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John's Story

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GRAND RAPIDS, MI - John Charles Canepa, 87, died peacefully on Thursday January 25, 2018, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Marie Canepa; brother, Richard Canepa (Beverly); four children, daughter, Claudia Wong (Stanley), son, John Canepa (Ellen), son, Peter Canepa (Kim), and daughter, Milissa Agnello (Michael); 11 grandchildren, grandson, Wesley Wong (Jaime), granddaughter, Samantha Wong, grandson, John Canepa, granddaughter, Leigh Ann Canepa, grandson, Cameron Canepa, granddaughter, Nicole Canepa, grandson, Peter Canepa, granddaughter, Christina Canepa, granddaughter, Allison Agnello, granddaughter, Emily Agnello, granddaughter, Michelle Agnello; and two great-grandchildren, great-granddaughter, Riley Wong, and great-grandson, Lucas Wong.
John was born on August 26, 1930, in Newburyport, Massachusetts, to John and Agnes Canepa. He graduated with a B.A. from Harvard University, in 1953, where he played football, basketball, and baseball. He also received an M.B.A. from New York University, in 1960. He served from 1953 to 1957 in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.
John started his career in banking, in 1956, with the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City, and moved to Provident Bank, in Cincinnati Ohio, in 1963, before joining Old Kent Bank, in Grand Rapids, in 1970. John was with Old Kent Bank, where he served as Chief Executive Officer from 1988 to 1995, until his retirement.
John was committed to making Grand Rapids a great city for everyone and his involvement with many civic, business, and medical communities had a significant effect on the development of the city. His philosophy of public - private partnership for the betterment of community, education, and social organizations, is the legacy that he leaves behind. John was an avid sports fan and could often be seen at East Grand Rapids High School football games. He particularly enjoyed playing tennis, and established the Canepa Tennis Center in East Grand Rapids.
John will be deeply missed in the hearts of his family, friends, and associates. The Mass of Christian Burial was held Thursday, February 1, at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew located at 301 Sheldon SE, Grand Rapids. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. Stephens Parrish, 750 Gladstone SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506, or the West Michigan Humane Society, 3077 Wilson Dr. NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49534.
Published on February 6, 2018
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