In Memoriam

John J. Petro

1937 - 2023

John J. Petro (Nov 7,1937 – Nov 24, 2023) passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family. John met his college sweetheart, Carol Jean Hatfield, while they both were freshman at The Ohio State University. They met at a hamburger joint and once Carol saw John walk into the restaurant, she knew he was the one for her. They soon became inseparable and were married on July 25, 1959. For 64 years they built a beautiful life together. John is survived by the love of his life, Carol, and their four children Cara (Jeff) McLain, Susan (Bill) Rhoads, John P. Petro (Angela) and Pamela (Chris) Van Arsdale as well as nine grandchildren – Jessica Orr, Caitie Chaffin, Samantha Everitt, Chris McLain, Anna and Meg Rhoads, Greyson, Emma, and Amelia Van Arsdale. He is also survived by nieces Myrlyn Reasoner, Annette (Tom) Parker, Mary (Tom) Marshall, Karen Stout, Lori (Hal) Renta, Andrea (Scott) Jeffries, nephew Greg (Barbara) Petro, beloved great-nieces and -nephews, and ten treasured great grandchildren. He leaves behind a large extended family and many wonderful friends.

Born and raised in Ohio, John is preceded in death by his father Charles C Petro, mother Myrtle Haynes Petro, brother Charles Petro, and sister Lynne Petro Hanhilammi. John was an avid baseball player, particularly for the Columbus North High School Polar Bears. He graduated from Columbus North High school in 1955 and continued his education at The Ohio State University where was a proud member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. He earned his B.A. from OSU in 1959 and then earned his J.D. from the OSU College of Law in 1962. He immediately joined McNamara and McNamara, a small but prominent local firm, where he spent the next 40+ years, before becoming of counsel to the firm where his son and daughter Susan were and worked together until the end of his career.

Over his prestigious legal career, he was a Founding Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers, Chairman of the Fidelity, Surety and Public Contract Law Committee, a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, a member of the Dispute Review Board Foundation, and served on various dispute review boards and committees within the American Bar Association. He was also honored with the Roswell Bottum Award for contributions to the fidelity and surety industry (1998) and by the American Bar Association with the Martin J. Andrew Award for lifetime achievement in fidelity and surety law (2003). His long and storied career continued for over 61 years as he worked up until his death.

John was a member and former Deacon of Covenant Presbyterian Church since 1970 and a Member of the Athletic Club of Columbus since 1969. He was also a past president and player in the Upper Arlington Old Timers Softball League. John enjoyed fishing at Camp Horizon and golfing with Carol at OSU Golf Course and Oakhurst Country Club.

In addition to his extensive legal accomplishments and the thousands of hours of pro bono legal advice and counsel he provided to friends and family, he was instrumental in organizing, managing, and coaching in the Upper Arlington Athletic Association. His legacy in youth sports began in 1972 when he started coaching his daughter’s softball team. He soon became a fixture in the UA Athletic Association, serving as president from 1975-2010. During that time, he was a driving force behind the growth and success of the community’s youth athletes. He not only coached all of his children at Northam Park but also four of his grandchildren. John was honored as the Grand Marshall of the Upper Arlington Fourth of July Parade in 1994 for his dedication to youth softball. Generations of athletes have him to thank for instilling in them the values of competition, teamwork, and sportsmanship.

The family welcomes all who wish to celebrate John’s life and legacy to a memorial service held on Saturday December 9, 2023 at 11:00 AM at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2070 Ridgecliff Rd, Upper Arlington Ohio. Lunch reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Covenant Presbyterian Church, The Upper Arlington Athletic Association, or to the Moritz College of Law Student Financial Aid Fund.

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