John Deardorff Isaly

January 04, 1931 ‒ February 25, 2011

Avon, and formerly of Marion, Ohio

John Deardorff Isaly, age 80, of Avon, and formerly of Marion, Ohio, died at home with his wife and daughters beside him, a son-in-law and grandson close by, on February 25, 2011.

He was born on January 4, 1931, in Marion, Ohio, the son of the late Charles Herbert and Bertie Jane (Deardorff) Isaly.

Mr. Isaly married Nancy Lee Pennisten in September of 1950, and they celebrated their sixtieth anniversary this past fall. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, and three daughters, Deborah (David) vanDommelen, of San Francisco, CA, Lorraine (Randy) Barker, of Nashville, TN, and Melissa (Lester) Isaly-Johns, of Avon Lake, OH, and eight grandchildren, Evan, Ian, Ben, Hans, Mia, Stefan, Lucas, and Brant, and four great-grandchildren, Nina, Inez, Bailey, and Adelaide.

Last of a generation of the family active in developing the Isaly Dairy Company, Mr. Isaly was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers, Richard, William, and David Isaly, and three sisters, Marian Schulz, Ruth Cunningham, and Anna Marie Converse, and a daughter, Cynthia Isaly in 1977.

Mr. Isaly graduated from Marion Harding High School in 1949, from Cornell University with a degree in Economics and Business in 1953; then, served in the United States Army 1953-55 at Ft. Hood, Texas, where he was 1st Lt. Battery Commander. From 1955–69, he worked for the Isaly Dairy Company in Pittsburgh, PA, and in Marion as General Manager. The family lived briefly in New Jersey where he worked for Buxton’s Country Shops, returning to Marion in 1970 when he assumed ownership of the Isaly Shoppe on Mt. Vernon Avenue, a new concept in family dining that he had pioneered and promoted for the Isaly Dairy. For twenty-five years as operator of The Isaly Shoppe, Mr. Isaly’s “hands on” approach, business integrity, and commitment to excellence inspired employees and customers alike. In 1995, he retired and moved to Port Clinton, with his wife, Nancy, where they lived for fifteen years, recently moving to Avon.

Active in business, service, and church communities, John Isaly served in the following positions: Board of Directors of the National City Bank, Home Federal Savings and Loan, and the National Ice Cream Association, President of the Marion Lion’s Club and the Marion County Youth Foundation, and Deacon, Elder, and Trustee of the First Presbyterian Church of Marion and Elder in the Firelands Presbyterian Church of Port Clinton. He also helped develop the Shadyside subdivision in Marion.

Family came first for Grandpa Isaly, and he put much effort into cultivating personal relationships with his daughters, their spouses, his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, encouraging them to gather at “Wiapita,” the home on Lake Erie, to share his loves of travel, golf, bridge, gardening, swimming, and boating. Modeling the qualities of respect and unconditional love, Mr. Isaly supported each of his loved ones equally, appreciating their unique strengths and encouraging them to pursue their individual paths and goals. He was a true egalitarian.

A memorial celebration of Mr. Isaly’s life will be held on Friday, March, 4th at 1:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 143 S. Prospect St., Marion. Friends may call on the family from 11:00 a.m. until the time of service.

The Denzer-Farison-Hottinger & Snyder Funeral Home of Marion is honored to serve the family of John Isaly.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Greater Cleveland, 7050 Engle Rd. Suite 106, Cleveland, OH 44130.

For those wishing to express their private condolences online to Mr. Isaly’s family, they may do so by visiting: