SALEM - Joanne “Jody” Marie (Wirkner) McCracken was known by her family and friends as a strong believer. She loved the Lord God with all her heart and lived her life for Him. This was evident through her words and actions. Those around her saw it and felt it. Matthew 5:16 tells us to be a light for other people, that we are to love, so others will see the good things we do and praise the Father in Heaven. Jody lived that teaching her entire life, demonstrating love, compassion and kindness. She took her light, her candle, and lit up the darkness around her.
On Monday, October 7, 2019, Jody left her earthly home and entered into Heaven where she will live eternally. She has been reunited with loved ones who have gone home before her: grandparents Arthur and Anna (Rongo) Santini and Aunt Marlene Santini.
Jody was born April 24, 1976. Growing up, she was raised by her mother, Nina, in an environment that valued God, family, love and making memories. Jody carried those values with her through life. She attended Salem Schools where she graduated in 1994. As a student, she was very involved at SHS, participating in many activities: cheerleading, class secretary, editor of the school newspaper, baseball scorekeeper and was honored as Sweetheart Queen her senior year.
After graduation, she furthered her education at Kent State University where she earned an education degree in English in 1998, graduating with honors. It was there, at KSU, where she met and fell in love with her husband, Dennis. They were married on October 30, 1999. In 2005, they were blessed with their precious daughter, Angela Danielle.
Jody possessed a special ability and inherent motivation to help those in need, especially teens. She lived her passion teaching English at Salem High School where she began her career in 1999 and continued for 20 years. She loved her life’s work and it showed. Her students felt safe, loved and at home in her classroom. Mrs. McCracken was more than a teacher at SHS. She had a ministry there as she carried her candle, lighting the way for her students.
She will be deeply missed by her family: husband Dennis McCracken, daughter Angela McCracken, mother Nina Wirkner of Salem, brother Michael Wirkner and his wife Jessica of Salem, sister Angie (Wirkner) Ball and her husband Jeremy of Elon, NC.
Jody was a light to so many people as a wife, mother, daughter, big sister, cousin, niece, aunt, friend, and teacher, but most importantly, Jody was a child of God. In her eternal home, she will hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”
As a member of Damascus Friends Church, 28857 Walnut Street, Damascus, OH 44619, her Celebration of Life will take place there at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 20, 2019 with calling hours preceding at the church from 2:30-4:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Salem High School Alumni Association, 330 E. State Street, Salem OH 44460.
Arrangements are being handled by Stark Memorial Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Salem High School Alumni
330 E. State St., Salem OH 44460