Joseph J. Kearney of Jefferson, Ohio, passed away on February 7, 2023, at the age of 78 after a long illness. Born in Warren, Ohio, on August 18, 1944, he was the son of Joseph “Mose” J. Kearney Sr. and Violet (Reid) Kearney. More commonly known as Coach Kearney, Joe spent 30 years teaching Social Studies and coaching football. The majority of his time was spent at Jefferson Area High School, but he also did stints at Pymatuning Valley, Ashtabula Harbor, Edgewood, and Lakeside high schools, as well as Thiel College. He was arguably one of the most well-known football coaches in Ashtabula County history, and an inductee to the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club’s Football Hall of Fame. Through the years, he positively impacted thousands of young lives—many on the field with his guidance as a coach—but also many who were witness to his kindness. He knew the value of relationships and countless students have stories of his impact. It’s common to hear his former players say that he changed their lives and made them better men. A gentle giant in stature and in the community, Joe was always quick with an off-color joke, and loved to talk politics. He was known to local state representatives, many of whom he called on a regular basis. Joe married Shirley Ann (Hill), in 1976. Together they raised their son, Christian, in Orwell, surrounded by many adopted cats. He was generous with his family and enjoyed when their home was a center of activity for friends and loved ones. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Fred. He is survived by his devoted wife, Shirley; son, Christian (Jonika); two grandchildren Josh (Sadie) and Elise; two great-grandchildren (Aubrey and Mia); his brother, George; five nieces, two nephews and many other loved ones.
Per Joe’s request no services will be observed. Cremation services entrusted to Paine Funeral Home, Inc., Orwell, OH. Please visit the funeral home website to share a memory or make a condolence at painefuneralhome.com
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