Tuesday, July 6, 2004

John Stozich, former state lawmaker, dies

The Associated Press

FINDLAY, Ohio - John Stozich, a former state representative, state cabinet member and mayor of this northwest Ohio city, died Monday. He was 77.

Stozich died at Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center, according to the Coldren-Crates Funeral Home, which did not have the cause of death. The hospital declined to provide the cause.

Stozich, a Republican, served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1983-91, when he was appointed by then-Gov. George Voinovich as director of the Ohio Department of Industrial Relations. He held that job until 1995, then was mayor of Findlay from 1996-2003.

"I found him to be one of the warmest caring people I've ever met in my life," Voinovich, now a U.S. senator, said Monday night. "I asked him to do an impossible job, be director of the Department of Industrial Relations, and his job was to abolish it."

Stozich, a Mingo Junction native, started his political career after more than 30 years as a high school teacher and coach in Steubenville, Uhrichsville and Findlay.

"We all referred to him as the coach," Voinovich said.

Stozich was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in May after pleading no contest to charges in a January traffic accident that killed a woman. He was placed on three years' probation and a 90-day jail sentence was suspended.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy, a son, two daughters, a stepson, a stepdaughter, a sister and eight grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian burial is Thursday at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Findlay.

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John Stozich, former state lawmaker, dies