John D. Whitner, an environmental engineer who was active in Perrysburg youth baseball and soccer programs, died yesterday in his Perrysburg home. He was 44.
Mr. Whitner was diagnosed with lung cancer about four months ago, family members said.
Mr. Whitner was a supervisor the last three years at the EQ Industrial Services office in Wood County's Middleton Township.
After obtaining an associate's degree in civil engineering in 1985 from the then-Owens Technical College, he went to work at Mannik & Smith Group, Inc., as a surveyor.
He worked five years for the Maumee engineering firm, including two years in its environmental division, Midwest Environmental Consultants.
He left Mannik & Smith to work about 13 years at K&D Environmental in Romulus, Mich. He spent his first year with the company in London, Ont., learning to cleanse contaminated water at industrial plants.
Mr. Whitner was active in the athletic activities of his son and his daughter, his wife, Mary Kay, said.
He coached his son's Little League baseball team and later was a vice president of the Perrysburg Soccer Club. His son, Brian, 15, played for the soccer club.
He also attended the Special Olympics events in which his daughter, Bailey, 11, participated.
Despite working as many as 65 hours a week, he went to the games to cheer for his children, Mrs. Whitner said.
“He didn't have a lot of time. He worked a lot of hours,” she said. “However, he still made time. He was at all his children's activities when he could be there, which was most of the time. He would leave early from work and go back when it was over.”
The second of five children, Mr. Whitner was the son of Phillip Whitner, a 1954 Perrysburg High School graduate who played football for Montana State University and the former Toledo Tornadoes, a semiprofessional team.
John Whitner graduated in 1975 from Perrysburg High School, where he played football, basketball, and baseball. After high school, he worked at various businesses, including Rossford's former Libbey-Owens-Ford Co., now known as Pilkington Plc.
He married the former Mary Kay Ziegler in 1981.
Mrs. Whitner said he did odd jobs to earn money for college and support his family. “He painted houses. He drove trucks back and forth. He put himself through college,” she said.
Surviving are his wife, Mary Kay; son, Brian J.; daughter, Bailey A.; father, Phillip; brothers, Robin R., Douglas N., and Donald P., and sister, Cynthia L. Curtis.
Services will be at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Perrysburg, where visitation will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow.
The family requests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township.
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