Jon Harper, Former Assistant Director of the Kent Student Center

Jon Harper, 73, of Kent, Ohio, passed away on April 10, 2016, at Stow Glen Retirement Center where he has lived for the past three years. He is survived by his loving wife of 34 years, Patricia Holm Harper and dear son, Jonathan Evan Harper of Columbus. Born on March 18, 1943, as Jon Franklin Drake to Franklin John Drake of Greece and Elizabeth Diane Demetroupoulis of Chicago, Illinois, Jon was adopted when he was 13 by Donavan Harper, the stepfather he grew to dearly love and from whom he learned so much. Jon graduated from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois where he discovered his love of theater, folk music, photography and people in general.

He taught English, theater and photography from 1965-1970 at the Cook County Illinois prison. In 1970, he came to Kent State University to study theater and television, earning a master’s degree in 1972. He then began a 33-year tenure at the Kent Student Center as assistant director that proved to be a perfect avenue for Jon to interact with and encourage college students on a daily basis. Jon never met a stranger! Jon dedicated his time to Troop 253 of the Boy Scouts of America for many years. He also enjoyed his membership in the Kent Garden Club, helping at plant sales and socializing at the monthly meetings. Jon was a member of Grace Baptist Church where he was a deacon, a trustee, and a member of the choir. Upon retirement he volunteered at the Haven of Rest in Akron and thoroughly enjoyed his volunteer time with the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

Pat and Evan would like to thank the hospice of Summa led by “saint” Phil and backed by Jeremy, Paula, Chad, Joseph, Stephanie, “literary” Rod and Drs. Dhital Lookabaugh and Hudak. Many thanks to the friends and members of Grace Baptist Church, the staff of Davey Elementary, Jackie Parsons, Don and Nancy Bubenzer and Jon’s best friend, Chris Rizzo. The family would like to thank the staff of Stow Glen Retirement Center. Calling hours will be held at Bissler & Sons Funeral Home, 628 West Main Street, Kent on Thursday, April 14th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. followed by a celebration of Jon’s life at Grace Baptist Church, 5915 Rhodes Road, Kent on Friday, April 15th at 11:00 a.m. Memorial contributions may be given to The School of Theatre and Dance, Kent State University, 204 Taylor Hall, Kent, OH 44242, Attn. Pam Hutson/ or online at Give to Kent, Theater and Dance or The Haven of Rest in Akron, 175 East Market St., Akron, OH 44309-0547.

(Source: Record-Courier: