The Electrical Worker online
May 2018

index.html Home    print Print    email Email

Go to
Dennis M. Johanyak

It is with regret that we announce the death of retired Fourth District International Representative Dennis M. Johanyak on March 11, his 82nd birthday.

A native of the Akron, Ohio, suburb of Barberton, Johanyak proudly served for three years in the U.S. Marine Corps following his graduation from Kenmore High School.

In 1959, Johanyak went to work for Novatny Electric as an apprentice electrician. The following year, he was initiated into the IBEW as a member of Akron Local 306, later serving on its executive board from 1967 to 1968.

"He was a firm believer in the idea that a hard day's work deserved a fair and living wage," said Johanyak's son, Mark, the oldest of four children and himself a 30-plus-year inside wireman member of Local 306. "The members admired him for his leadership and integrity."

Johanyak became Local 306's business manager/financial secretary in 1969 and held that position as a fighter for workers' rights until his appointment by then-International President Charles Pillard in 1984 to serve the Fourth District as an international representative.

"Dennis was my international rep when I was a young business manager back in Local 688 in Mansfield, Ohio," said International Secretary-Treasurer Kenneth W. Cooper. "He helped guide me and shape me into the labor leader I am today."

"He treated everyone the same — with respect," his son said. "Whenever he wrote a note to someone, he always made sure to also tell them they were doing a good job."

In Akron, Johanyak served on the local's negotiating, labor-management, steward training and building committees. At one time, he served as the secretary-treasurer of the Ohio State Conference of the IBEW.

Johanyak's lifelong commitment to the broader labor movement extended well beyond his direct involvement with IBEW, marked by terms as vice president of the Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council, president of the Tri-County Building Trades Council, and as an executive board member for the Akron Central Labor Council.

He furthered his education by taking classes at University or Akron and completing labor-focused courses sponsored by Ohio State University. He also was active on several local government and community committees, such as an advisory committee to Rep. John Seiberling, and he was a member of the American Legion and Loyal Order of Moose.

Johanyak was a member of the Council on Industrial Relations from 1982 to 1984, and he also served on several of the international union's convention committees.

"He was the one who gave me direction in life," Mark Johanyak said. "He believed that you should always do your best, and that family comes first.

"He had a way about him," his son recalled. "He had a great sense of humor — and he loved golf." After his 1999 retirement, Johanyak remained an avid golfer. He also enjoyed woodworking, hiking and spending time with his grandchildren, in addition to taking scenic drives when possible and spending winters in Gulf Shores, Ala.

"Dad live his life humbly," Mark said, "despite the great man he was."

Johanyak was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Jayne, in 2014. Besides Mark, he is survived by another son, Shawn, also a longtime inside wireman member of Local 306; a daughter, Denise, who is married to Local 306 Membership Development Representative Thom Wright; and another daughter, Susan. Following a private family service, he was buried at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery.

"He was kind, strong and always fair," Cooper said, "but most of all, a great brother and friend."

The IBEW officers, staff and membership extend deepest sympathies to Brother Johanyak's family and friends.


Dennis M. Johanyak