School 09


John A. Upshaw Jr.

January 7, 1954 ~ May 14, 2018 (age 64)

John A. Upshaw, Jr.

64 passed away on May 14, 2018 at 10:56 am at St. Rita’s Medical Center surrounded by his loving family. He was born, January 7, 1954 in Lima, Ohio to the late John A. Sr.,and Janet (Jones) Upshaw. John met the love of his life, Emily (Derringer-Wrencher) Upshaw on June 6, 1981 and their paths intertwined through the years. Thy married at sunset on TyBee Island, Savannah, Georgia on August 5, 2017.


Those left to cherish precious memories of John are his beloved wife Emily A. (Derringer-Wrencher) Upshaw, daughter Tiffany J. Upshaw, step-daughters,  Kari Grant and Ashely Jeffers, step-sons, Octavian (Heather) Jeffers and Arimis Jeffers. Fifteen grandchildren: Jessica (Jason) Gronas, Anita (Allen) Frost, Kaitlin (Bobby Jordan) Jeffers, Tajah Upshaw, Octavian Jeffers Jr., Azaira Andrews, Natalee Jeffers, Isabella Wakim, Ty’lee Uphaw, Tre’Sean Upshaw, Raegan Jeffers, Madelyn Jeffers, Preston Jeffers, Levi Jeffers and Tristyn Pitney. Four great grandchildren: Dradin Derringer, Sophia Groans, Liliana Frost and Kaleb Frost. A God-daughter, Edith Renn. Three brothers: Kim Upshaw, Jan Upshaw, and Gary Upshaw. A sister-in-law, Nanci (David) Sheath. A special nephew, Stephan Upshaw. A host of nieces, nephews and many other family and friends. He was preceded in death by a brother, Barry Upshaw and a grandson, Isiah Jeffers.


John graduated from Lima Senior High School in 1972. He received a B.A. in History from Bluffton University. He earned his M.S. in Education and Counseling from the University of Dayton. He also received and A.A.S. in Early Childhood Education from Rhodes State College.


His professional career began in 1981 at Allen Country Employment and Training Office as Director of Client Services. In 1987 he continued his career at DeVry University, Columbus, as Student Retention Advisor. From 1988-2004, he was the Director of Transfer, Residency, International, Degree Audit and Multicultural Affairs at Rhodes State College. John also was a Ranked Assistant Professor at Rhodes State College since 1997. In 2004 he joined the staff at The Ohio State University-Lima as Special Assistant and Chief Diversity Officer. He retired on May 6, 2017. Due to John’s zest for life coupled with his strong work ethic, he came out of retirement in August 2017 and continued his love of teaching and compassion toward others as the Mental Health First Aid Prevention Specialist at Partnership for Violence Free Families. Additionally, John was a licensed Professional Counselor. He held certification with the State of Ohio Peace Officer Training Counsel as a Certified Sensitivity/Cultural Diversity Instructor, and taught at the Rhodes State Police Academy for many years. He was a former Test Administrator to the Commission of Dental Examinations.


John touched so many lives and was highly respected by students and faculty alike. John’s commitment to giving back to his community is evident by his service through many diverse organizations including the Allen County Museum and Historical Society Board, the Lima Family YMCA Black Achievers Program, Changes through Choice Domestic Violence Prevention Center, Bradfield Community Center and Crossroads Crisis Center. He was a former facilitator for Positive Career Life Styles with the Lima City Schools, a member of “Men Choosing Non-Violence” and was appointed to the St. Rita’s Joint Collaboration Corporation.


He was the 2004 Lima Family YMCA Adult Black Achievers Award Recipient, the 2009 Ebony and Ivory Award Recipient through Bradfield Community Center, the 2010 Volunteer of the Year Award Recipient of the Lima Family YMCA and the 30th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration Cultural Awareness Award Recipient in 2015.


John was a good man. His highest priority and greatest joy was to love and be loved by his family. And he was loved much.


Visitation will be held from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at Chamberlain-Huckeriede Funeral Home, with services to commence at 6:00 p.m. Father Kevin Lutz of Saint Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, Columbus, will officiate.


Online memories may be expressed to the family at

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