BOARDMAN- John J. Lapinski, 79, passed away peacefully Sunday, August 9, 2020 surrounded by his loving family.
John was born May 28, 1941, in Youngstown, Ohio, the son of John Frank and Anna Helen (Wroblewski) Lapinski.
He was a lifelong musician and began taking piano and accordion lessons while still in grade school. By junior high, he was performing publicly at various events in the Youngstown area with his father, brothers, and cousins. He graduated from Ursuline High School in 1959 and went on to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in music education at Youngstown State University. He played trombone in the marching band at both Ursuline and YSU. He spent 35 years as a music teacher and band director, mostly with the Crestview Local School District, where his students affectionately called him "Mr. L.", before retiring in 2001. Throughout those years, he also instructed numerous students in private music lessons. On the weekends, he was usually playing for local weddings, concerts, picnics, festivals, or private parties. He was a member of Musicians Local 86-242, Music Educators National Conference, and the Ohio Education Association.
John played second accordion for Youngstown polka legend’s Steve Garchar’s band from 1968 until 1975 when he joined the Joe Pitko Orchestra. John also filled in as a side man with several other local bands throughout the years. It was this versatility that earned him the honor of being named “Sideman of the Year” in 1995 by the Penn Ohio Polka Pals. John was proud to record “Dad’s Favorite” polka and “Mom’s Favorite” oberek with the Lapinski Family Band for the Penn Ohio Polka Pals Souvenir and Anniversary Edition albums. He later created his own group, the John Lapinski Band, with whom he recorded two CDs, “Musical Memories” and “Like Father, Like Son”. “Lenny Z” and “Sondra” polkas on “Musical Memories” are two family favorites that showcased John’s phenomenal accordion playing. “Like Father, Like Son” also had a special place in his heart as it was a labor of love he created with his youngest son, Jim. John was always so proud to share the stage with Jim from Jim's toddler years on into adulthood. His eldest son, John, was his “right hand man” whose assistance with setting up and taking down equipment allowed him to continue performing well into his later years. John always strived to please his audience and would never turn down a song request. If someone could merely sing or hum a few bars of the melody, he would often amaze them with his ability to play the entire tune by ear.
John was a member of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, SS. Cyril and Methodius Church in Youngstown, serving as choir director and organist for thirteen years. He was a member of the SS. Cyril and Methodius CY-ME Men’s Club, St. Cyril’s Seniors, and Jednota. John was also a member of St. Dominic’s Roman Catholic Church.
Despite all his accomplishments as a musician, John was an even better husband and father. On May 27, 1967, he married the love of his life, the former Mary Ann Hutira. John and Mary Ann enjoyed 53 years of marriage together and raised three children, Marianne, John, and Jim. Throughout his life, John’s faith and family always came first. His never-ending love for his family was apparent in his selfless giving and sacrifices he made for them. John enjoyed spending free time with his family working on cars and projects around the house, fishing and golfing with his children, gardening, watching baseball, coaching his sons' baseball teams, or going for a ride to visit family and friends. He loved taking his family every summer to Wildwood, NJ, where he enjoyed everyone simply being together, feeling the ocean breeze, and taking in the sights and sounds of being at “the shore”.
Following his retirement in 2001, he especially cherished spending time with his grandchildren whom he loved so very much. John was a consistent, loving, and supportive presence in each one of his grandchildren’s lives. His nurturing spirit left an unforgettable impact on them, and he greatly influenced their personal growth and development. Emphasizing positivity and a strong work ethic, he taught them how to be kind and successful in life. John enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to frequently babysit his grandchildren during his retirement years, often going above and beyond by taking them to the park, library, or to Dairy Queen for a special treat. Seeing them grow up was what brought him the most joy. He never missed a concert, recital, or game. John especially loved to see his grandchildren share his love for music, most notably when he recorded a song titled “Meganne and Papa” with his eldest grandchild at Peppermint Studios. He loved seeing the joy his grandchildren had when dancing and singing along to his accordion music, and more than anything wanted to share his passion for music and life with them.
John is survived by his wife, Mary Ann. His children, Marianne (Michael) Evans of Boardman, John Lapinski of Poland, and Dr. James (Hannah) Lapinski of LaGrange, Ohio; grandchildren, Meganne, Morganne, and Mitchell Evans, and Rose and Ava Lapinski; mother, Anna Helen Lapinski of Avon; sisters, Joanne (Bill) Hosterman of Durham, NC, Sandra (Bob) Jankowski of Amherst, brother, Frank (Kathy) Lapinski of Wake Forest, NC and sister-in-law, Karen Edwards of Struthers. John is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his father, John F. Lapinski, and brothers, Joseph Edwards and Edward Lapinski.
A Mass of Christian Burial with Rev. John Jerek presiding will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Friday, August 14, 2020 at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, SS. Cyril and Methodius Church, 252 E. Wood Street Youngstown, Ohio 44503. Funeral arrangements are being provided by Kubina Yuhasz Wasko Funeral Home. Due to COVID-19, the family requests that all guests please wear a mask and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
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