TBDBITL Alumni Club

The Best Damn Band In The Land - The Ohio State University Marching Band Alumni

John Elmer Criss

July 27, 1926 - November 11, 2021

John E. Criss, 95, of Steubenville, Ohio passed away on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2021 at his residence. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 27, 1926, the son of the late John E. and Hazel Young Criss.

A World War II Veteran, John enlisted in the United States Navy upon graduation from Steubenville High School and served for two years in the Pacific aboard the USS Dayton. He was present in Tokyo Bay for the surrender of the Japanese Empire. John then entered The Ohio State University where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and played basketball for the Buckeyes. A proud member of the “Best Damn Band in the Land,” he was the first drum major from the Big Ten to lead a band in the Rose Bowl.

Following college, John returned to Steubenville where he met his bride of 49 years, Zanovia Gryskevich. Together they raised their four children and enjoyed lifelong friendships, golf, and travel – including a trip around the world. John’s life was dedicated to family, friends, and the Steubenville community. He spent fifty-six years in the real estate business. For twenty years, he officiated high school and college basketball. Throughout his life, John served on the boards of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, First National Bank, Franciscan University, and Ohio Valley Hospital. He was past president of Steubenville School Board of Education, Rotary Club, Steubenville Country Club, and YMCA. He served as chairman of the United Way and Dapper Dan’s. He continued to support and serve The Ohio State University throughout his life. In 2011, John was honored by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce with the Lifetime Achievement award. The community contribution that John was most proud of was co-founding the Steubenville Little League.

Preceding John in death were his parents; wife Zanovia “Zan” J. Gryskevich Criss on June 16, 2005. John is survived by his children Jeff (Kim) Criss, John (Shelley) Criss, Julie Criss, and Scott (Lori) Criss; six grandchildren Steven (Krysten), Caitlin, Jason, Codey, Zanovia and Alex, and two great grandchildren, Katie and Kendall.

Friends may call at Dunlope-Shorac Funeral Home, 215 Fernwood Road, Wintersville on Saturday from 10 a.m. until the time of services at noon with Rev. Carl Moore officiating. Burial at Union Cemetery.

Memorials may be directed to Urban Mission of Steubenville.

John was a member of the marching band from 1947 through 1950. He was Drum Major in 1949.