COLUMBIANA — Daniel P. Bekar, 74, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother and mentor, passed away peacefully, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023, at Hospice House in North Lima, surrounded by loved ones.
Dan was born March 17, 1949, in Rochester, Pa., the eldest son of Daniel and Gatha Rayburn Bekar.
Dan graduated from East Liverpool High School in 1967, having been a pivotal member of the ELHS football and gymnastics teams. After high school, he attended Kent State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in education. After graduating from Kent State, Dan began his teaching career in Stow before moving to Columbiana, where he spent the rest of his career.
His time at the Columbiana schools was spent teaching, coaching and mentoring elementary, middle school and high school students. Dan taught industrial arts, health and phys ed classes at Columbiana High School, Columbiana Middle School and Joshua Dixon Elementary School. Dan was also heavily active in coaching the high school football and wrestling teams for many years, where he became affectionately known by many names such as “Mr. B.,” “Dan the Man” and “The Ogre,” among others, by his students and athletes. Dan helped shape the success of his students and athletes not only in the classroom and through sports, but also in their lives. Dan was named “Coach of the Year” for wrestling and was inducted into the Columbiana Hall of Fame in 2020. Upon his retirement from Columbiana Schools, he became certified in OSHA training and worked at McMaster’s Farms as a safety director.
Dan was very active within the Columbiana community, not only as a teacher and coach, but also as a business owner, Columbiana City Council, Columbiana City Planning Commission, Sons of the American Legion (locally and at the state level) and the Columbiana Hall of Fame Committee. Dan was also a Master Mason at Negley Lodge 565 F&AM. Dan loved being active within the community and took great pride as a member of the American Legion Color Guard to honor those who served our country.
Dan was a beloved member of the community, particularly by his students. There are countless stories of his mentorship describing his influence in his students’ lives.
Dan is survived by his children, Craig (Laurie) Putnam of Broadview Heights, Tammie (Paul) Birmingham of Girard, Pamela (George) Barton of Girard, Curt (Sheila) Putnam of Austintown and Clay (Tina) Putnam of Michigan City, Indiana; brother, Larry (Brenda) Bekar of East Liverpool; nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren; and friend, Jean Bookman.
Dan was preceded in death by the love of his life, Donna Bekar; his parents, Daniel and Gatha Bekar; and his niece, Jackie Bekar Shultz.
The family will receive friends to celebrate his extraordinary life, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, at the Warrick-Kummer-Rettig Funeral Home in Columbiana.
Funeral services will be held 1 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home, with the Rev. Chad Johnson officiating.
Burial will follow in Columbiana Cemetery, where Dan will be laid to eternal rest with his life love, Donna Bekar.
Memorial donations may be made in Dan’s name to the Firestone Stadium Comple, c/o Columbiana Athletic Boosters, 700 Columbiana-Waterford Road, Columbiana OH 44408, Attn: Restoration.
Family and friends may view this obituary and send condolences at www.familycareservices.com.