On the morning of June 5, 2022, John L. Kovach passed peacefully in his sleep at the age of 78. John was born in Youngstown, Ohio on March 27, 1944, to Frances Mickler and John Kovach. He graduated Cardinal Mooney High School in 1962 and went to college at Youngstown State University and Xavier University. John later attended the Seminary at The Athenaeum of Ohio. On October 7, 1972, John married his wife Jamie (Restle) Kovach in Boardman, Ohio. Beginning his career in Struthers, Ohio, John served as City Auditor for eleven years. He worked with the mayor and city council to eliminate a large deficit caused by the closing of the steel mills and a loss of over 5,000 jobs. During that time, John led the effort to form CASTLO Industrial Park, a joint venture between the cities of Campbell, Struthers and Lowellville. CASTLO was the first re-purposed, shovel-ready brownfield development in Ohio.In 1984, John came to Findlay to head-up the newly formed Findlay Community Development Foundation. The excitement began when John had the vision of turning a soybean field into Findlay's first curb-ready industrial park. With the teamwork of the entire community, roads soon began going in; a spec building went up and Findlay's Tall Timbers Industrial Park was born. John decided that they should target on-time suppliers of Honda in Marysville for the park. He put together a team of community leaders to travel with him to Japan to recruit new companies for Findlay. During the trip, one of the companies asked if Findlay had a free trade zone and, even though he didn't know what it was at the time, John immediately responded with a resounding Yes! Upon returning to Findlay, he immediately began the process of forming the first inland foreign trade zone in Ohio, helping to put Findlay on the map. Between 1984 and 1997, Findlay/Hancock County averaged in excess of $67 million in new construction annually, attracted seventeen occupants to Tall Timbers Industrial Center, employing more than 2,300 individuals, seeing a total of over 10,000 new jobs county wide. Also, during his years at CDF, Findlay was named the #1 Micropolitan Community by Site Selection Magazine several times. The whole community joined together to celebrate Findlay's success by throwing several large community dinners with as many as 3,000 local residents in attendance. In 1999 John left CDF and became the President of Community Development Solutions. He worked across the state to help improve other communities in the same way he did Findlay. John retired in 2009.John was proud of his many successes, starting with the development of CASTLO Industrial Park - Struthers; Tall Timbers Industrial Center - Findlay; Westfield Business Park - Findlay; Lake Cascades Business Park - Findlay; Willard Industrial Park -Willard; French Creek Business Park - Sheffield Lake; and Quarry Lakes Business Park - Sandusky. John also put together the CSX Railroad project in North Baltimore, Ohio and brought Owens College to Findlay. John loved his family and community. He enjoyed golfing, yard work, and playing games with his grandchildren. You would often find him sitting on his front porch with his wife and dog, Mabel. He could entertain any crowd with his tall tales and could always make people laugh and smile. John will be deeply missed and remembered forever.John leaves behind his wife Jamie, son Eric (Anne) Kovach of Nashville TN, daughter Holly (Matt) Frische of Findlay and brother Joe (Rosey) Kovach of Canfield, Ohio. John also leaves behind 5 grandchildren whom he loved very much, Molly and Andrew Frische, Grace, Lucas and Claire Kovach. John is proceeded in death by his parents.Visitation for family and friends will be held 4-8pm Wednesday June 8, 2022 at Kirkpatrick Behnke Funeral Home. There will also be an hour of visitation from 9-10am Thursday June 9, at St. Michael Catholic Church, 750 Bright Road. A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10am Thursday following visitation. With Fr. Adam Hertzfeld, celebrant. Private burial will take place at a later date. Online condolences can be made to the family via kirkpatrickbehnke.com
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