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John Vincent Terango

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In Memory of John Vincent Terango (1936-2021) John Vincent Terango, passed away peacefully early in the morning on April 15, 2021. He served successfully as the General Manager (GM) of Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) and Acting City Manager of the City of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. His academic achievements include a Bachelor of Science from WVU with post-graduate fellowships from Case Western Reserve University and MIT. Born, February 11, 1936, a native of Clarksburg (Nutterfort), W.V. Terango moved to the Greater Cleveland area (Euclid) after serving two tours in the US Army. He was immediately hired by the Euclid Recreation Department, building the first municipal ice rink in the nation. It still operates today. He met and married Rosemary Clement and had daughters Beth and Amy. Terango's family was steeped in traditions and he joyfully continued these customs. They celebrated Christmas feasts and Midnight Mass with Rosemary's parents, Easter in Clarksburg with his parents where he was blessed annually by his mother. They attended Browns games, Indians games, hosted an annual Memorial Day picnic for neighbors, family, and veterans, coordinated an annual "breakfast on the beach" with their extended family and friends, and enjoyed educational family vacations across America and Western Europe primarily focusing on places and events in history that most impact us today. While President of Euclid Development Corporation (EDCOR), Terango led the tear-down of the dilapidated "war-time Projects", and improved the blighted landscape with a public Golf Course and other civic improvements. After his success in Euclid, he was approached by Cleveland Heights and tasked with building his second ice rink. He expanded his own role to create an affordable, safe housing model, implemented and well received by the community. It is a model adopted nationally and is still in use today. While serving as Assistant City Manager for Cleveland Heights, he received a Fellowship from Case Western Reserve University. His thesis outlined a Cleveland Urban Planning model that was completed in 1983. It also is still in use today. He was promoted to Acting City Manager and broadened the scope and efficiency of the City services. After completing his work in Cleveland Heights, he was offered a position to essentially invent what we now know as Paratransit service. Terango developed, proposed, and implemented the entire program in one year for all of Cuyahoga County. Twenty years later the ADA modeled the national mass transit Paratransit service requirements based on Terango's program. Terango was promoted several times until rising to the GCRTA's General Manager (CEO) position. At this point in his career his keen financial acumen truly came to light. When he received the appointment it was with a $31M deficit and within three years, GCRTA operated with a $37M 'Rainy Day Fund'. He achieved this outcome through an unparalleled working relationship with The Amalgamated Transit Union leadership and members, with a relentless focus on performance outcomes and operational efficiency. Among his key achievements, he created a radial hub model connecting University students to the City center with the ability to transfer and gain access to the suburban areas of the region. This model was used nationally and shared by the American Public Transit Association (APTA) as a best-practice. Because of his operational expertise and communication skills, Terango was appointed to the Board of the American Public Transit Association (APTA) and served from 1984-1987. He participated in APTA's major Conferences annually for 30 straight years. He breathed a new, fresh sense of community into the Association combined with intense dedication of advocating on behalf of Transit. He and Rosemary Clement, a published author and playrwright, divorced in 1988 while his children were in College. Shortly thereafter he retired from GCRTA after 30 years of Public service. He met Joanie Armstrong Florence with whom he shared a mutually strong love and devotion. They married and took up residence in Upper Arlington, OH. During that time he opened his consulting business, JVT, Inc. Choosing industries where progress could be made, he looked for creative opportunities that would have a long-lasting positive impact on the Transit Industry. First working with Orion Bus where he developed marketing for new, low-floor buses that would better serve the public. Then to Orbital Sciences where he worked on Business Development, helped shape the organization to better understand Transit, fusing high-quality advanced technology with the Transit Industry. Finally with Transit Television Network, the first company to provide audio and video advertising on buses as a way to generate revenue and off-set fare increases to the public. His degree of service did not end with his title and work duties. He served on numbers committees and boards. For example in 1996, he served on the Atlanta Olympic Transportation Committee coordinating transportation services to meet the needs of athletes at Olympic Village and tourism ridership for those Olympic Games. While in the Private sector, he served on both the Ohio Public Transit and the Michigan Public Transit Board of Directors, and served as President of the Nobel Beach Association for eight terms. He won numerous professional and civic awards and was most proud of the Minority and Women Advancement Award by APTA, the Design Award for the Shaker Heights Square Transit Development and Leadership Cleveland Individual of Distinction recognition. He and his wife, Joanie, and their combined families enjoyed many special occasions together. From happy Christmases, joyful Easters, punctuated by a huge July 4th celebration, the gatherings were enjoyed by all for the entirety of their marriage. They also traveled extensively, Wintering in Scottsdale, AZ, Summering in Europe along with many other side trips, taking their golf clubs wherever they went. Terango continued consulting until his wife's illness, when he became dedicated to her care until the moment she passed away. Missing her and the life they shared he moved to the Greater Cincinnati area to be close to his daughter, Amy and her family. He was able to get to see his basketball legacy continue with his grandson, John and granddaughter, Alessa. He saw his eldest granddaughter, Siena, Cheer and bring home straight A's. Terango, a true an athletic scholar, was always delighted to see their success and rejoiced in their achievements. Terango merged the traditions of his Italian, Catholic heritage and built upon them creating a legacy of profound service with a relentless focus on accountability and results. Always thinking about the future for the public good and leaving things better than he found them with infrastructure that would last, Terango's positive impact is still felt today. An innovative, forward thinking leader, he focused on areas that would make a significant impact, whether it was the sustainable transit system processes and delivery, advancement of minorities in the workplace, accessible housing, or the use of technology to improve efficiencies and effectiveness of public service delivery. His inclusive and charismatic approach drew people in and his ethics and integrity made them long lasting friends and colleagues. John Vincent Terango is survived by his daughters Beth Jo Terango (husband Robert Hager, deceased), Amy Terango Waldbillig, husband, Carl Waldbillig, children, Siena Rose, John Michael, Alessa Rae; Joanie's children: Mary Shiple, husband Craig, children Kurt and Drew; Elizabeth Boyuk, husband Peter, children Cassidy and Macy; Tim Florence, wife Tonya, as well as former spouse Rosemary Clement. Visitation for family and friends will be held at John Quint Treboni Funeral Home, 1177 W. Fifth Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43212 on Thursday, April 29 10am-12pm; 6pm-8pm; Rosary at 7:00pm. A maximum of 20 people are allowed in the building at any one time. Masks and social distancing are mandatory. A Funeral Mass will be held 11:00am, Friday, April 30 at Our Lady of Victory Church, 1559 Roxbury Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43212. Masks and social distancing are required. Burial to follow at St. Joseph Cemetery, 6440 S. High Street, Lockbourne, Ohio 43137 followed by a reception. Condolences maybe sent to www.johnquint.com and gifts may be made in the name of John Vincent Terango to the Williamsburg Foundation, 401 W. Duke of Gloucester St, Williamsburg, VA 23185, or Our Lady of Victory Church.