cancer, he was always “Buckeye Strong.” He was born in Findlay, Ohio, on March 31, 1958, to Russell D. and Roberta M. (Schnarre) Oxender. He always considered Pioneer his hometown after moving there at a young age. John graduated from North Central High School in 1976. He attended THE Ohio State University before completing his bachelor’s degree in business management at Tri-State University in Angola, Indiana. On Sept. 10, 1977, he married his high school sweetheart, Patricia “Pat” L. Ross, and she survives.
John earned his Eagle Scout rank under the leadership of his father, Russell, and his service to the community didn’t stop there. He served for 20 years on the Pioneer Fire Department while also serving 18 years on the Williams County EMS (Pioneer Medic No. 7) as an advanced EMT and serving as district chief for five of those years. He also served on the Pioneer Village Council for 20 years, retiring at the end of his term on Dec. 31, 2019. He was a loyal fan of North Central sports and was very involved in his children’s recreation programs, coaching for many years. John was a die hard fan of THE Ohio State Buckeyes, and he was also an avid fan of the Detroit Red Wings, Tigers and Lions. Most of all he enjoyed spending time with his family, helping his kids with home and farm projects, and he especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, whom he adored.
John was the plant manager at Unique-Chardan Inc. in Bryan for 25 years. Prior to that he was the plant manager at Leiner Health Products in West Unity.
He is survived by his wife, Pat; children, Elise (Nathan) Siegel of West Unity and Ian (Katelyn) Oxender of Dayton; three grandchildren, Addison and Miles Siegel, Leo Oxender and number four will arrive in August; father, Russell (Muriel Stevens) of Tucson, Arizona; siblings, Pamela Hersha of Napoleon, Penny (Dennis “Sam”) Miller of Pioneer and Joan (Dave) Provenzano of Lewis Center, Ohio.
John was preceded in death by his mother, Roberta Oxender, and in-laws, Robert and Phyllis Ross.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no visitation at this time. A celebration of life for John will be held at a later date. John will be laid to rest at Floral Grove Cemetery in Pioneer. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to Williams County EMS, Pioneer Fire Department or CHP Home Care and Hospice. Condolences can be left for the family at www.thethompsonfuneralhome.com.