Johnny LeRoy and Shirley Ann Espenschied

Died: December 17, 2021
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Geib Funeral Home & Crematory
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Johnny and Shirley Espenschied of Dover left us unexpectedly due to a car accident on December 16th, 2021. Johnny joins his parents, Paul and Wanda Espenschied and brother Randy. Shirley joins her parents, Paul and Gladys Neff, brothers Kenny and Doug, and beloved son Timothy Weirich Jr. We take great comfort in the be…

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Johnny and Shirley Espenschied of Dover left us unexpectedly due to a car accident on December 16th, 2021. Johnny joins his parents, Paul and Wanda Espenschied and brother Randy. Shirley joins her parents, Paul and Gladys Neff, brothers Kenny and Doug, and beloved son Timothy Weirich Jr. We take great comfort in the belief that their lives have changed, not ended.

They met many years before they married on July 4th, 1991, but it was, according to a much-told tale by Johnny, only when Shirley “cornered him and wouldn’t leave him alone” that he agreed to a date. Thirty years later they were still enjoying each other’s company and overcoming life’s obstacles with humor and love.

Johnny was an avid amateur archaeologist. He worked on many local digs including Ft. Laurens and Nobles Pond. He and Shirley were long time members of both the Archaeological Society of Ohio and the Sugarcreek Valley of the A.S.O. for which Johnny was also a Trustee. However, Johnny is best known locally for two things: playing Santa for years and his poetry.

Johnny appeared in local parades, at private parties, libraries, and many family gatherings as Santa. Even after his health declined and he was not able to don the suit any longer, he kept the spirit by bringing out pictures of his past visits and decorating their home with his large Santa collection.

Johnny was a published poet and member of The International Society of Poets for many years. He was never without a folder of his poetry, a notebook, and multiple pens in case inspiration happened to strike. He was often asked to write poems for birthdays, weddings, or funerals of loved ones and will be remembered for his talent with words.

Shirley was often the subject of his poems about love and friendship, and for good reason. She never met a person who wasn’t instantly her friend. Her smile lit up any room and her ever optimistic personality could not be shaken. She made sure the mailman had a snack and water daily, the people who waited on her at a restaurant were her adopted grandchildren, and her neighbors were like family. She was the voice of support and cheer to anyone who needed it.

Shirley loved to travel and had the time of her life when she was able to swim with dolphins in Mexico. She travelled to Virginia Beach this summer and watched them from her balcony each morning with a joy that was beyond words. She loved her garden and marvelled at each new flower or plant that grew. Her love for life was a joy to behold.

Shirley loved her family more than anything. Her children and grandchildren were a constant source of pride and even when they were not close to home, she made sure they knew they were loved every day with texts filled with emojis or funny pictures of her beloved dog, Abby.

Johnny and Shirley left behind a tremendous legacy of love. Missing them terribly are a son, David (Linda) Weisel of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and a daughter, Tamara (George) Benson of Strasburg, Ohio. They also leave seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren: Beth Rose Galbraith and daughter Cassidy of Canton: Nathan Benson and son Noah of North Wales, UK: Kate (David) Hadley and sons Harvey, Logan and Marshall of North Wales, UK: Brendan (Heather) Wiandt of Raleigh, NC: Alex (Deidra) Wiandt and Brielle of Newcomerstown: Naomi (Dylan Bantum) Benson of Dover: Jonah (Katie) Wiandt and Elliana of Clarksville Tennessee. Remaining is also sister, Jean (Robert) Nadeau of Dover, and sister-in-law Barbara Espenschied of Dover and many nieces and nephews. Left behind also is their favorite daughter/dog, Abby, who misses them so very much but is being loved by us all.

A Celebration of Life will be held on February 5th from 2-6pm in the Reeves Museum Carriage House at 325 E. Iron Ave, Dover. The family invites you to stop in to share stories and laughter as they remember Johnny and Shirley in a place they loved. In lieu of flowers they ask that you make donations to either the Dover Historical Society or the Dover Public Library in their names.


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Service Information

Service Information

Date: Saturday, February 5, 2022

Time: 2:00 pm

End Time: 6:00 pm

Reeves Museum Carriage House


325 E. Iron Ave.
Dover, OH 44622

| Map

A Celebration of Life will be held in the Reeves Museum Carriage House.

Donation Information

Dover Historical Society

325 E. Iron Ave.
Dover, OH 44622

Dover Public Library

525 N. Walnut St.
Dover, OH 44622

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Timeline for Johnny LeRoy and Shirley Ann Espenschied

Died: December 17, 2021

Condolences for Johnny LeRoy and Shirley Ann Espenschied

Geib Funeral Home & Crematory

On behalf of the Geib Family and Staff, we offer our most sincere sympathy for your loss. We are honored to have been called upon to serve your family.


Katherine Ellwood posted on 1/13/22

My sincerest sympathy to your family at this tragic loss of your sins ter and brother-in-law, Jeanie and family. My prayers are with you. ?


Becky Horn posted on 1/10/22

Deepest sympathy to the family during this sad time. Cherish your memories. May they bring you comfort. Thoughts and prayers are with you.


Anita Negley posted on 1/8/22

Dear Tammy & families , We are stunned and saddened to hear of your tremendous loss. Your grandparents and Mom and Uncle visited Mom and Pop Wink in Butler when Shirley and I were teenagers. When they visited Shirley and I would go for walks and usually end up at the Cloverleaf store nearby and buy some snacks and talk about boys and music. I remember how fun that was and how sweet and chatty Shirley was. I always was so glad to visit a bit at the Winkelman reunion and get and give a hug. She was such a upbeat cheerful woman. Please accept our deepest sympathy . We pray that you all will find comfort in the loving arms of Jesus. God Bless You. Love&Prayers, Needie & Joe.


Dee Harris posted on 1/7/22

You will be missed


Kenny and Carol Huprich posted on 1/7/22

Our sincere sympathy to the family. Johnny was my childhood neighbor and classmate. Cherish your memories.


Thelma Manghese posted on 1/7/22

I am so sorry for your loss. We used to see John & Shirley at Denny's & enjoyed many talks. We always enjoyed seeing them. John (and Randy) worked with my husband at Greer. My husband passed away January of last year so I know John, Shirley and Randy will be with him in heaven telling many stories I will keep your family in my thoughts & prayers.


Dave and Melanie Blauch Archer posted on 1/6/22

One great couple always together here and still together in Heaven...I am sure they are greeting everyone they see...that was their personalities. How could anyone not love Johnny and Shirley? They were wonderful ! Offering my deepest sympathy to their families....I know you will miss them dearly as will we...their friends. Many blessings.....


Marlene and Tom Daniels posted on 1/6/22

Dear Tammy, our hearts are broken for you and family. You have been so good to your mom and Johnny. I know Timmy was there to meet them at the gate even though he was busy meeting our Joey. Please accept our sincere condolences,sweetheart. If there is anything you need, please don't hesitate to ask. We love you so much!!!!!


Dave & Sue Uebel posted on 1/6/22

To the family and friends of Johnny and Shirley we extend our deepest sympathy. Johnny was a wonderful Santa for us for many years, loved by us all. They were always together, where you saw Johnny Shirley wasn’t far behind. Hugs and prayers to all.


Shannon McCullough-McKee posted on 1/6/22

Shirley was a 2nd Mom to me since Jr. High. I always felt I was growing up with 2 Mom's. I will miss her smile, her hugs, and her gentle teasing of all the stupid things Tam and I did growing up. Miss her terribly, but so many wonderful memories to relive over and over in my mind. John was a friend of the family since I was a child, having worked with my Dad. He will be missed by friends and family. Hugs, Tam.


Patti Feller posted on 1/5/22

A devoted couple. I will long remember Johnny's poetry, and Shirley's wonderful smile. She was so proud of her loved ones, and it was always fun to be around her and hear what everybody was doing. Nobody will forget her kindness and that sweet smile. Peace and hugs to Tam and family.


Cyndi L Bowman posted on 1/5/22

I am so sorry for your tremendous loss. Dan and Heather always talked highly of them. I wish I could have met them. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.


Traci Fawcett posted on 1/5/22

Tamara and family, I am so sorry for you loss. Shirley was such a joy to be around and although I didn't know Johnny well there were many stories told to me about him. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers as you continue on without them.