Eulogy and Obituary for Arlene L. Jarvis

Eulogy for Arlene L. Jarvis

April 18, 2016

by Rev. John Partridge


Most of us are not too good at remembering what happened on a particular date in history. We memorized “Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred and ninety two” but beyond that we’re usually a little baffled.  And so, this morning I’ve done a little research.  In 1919 Jack Dempsey won the world heavyweight boxing title, Albert Einstein was doing research at a university in Germany, Edsel Ford succeeded his father Henry as the President of Ford Motor Company, George Bernard Shaw’s new play premiered in New York City, Mahatma Gandhi led protests in India, Babe Ruth still played for the Boston Red Sox, WW1 officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, and Arlene L. Wiandt was born in Zoar, Ohio on May 31st.

At first glance, it wouldn’t seem like any of those are a fair comparison.  How could a little girl from Zoar, Ohio possibly compare to so many well known people?  Honestly, it isn’t a fair comparison because, for most of us, Arlene wins that contest easily.  Few of us have seen Babe Ruth play ball, and as much as many of those famous people are well known, few of them had any immediate impact on our lives.  But Arlene Jarvis sure did.

Arlene grew up in Zoar, went to school in Bolivar, and, as the Second World War began she fell in love and got married.  If you think you know that part of the story, you’d probably be wrong because the man she married wasn’t Delmar.  We’re not sure who he was, but Arlene fell in love and married a man who shipped out for the war and she was widowed that same year.  This must have been a painful experience but Arlene never talked about it.  Her children didn’t find out that this even happened until a few years ago.  And then, as life went on, Arlene managed the London candy store at the corner of Perry Drive and Lincoln Way.  One day after work she went to the roller skating rink and met a guy named Delmar who was a regular competitor in the skating races there.  One thing led to another, and they were married in 1941.

Given her history, it must have been frightening for her when Delmar shipped out on the destroyer, the USS Kephardt, and served in both the Atlantic and the Pacific theaters, but she stayed faithful and waited for his return.  While she waited, Arlene worked at several different naval bases in Maryland but after Delmar came home, she didn’t work any more.  Instead, became a full-time mom and did everything for her kids including regular trips to Lake Cable to the swimming hole where she got some sun and socialized with the other moms as the kids splashed and swam.  But she also became Delmar’s constant companion.  They did everything together and they did everything they could to be with their family.

If their children or grandchildren were in it, Delmar and Arlene did whatever they could to be there.  Whether it was working at camp, or watching basketball, or the marching band, or something else, they were there.

If any of the family were in town, they did everything together whether it was going to the grocery story or anything else.  And with a son living in Wisconsin, they met halfway to visit one another each Easter and so, every year they would meet at a hotel in South Bend, Indiana.  Every year they would find places to go together, they would take walks on the Notre Dame University campus, and since the Amish restaurant that they liked was closed on Sunday, they would have Easter Sunday dinner together on Saturday evening.

Arlene Jarvis probably never met Babe Ruth, or Mahatma Gandhi, or Albert Einstein, but neither did any of us.  Honestly, even though those folks are famous, the things that they did didn’t change us that much.  But the things that Arlene Jarvis did changed the world for some of us.  Edsel Ford didn’t take us swimming or sing us to sleep when we didn’t feel well.  George Bernard Shaw wasn’t there to make a casserole or comfort friends at Trinity Church who had lost a loved one.  Arlene did all of those things, and more, for the people in this room.  For us, through her faithfulness, through her compassion, through her tenderness, and through her love, one life at a time, Arlene Jarvis changed the world.

There’s a lesson there for all of us.  Few, if any, of us will ever be so famous that our names are recognized all over the world for a hundred years.  But every one of us has the power to change our little corner of the world through faithfulness, compassion, tenderness, and love.

All it takes to change the world is for more of us to be like Arlene.



Arlene Jarvis Obituary


Arlene Jarvis

Arlene Lydia Jarvis

May 31, 1919 – April 10, 2017
Born in Zoar, Ohio
Resided in Massillon, OH

Arlene L. Jarvis, age 97; of Massillon, went home to be with the Lord on Monday, April 08, 2017. She was born to the late William and Pauline (Sylvan) Wiandt on May 31, 1919 in Zoar, OH. She married Delmar Jarvis on March 01, 1941 and they shared 75 years together until his passing in 2016.
Arlene was a devoted Wife, Mom, Grandmother, and Great-Grandmother. She managed a London Candy Store for 5 years.
She is survived by her sons Keith (Betty) Jarvis, Kenneth (Jeannine) Jarvis and Joel (Sandi) Jarvis; his grandchildren Keith (Cherie) Jarvis, Elizabeth (Jack) Jarvis-Whitehouse, Allison (Scott) Sigman, Amy (Jeff) Tillar, Ashley Jarvis, Matt (Kelly) Jarvis, Corey (Lindsay) Jarvis, Brandon Jarvis and; 11 great grandchildren a sister-in-law Wilma Mae Levengood, as well as a host of relatives and friends.
A Celebration of her life will be held at 11a.m. on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at the Paquelet & Arnold-Lynch Funeral Home. Visitation from 10a.m. until the time of the service. Donations in Arlene’s memory can be made to Harbor Light Hospice. 25 S. Main Street, Suite 7, Munroe Falls, OH 44262.

Eulogies and Obituary for Alan Keller

Memories and Eulogies Shared

Trinity United Methodist Church

January 21, 2017

Pastor Julia Wertz



Bryan Corrie    System Engineer IT Dept 870 Delta Air Lines

Alan and I started our careers together back in the early eighties at Delta Air Lines as IT engineers. We were in the same training class in Atlanta. We both moved to Jacksonville Florida on March 15th 1984 with our belongings in the same moving truck. He, I and my wife Linda became very good friends. Alan and I worked side by side and never had a single disagreement. Alan moved to Orlando then FT Myers but we continued to be in the same department and still worked together often. He was not a practicing Christian but you wouldn’t know it by his actions. He always respected and loved his fellow man and lived the life like a Christian. He always did the right thing. One of his last ditch efforts at a cure for his cancer was a visit to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. My wife took him there. They pretty much said there was nothing they could do for him. When he got in the car to leave my wife asked him “Where do you want to go?” His answer was HEAVEN. He was a Very Very Special Person and friend and will be dearly missed.

Scott Feucht Field Service Engineer

Uncle Alan was a guy who wanted to make you laugh. Growing up, this was usually by tickling you to death. As we got older, it turned into witty one liners and funny jokes. Alan’s laugh was contagious. He always wanted to bring the best out of a person and to see them truly happy. Going to Uncle Alan’s place in Florida for family vacations was always a highlight I looked forward to growing up. Going to Walt Disney World, the Everglades, and the amazing beaches. Alan lived his life to the fullest. Never one for drama or stressing over things. As long as he had his Pepsi and cigarette, he had a smile on his face. I love you Uncle Alan. Always keep that smile on your face and keep making everyone around you laugh. Also…. Do me a favor… Send Gma my love and tell her that her money is in the bank

Pamela Berger RN/CHPN

HI!My name is Pam and I was the nurse who took care of Alan in his home in Florida. I wanted to share with you how privileged I was to have been his nurse. Alan was a year younger than I am so I guess it always makes me realize my mortality when I have young patients. Maybe that’s why I identified with him.  He was funny. He was soft spoken and sweet. He had all the reasons in the world to be bitter and angry but he wasn’t! I asked him one day why he did not pursue a lawsuit pertaining to his (lack of ) care and his reply was “What ‘s the point?” Exactly…. What would have been the point of him spending his last days on earth angry and negative? He chose to be happy and content with what he had left.

He was a loyal friend and his friends were fiercely loyal to him. They drove hours to check on him. They took turns visiting just to make sure he was doing okay. They honored his wishes and let him have his time alone when he needed it. They loved him so much!

Alan chose to have his sister and father at his side when he left this world. They took care of his every need. They stopped everything in their lives to be with him and surrounded him with their love. I can’t think of a better definition of “family”.

Every once an a while I get to be a small part of the end of a special  person’s story. I want to thank Alan for letting me be a part of his. I have been blessed to know him.

Wayne Moss  Director – IT Field Operations

My remembrances of Alan are:

Alan loved to laugh, and he enjoyed making others laugh.  In fact, he wasn’t satisfied until he had people around him laughing and smiling.

I would say that Alan was “Quickly Witty”.   He could easily verbalize an accurate response to whatever was being discussed.  Most often, his responses generated smiles and laughter.


Alan had a keen ability to find a happy way to cope with a challenge.


He didn’t complain, as least not to me…   He treasured his Delta Family and his customers.   He was much more than a co-worker.   He was Family.


It has hurt me deeply, to know even slightly, the enormous pain and difficulty he has endured.


1 Corinthians 13The Message (MSG)The Way of Love

13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.



I believe that the understanding of ALAN’S LIFE  is expressed very well in today’s SCRIPTURE READING FROM I CORINTHIANS 13 demonstrating how ALAN GAVE AND RECEIVED THE GIFT OF LOVE DURING HIS LIFE’S JOUNEY.   

ALAN ENJOYED loving and receiving love as being part of God’s creation where there is a time for everything. We are given the gift of human life by God and at the end of this earthly life there is yet another gift from God—the gift of eternal life. In the gospel of John we hear that if we have faith in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven, then we will also enjoy eternal life with Jesus.

Alan L. Keller was born on May 29, 1960 in Massillon to Arvine Keller and the late Dorothy (Yatsko) Keller. Alan was a graduate of Perry High School, Akron University and Embry-Riddle University.

Alan loved to be the life of the party. He was kind, thoughtful, generous and caring. He had never met a stranger. He thought of life as an adventure and loved to live it. He worked as a Technology Specialist for Delta Airlines for thirty – four years.  LOVED PETS…KITTY CLEO 20 YR


written BY ALAN 2 weeks before his passing:

Hey folks, this will probably be the last post from me as I continue to get weaker and everything becomes much harder to do.

It has shocked me to find out over the last few months how many caring and sincere friends I have accumulated over the years. Sure, we all collect a few good friends, but I was so flabbergasted that there were so many cut from the finest material and would do anything to help me. Taking time from their lives, their work and their families. You folks are the reason that my life has been such a blast and I could never thank you all enough.

As I pass to the next stage, the biggest worry that I have is that our children are losing their innocence, their childhood if you will. Childhood was such fun for me and I wish it could stay that way for all kids, but with the shootings, killings and like of viagras and other commercials, their innocence is gone

I’ve been pretty much a no drama person and if I had one line of wisdom to leave folks, it would be before you start or continue an argument, ask yourself one question: A week from now or a month from now, will this argument really matter? Almost every time you’ll realize it’s about something trivial that won’t have any affect on the future except to cause hash words and bad feelings until both people realize this. So forget the argument and go do something enjoyable and life will improve instantly. Even a quarter pounder with cheese beats a two hour fight.

I’ve been blessed with terrific friends and a family that has been second to none. Maybe you look at it as I had a good hand dealt to me? Well, you can take a bad hand with a good attitude and turn it into something enjoyable. It’s just up to you.

Thank you and good bye.  Smile every day, take care and I’ll see you on the other side.

TO CHERISH ALAN’S MEMORY ARE HIS father. his sister, Cheryl (Richard) Feucht; three nephews, Scott (Revital) Feucht, Cory (Maggie) Feucht and Drew Feucht; and two grand-nephews, Camden and Owen

Alan has requested that his friends and family should show love for your fellow man, give generously to those in need and live life to the fullest.


LAST night I had a dream.  I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.  Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.  For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonged to me, the other to the Lord.

 AFTER the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand.  I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.

THIS really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.  “Lord, you said  once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way.  But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints.  I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

THE Lord replied, “My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you.  During your times of suffering, when you could see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”





Alan Lee Keller

May 29, 1960 – January 13, 2017 
Resided in North Fort Myers, FL

Alan L. Keller, 56, passed away at home in North Fort Myers, FL, surrounded by his family on January 13, 2017.

He was born on May 29, 1960 in Massillon to Arvine Keller and the late Dorothy (Yatsko) Keller.  Alan was a graduate of Perry High School, Akron University and Embry-Riddle University.

Alan loved to be the life of the party. He was kind, thoughtful, generous and caring. He had never met a stranger.  He thought of life as an adventure and loved to live it. He worked as a Technology Specialist for Delta Airlines for thirty – four years.

In addition to his father he is also survived by his sister, Cheryl (Richard) Feucht; three nephews, Scott (Revital) Feucht, Cory (Maggie) Feucht and Drew Feucht; and two grand-nephews, Camden and Owen.

Friends may call on Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 10:00am-11:00am at Trinity United Methodist Church where a funeral service will be held at 11:00am, Rev. Julia Wertz, officiating.  Burial will be in Union Lawn Cemetery.

Messages of condolence may be sent to the family

Alan has requested in-lieu of flowers that his friends and family should show love for your fellow man, give generously to those in need and live life to the fullest.

Eulogy and Obituary for Lann L. Ford

Eulogy for Lann N. Ford

December 29, 2016

by Rev. John Partridge


With my arrival here at Trinity Church five years ago, I came into the middle of everyone’s lives and clearly the middle of Lann and Larry’s difficult story.  When I arrived, Lann had already been fighting for several years, had already retired, and was already staying mostly at home.  Everyone knows that part of the story so there isn’t any need for me to say much more except that even at that late date, there were things that I learned from Lann Ford.  But before we talk about that, let’s go back to the beginning.

Lann N. Huntsman was born November 5th, 1955 as the fifth child (there would eventually be eight) and second daughter of Robert and Dorothy Huntsman.  From the beginning, it was obvious that Lann was her own person.  She had a plan, and she didn’t care if other people, even her parents had different expectations.  She was a good student, but more than that, she had a plan.  She didn’t just go to school, she wanted to get an education and there were certain pieces, certain bits of education that she wanted, and she made sure that she got them.  She was in speech, and in plays, and she deliberately designed and used her high school career to prepare her for college and the things that she wanted out of life in general.  She knew that she wanted to go to college, even though no one else in her family had gone and even though college education wasn’t something that her parents thought was important for girls.  It didn’t matter.  She pushed and she pushed and she went anyway.  More than that, she worked to earn her own money to pay for it.

Lann knew that she wanted to be an elementary school special education teacher but when Bard was ready to start school, he wasn’t too sure what he wanted to do or what he would be good at.  But at registration, Lann knew exactly what he should do, and she took him by the hand and got him signed up.  Not only that, she got him a job to help pay for it, and Bard told me that Lann basically got him through his first two years of school at Kent Stark.  The two of them always scheduled their classes so that they could have time to eat lunch together every day.  Lann excelled in education, both as a student and as a teacher, and on the day that she graduated, she was the first in her family to earn a college degree.

After graduation, Lann worked in Massillon, and at Reedurban, and several others before landing at St. Joan of Arc, although even then, technically, she worked for Perry Local Schools.  Lann Ford was a teacher through and through.  She was selfless.  Her students were “her” kids, she loved her kids, she was their teacher, their friend, and their greatest advocate.

I mentioned earlier that Lann disagreed with her parents on the subject of education, but despite their disagreement, she loved her family and she was still daddy’s little girl.  She knew how to use tools, but not on a car.  She never touched a car.   There was always dad or a brother to do that for her, and she was fine with that even though all of the cars that she drove were always beaters.  Lann never owned a nice car until Larry bought one for her.

This reminds me, Larry and Lann met because Lann was dating Larry’s friend Paul Vaccani.  But they broke up, and when they did, Larry was waiting and stepped right in.  It must have gone well, because they were married in 1980 outside of the North Canton Civic Center.  It had rained all day and stopped just in time for the wedding.  Next door, there was a girls’ softball game being played, but the coaches stopped the game during the ceremony so that they wouldn’t be too disruptive.  In 1983 Dara arrived and then Dustin in 1986.  As much as Lann loved her students, she loved her family more.  She was very family oriented and attended everything that her kids were in, she never missed a game or an event even when she had to get there in a wheelchair.  And Lann was a great supporter and fan of her husband too.  When Larry was awarded Teacher of the Year at Claymont, nearly all of Larry’s acceptance speech was about how Lann was responsible and why she was the reason that he was good at what he did.

I asked the family to tell me about vacations that they took together and no one could really pinpoint any one big trip or talk about an annual camping trip or anything.  They remembered that Lann really loved Utah, and she loved to plan parties, but nothing else really stood out.  Even so, vacations were about family.  Since Larry and Lann were both teachers they had the summer off, but the impression that I got was that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, ‘ya know?  Dara and Dustin were just as busy and as driven as Lann and they had plans for the summer, and so Larry and Lann would spend the summer doing whatever their kids were doing.  Lann just loved being around family.

Of course, not going away on a big vacation trip meant that the summer often turned into a “stay-cation.”  Especially since Lann loved keep busy, there was always something to do in the house, to the house, or around the house.  One summer they tore up all the carpet, sanded, and refinished the hardwood floors underneath… in the whole house.  Another summer they sided the garage, and so on.

As we met together, there were things that I heard from her family that I had heard many times before from many other people, and things that I had learned for myself.  Lann Ford was a ball of energy and was always cheerful.  She never seemed to have a bad day.  Whenever she met someone, it was as if she had always known them.  She liked to talk, genuinely cared about people, and never held a grudge.  She was always happy and always thought of herself as a dancer.  She danced on her toes from the time she was a little girl and she loved gymnastics.

Lann was first diagnosed with Multi-System Atrophy in 2004 and took disability retirement in 2007 but through it all, she always handled her disability with calm, humility, and grace. When I first met her, Lann was already in a wheelchair, had difficulty speaking and was already transitioning to using her spelling board.  It was hard for us to communicate and between her soft voice and my hearing loss, it was impossible without another person to listen and repeat what she had said.  But even then, she just smiled and did the best that she could.  Lann Ford had every reason to be frustrated and angry from time to time.  Everyone would have understood if she occasionally yelled at God and lashed out at people… but she never did.

I’m not sure that I would be able to do what she did if I was confronted with the sort of challenges that she faced.  But that was the strength of her character.  This was the woman who, even in high school, knew what she wanted to do, where she wanted to go, and what she needed to be doing to get there.  This was the woman who determined to go to college even though no one from her family had done it before, even though her parents didn’t think that it was important, and even though she had to find ways to pay for it herself.  This was the woman who came to every event that her children participated in, was her husband’s greatest supporter, encourager, and cheerleader, and who challenged her employers, or administrators, or the system if she needed to so that she could advocate for her students.  Lann Ford must be one of the strongest women that I have ever known.  From the very beginning, she was determined to live life on her terms and she refused to allow her disability to change that.  Lann refused to allow her disease to change who she was no matter what.

My friends, if any of us have learned anything at all from Lann Ford, it’s this: If any of us can be half as brave, half as strong, half as determined, half as kind, half as compassionate, half as caring, and half as happy as she was, we will change the world.  I am certain of this because every one of us is here today because Lann Ford inspired us or changed us in some way, and every one of us that is here can name five more people who aren’t here for whom she did the same thing.  As we leave this place, the best way for us to honor Lann is for us to be for our families, our friends, our coworkers, and the people around us, the kind of a person, the kind of a blessing, that Lann was for us.


Lann liked the words from Ecclesiastes 3:1-14, as well as the song, Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds which used that scripture as the basis for the lyrics.  We aren’t able to play the song for you today, but listen to these words recorded for us by King Solomon:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain have the workers from their toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11 He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; 13 moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. 14 I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.



Lann N. Ford

November 4, 1955 – December 24, 2016
Resided in Canton, OH


Lann N. (Huntsman) Ford, 61, passed away December 24, 2016 following an extended illness. She was born November 4, 1955 in Canton to the late Robert and Dorothy (Tyrell) Huntsman.

Lann was a 1974 graduate of Perry High School. She was an elementary L.D. teacher for Perry Local Schools until she took disability retirement in 2007. Lann loved her work and was a devoted advocate for her L.D. students. Lann was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Perry Heights.

Lann was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her husband of 36 years, Larry K. Ford; daughter, Dara; son, Dustin and daughter-in-law, Megan; siblings, Lee Huntsman, Brent Huntsman, Brad Huntsman, Lynn Fay, Laynn Vaccani, Bard Huntsman, and Brett Huntsman; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Calling hours will be held in Reed Funeral Home Canton Chapel on Wednesday, December 28 from 6-8pm. Funeral service will be held in Trinity United Methodist Church (3757 Lincoln Way East Massillon, Ohio 44646) on Thursday, December 29 at 10am with Pastor John Partridge officiating. Interment will follow at Richville Cemetery. In Lieu of flowers family suggests donations to Trinity United Methodist Church in Perry Heights.

Eulogy and Obituary for Richard (Dick) Lewton

Eulogy for Richard (Dick) Lewton

December 12, 2016

by Rev. John Partridge


In a way, this isn’t new.  Almost all of us have experienced loss before.  Most of us know what it is to lose people, friends, and family that we love.  But in many ways, this is different.  Richard (Dick) Lewton was a different sort of a man than many of the people we know and so losing him is an entirely different sort of a loss.  Regardless of who you are, and regardless of how you knew Dick, we have all lost something of great value.  Dick was one of the people that, regardless of whether we were family, or friends, or employers, or employees, or church family, or something else, Dick was on the incredibly short list of people that we knew, that no matter what happened, we could rely upon to keep his word, and to get things done.  But before we go too far in that direction, let’s go back to the beginning.

Dick was born on February of 1929 in Lisbon, Ohio and lived there until he was about 12 years old.  That was just long enough for him to pick up a few mannerisms and unique speech habits that although they may not, technically, have come from Lisbon, that’s where the blame has typically fallen.  And so, at the age of 12 his parents moved from Lisbon to Perry Township.  To make a little money, Dick became a paperboy, and curiously, one of the houses on his route was the home of Wanda and her parents.  Nothing really happened at that point, except we know that is the earliest that Dick and Wanda knew one another.

A few years later, after Dick had graduated from Lincoln High School and was about 20, his brother Ralph had returned home from his time of military service, Ralph asked Dick to be the best man in his wedding.  As it happened, Ralph was marrying Wanda’s sister, and Mary asked her to be her maid of honor.  Now before you go and think that this is some kind of fairy tale thing, Wanda clearly remembers asking her mother, “Do I have to spend the whole day with him?”  She was none too excited about the possibilities.  But, she told me, as the day wore on she discovered that this guy was actually pretty nice.  Three years after that, Dick and Wanda were married, at Trinity church, and bought a house together, and it was only then that Dick got drafted and left for the Korean Conflict.  He was gone for almost two years.  Oh, there’s something else I should mention, when Dick left for Korea he left a little something behind and Ron was born not long after he left.  As it happened, the Red Cross failed to notify him, and he only found out about the birth of his son from a letter from one of his relatives.  By the time Dick came home and got to meet his son, Ron was already 13 or 14 months old.

As I met with Dick’s family, his children told me that they never, in their entire lives, saw Dick and Wanda fight.  Of course, they are sure that there must have been the occasional disagreement between them, but if they did, it never happened in front of the kids.  In fact, their children told me that they could never remember a time when Dick even got particularly upset with them, although to be fair, Wanda admits that they were blessed by children who never really caused them any problems.

I’m not really sure, after delivering newspapers at the age of 12, when Dick really began working in retail.  When he was in Korea he ran the Post Exchange, or PX, which, for those of you who might not have experience military life, the PX is a sort of general store and is often the only connection with the “real world” and the only chance that men and women in uniform have to buy much of anything, particularly when they are in a combat zone.  And so, after Dick came home, he started working for the Acme grocery chain and did so for the next 43 years.  As manager, he worked lots of hours.  He worked 6 days a week and they were long days.   And then, with the family waiting in the car, he still had to stop at the store every Sunday after church to make sure that all of the freezers and refrigerators were working properly.  But then, after he checked that everything was okay, every Sunday during the summer, the whole family would drive to Atwood Lake where they would meet Ralph and Mary and the entire extended family and all the cousins would be together.  In all, work took a lot of Dick’s time, but any time that he wasn’t at work, you know that he would be with his family, or at church, or both.

As a family they would do things together any time they could.  They traveled together to Atwood Lake every Sunday in the summer, they went to the Outer Banks, and over the years they went camping in Michigan, West Virginia, Hocking Hills, Mohican and other places.  And the whole family went hiking, in all of those places, and wherever they could.  Later, Dick and Wanda organized 17 different bus trips to New York and Chicago and places all over.  Many of those trips were with the folks from their Sunday school class.  And on top of all that, Dick and Wanda still found time to be alone from time to time, and together, just the two of them, they traveled to Alaska and Hawaii.

By the time his grandchildren arrived on the scene, he had retired from Acme and he wasn’t about to miss a single minute of anything if he could help it.  He went to everything, every dance, every volleyball game, every football game, everything.  By now you probably have the impression that Dick Lewton had a strong work ethic, and you’d be right.  His work ethic was as strong as they come, but if you thing about it, it wasn’t just about work.  Whatever Dick did, he committed himself, he devoted himself, wholeheartedly, to doing it to the best of his ability with everything that he had.  He worked like crazy at Acme, even when he suffered from terrible headaches he would still go to work.  He joined the Canton Kiwanis club and became their president.  He spent hours and hours helping with the Genoa schoolhouse project.  He was the president of the condo association.  He still attended monthly lunches with his friends from Lincoln High School.  He enjoyed working at the church and he was, as I noted earlier, one of those people that you knew you could call to get things done, and you knew that if he agreed to do it, that it would absolutely get done.  He taught Sunday school for ten years, was the president of the Pathfinders class, and worked on almost all of the church committees at one time or another, although he liked working with the church finances more than the others things.

Richard Lewton was the kind of a man that could talk to anybody and nobody was a stranger, at least not for long.  Everyone who knew him, liked him, and that includes all of the employees who worked for him.  He was the kind of a man who didn’t talk about people behind their back and who, despite working six or even seven days a week, with long hours, never spoke negatively of his employer.  Dick always had to be busy with something or be busy talking to someone.  He was always busy with a hobby, or building something, or fixing something, or even planning something.  Even when he really couldn’t do a lot himself, he was still imagining what could be done and really seemed to enjoy proposing ideas to my sons for their Eagle Scout projects.

Just a moment ago, I mentioned that, as a family, they would do things together any time they could.  His children admitted that, learning from Dick’s example, and with some encouragement from him, they often would look for an excuse to get together.  They would have campfires, or bonfires, or picnics, or some other kind of gathering just so that family could get together.  And Dick loved every minute of it.  He once told them, “This is what it’s all about.”  It was all about the gathering.  It was all about being together.  It was all about family.  It was all about… love.

Everyone who knew Dick Lewton always felt both loved and valued.  And in the world in which we live, that is truly a special gift.  If I had to boil everything that I know about Dick Lewton into four words, I’d end up with words like family, committed, faithfulness, and… love.

I have no difficulty imagining that as Richard Lewton arrived at the gates of heaven, he heard the words of his master saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!(Matthew 25:21)



Tyler Higgins (grandson):

Yesterday we lost the greatest grandpa anyone could ask for.  Thank you for introducing me to woodworking, taking me fishing when I was younger, and teaching me to golf (although I don’t know how much you taught me golfing if you look at my scorecard).  I’m going to miss your back cracking bear hugs and your amazing personality.  I just want to thank you for everything you have done for me and turning me into who I am today.


Jennifer (Jenni) Lewton-Yates (granddaughter):

The last time I lived in Ohio and got to see Grandpa more than maybe just once or twice a year was thirteen years ago, and writing this now I realize that almost everything I think and feel about him is focalized through my eyes as a either child or at best a “barely adult,” so I generally just come up with a feeling of warm fuzzy –and that’s difficult to put into words.  He had the best toys (usually battery operated and noise making), a pool when I was little (he could shoot amazing water jets with his hands), always had candy or cookies in the house, ice cream before bed when I spent the night, chocolate milk when we went out to eat, cable TV –almost like he was a giant kid.  I loved the way his eyes got extra sparkly when he smiled, which was a lot.  He taught me how to play checkers and the importance of antiques –that’s a lesson I may have internalized and taken to the extreme in my choice of career.  As an adult I see that he modeled, really without ever making an overt point of it, two thing that have been so important to me as I’ve learned to make a home so far from family.  First –he loved Grandma; that was so very, very clear.  Many of my memories of him are inextricably linked to thoughts of her because they were and are a pair. This steadfast companionship in a spouse –Grandpa got that and showed that.  Most of the time his eyes were sparkling at Grandma.  Second –he took participation in a church community seriously.  What to a child sounded like strange talk about renovations to a crazy place called the “northex” (one of Grandpa’s charming Lisbon pronunciations like “chimbly”) –Sunday school classes who made peanut brittle were much more up my ally—I now understand this as part of the work that keeps a church going.  Now that I’ve had to put down new roots far from home, I recognize how important being a part of a church community is to my sense of well-being.  Grandpa clearly got that, too.  I will forever be grateful for the fun, for the boundless love, and for the fantastic example you set forward.

Lauren Higgins (granddaughter):

My grandpa was an amazing, caring, and such a loveable person.  He was such an amazing person to look up to.  I am beyond blessed to be able to call him my grandpa.  Growing up, both of my grandparents were at every little league softball, cheerleading, and volleyball game.  If they weren’t at one of my games, they were watching my brother at one of his games.  We are so grateful to be able to say that.  Not a lot of people know what it is like to have grandparents that are willing to spoil you with their time rather than material things.  As we grow older, that is something that I will always cherish.  I can’t express how grateful that I will forever be to both of my grandparents for that.

Growing up, my favorite holiday was always Thanksgiving.  I loved this holiday because I got to spend the entire weekend at my grandparents’ house.  I would stay the night and we would watch Christmas movies and my grandpa and I would eat way too much ice cream.  Over the weekend we would help my grandma decorate Christmas cookies.  Now, if you know my grandpa, you know how ornery he was.  He would frost the cookies but he would “accidentally break them,” and say “Oh well, no one wants to eat a broken Santa Claus, looks like I have to eat it.”  After the 12th cookie, my grandma caught on to what he was doing.  These silly memories may have not seemed like anything, but they were everything to me.  I can’t even put into words how great of a person and grandfather he was.  I just want to thank both my grandpa and grandma for everything that they have ever done for me, and thank you grandpa for being such a positive impact in my life.


John 3:16-21 (one of Dick’s favorites)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.




Richard (Dick) Lewton

February 24, 1929 – November 30, 2016
Resided in Perry Township, OH

Born 2/24/1929 in Lisbon, Ohio to Carl and Jessie Lewton. Moved as a teenager to Perry Township where he resided until his death on November 30.

Proceeded in death by his parents, sister Jean Evans, and brother Harold.

Dick leaves behind loving and devoted wife of 67+ years, Wanda. She has been at his side faithfully every day throughout his decline over the past 5 months. He is survived his older brother Ralph (Mary). His children are Ron (Kathy), Denny, and Kari (Dean) Higgins; grandchildren Jennifer (David) Yates, Tyler and Lauren Higgins, great-granddaughter Lily Yates. He was also very close to his extended family which includes many nieces and nephews.

Dick proudly served his country in the Korean War, was retired as a store manager from Acme Grocery after 43 years of service, and was always very active in his church (Trinity UMC) and community organizations. He was a past president of the Canton Kiwanis Club. He loved his family dearly; he was a friend to many.

We will miss him greatly.

His life will be celebrated on Monday, December 12th at 11 a.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends at the Paquelet & Arnold-Lynch Funeral Home on Sunday, December 11th from 2-4 p.m. and on Monday at the church from 10-11 a.m.

Contributions can be made in his memory to the Perry History Club for the renovation of the historic 1893 Genoa grade school building, P.O. BOX # 80575, Canton, OH 44708-0575. Renovating this building was his passion over the past many years.

Eulogy and Obituary for Joy Reed

Eulogy for Joy Reed

October 31, 2016

by Rev. John Partridge


From the stories I heard in the past few days, I think that with the loss of Joy Reed our world got a little less fun.  But before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s review a little.

Joy Price was born 84 years ago, graduated from Lincoln High School in 1950, and by all accounts, met the love of her life in third grade.  She and David were married on October 12, 1952.  Also playing into this story are the Genoa girls, some of whom I have met because several of them have attended, or continue to attend Trinity Church.  The Genoa girls are women like Joy, Audrey Fish, Pearl McKnight, and several others who have been close friends since first grade.  These women grew up together, vacationed together, raised their kids together and, in recent years, formed the ‘card club’ that met once a month.  On top of that, some of them are still going out to eat together on a regular basis.  Joy really liked to go out to eat.

Along the way, of course, David and Becky became a part of Joy’s story.  Becky remembered the family taking vacations together to Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Bay and other places but no matter what they did, or where they went, Becky said that Joy always had a way of making life fun.

But unlike the kind of fun we sometimes see, Joy didn’t just do things so that she could have fun, Joy did things so that everyone around her had fun.

And again, before I go any farther, I have to introduce you to Nellie Phelps.  Nellie was Joy’s best friend and they did everything together.  They worked together as the “lunch ladies” at Reedurban School and Joy worked for a while at Peifer School as well.  But whether they were at school or at church, or almost anywhere else, the two of them were almost always up to something.  Together they collected food for the food bank, organized funeral dinners at church, helped out at Vacation Bible School, (where Joy would do anything except teach), visited shut-ins, and more often than not, were working on a joke of some kind.

In one way, it’s a bit odd really, but in another it’s not.  I can’t really tell you a lot about Joy Reed without telling stories about Nellie Phelps.  They really were that close, and they really did that much together.  They were inseparable.  They did everything together.  Nellie would have ideas, and Joy would make them bigger.  The folks at church tell me that the two of them were an important part of the church.  They were in the women’s society together, and as I already mentioned, they did VBS together and volunteered to help with dinners, but they also created their own job description as church greeters.  At first, that doesn’t sound all that unusual except that the way Joy and Nellie did it wasn’t to greet people coming into church the way that everyone else did, they appointed themselves as the greeters for people coming out of church.  And they did it in such a way that everyone who came felt that they were really welcome.  In fact, when someone new came to Trinity, one of them, either Joy or Nellie, was sure to call them and invite them to come back.  We still have a number of people who became members of our church because of the work that these two ladies did.

Joy loved Halloween.  And, once again, that isn’t all that unusual, except that when you combine Joy’s love of Halloween, the way that she and Nellie played off of one another, and the way that they loved to help others have fun, what you end up with is a pair of ladies that can cause a bit of a stir.  These were the two who once dressed as clowns in the Hall of Fame parade and cleaned up behind one of the horse units.  I can only imagine.  They went to all of the Perry home football games together… with their cowbell… and they used it.  And everyone knew that they were there.  They tried hard to make every holiday at school memorable for the kids, and that included one Halloween when they somehow managed to get a real, full sized, coffin into the lunchroom at school… and then one of them hid in it… and in the middle of lunch the coffin began to open.  I’m told that they scared some of the kids half to death and the principle came to tell them that they might have overdone thing a little.  It didn’t matter.  There really wasn’t anyone that could stop those two once they got started.

But a big part of their focus was on doing things for other people.  They loved to serve others in whatever way they could.  Joy was a Girl Scout leader and together she and Nellie would go to the Hospitality House nursing home every week, for years, to play bingo with the residents there.  Every week they bought candy to give away to everyone and helped the folks who had trouble playing because of their eyesight or anything else.

Oh, and you remember the card club of the Genoa Girls that met once a month?  Every Halloween, Joy would dress up and go to lunch with her club in costume.  No one else did… just Joy.  But that’s just who she was.  However God arranged it with her parents, “Joy” was exactly the right name all along.

Audrey Fish was another one of those friends that Joy had forever.  They baked Christmas cookies together when their children were small, they saw each other every month at card club, and they saw one another every week at church.  But when Joy couldn’t come to church anymore, Audrey came to see Joy…  every week… for the last five years or so.

Joy just wanted to help.  She was a person who you could call to do almost anything.  I say almost, because there might just have been one thing that she wouldn’t do.  In a conversation at church one day, undoubtedly involving Nellie Phelps, they were talking about the houses that God has prepared for us in heaven and what a wonderful view there would be.  And, somehow, at that point someone thought that if there was such a great view, then there must be a lot of windows and, if there were a lot of windows, there must be someone to clean them.  So of course, Nellie suggested that this might be Joy’s contribution to the heavenly community… washing windows.  Joy was indignant and replied, “No! I’m not going to wash windows.  Not even for God!”  Everyone laughed and Nellie gently assured Joy that, for God, she probably would.

Joy loved to watch basketball, and Ohio State, and anything Perry whether it was sports, or theater or music, or anything else.  Joy was the kind of a person that everywhere she went, always made the people around her smile.  And even now, even in this time of sadness, the people that knew her can’t seem to remember her without smiling.  That is truly a gift that she has given to all of us.

As Becky said, Joy Reed had a way of making life fun.  She always had a smile and will be remembered by everyone who knew her for her sense of humor, her orneriness, warmth, friendliness, and her strong faith in Jesus Christ.  None of us have any doubts as to where she went the moment that she left her mortal dwelling place.  I am certain of her destination.  I am certain that Jesus and Nellie have given her a warm welcome.  I am sure that she is enjoying the view.

But I somehow doubt that she is washing windows.




joy-reedJoy Reed (nee Price), 84, of Massillon, passed away October 27, 2016, at Meadow Winds Health Care Center. A lifelong resident of Perry Township, Joy made many waves throughout the community. She graduated from Lincoln High School in 1950, where she met David Reed, whom she was married to for 64 years on October 12, 2016.

Joy was employed with Perry Local Schools for 25 years as “the lunch lady.” Along with raising 2 children and her employment Joy still found plenty of time for her array of extracurricular events. She hosted parties for her card club friends, had lunches with her “Genoa Girls”, was active in both Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts and was president of the Richville School District PTA.

She was heavily involved in the Trinity United Methodist Women’s Club, where she selflessly worked to make sure ill members were provided with food and her ornery humor. After those long weeks with full schedules, you could be sure to find Joy and lifelong friend, Nellie Phelps at the Perry Panthers Football Games on Friday nights.

Joy is survived by her husband, David Reed; son David Reed; daughter Becky (Rick) Osborne; granddaughter Lindsey “sweetpea” Stephen; sister-in-law Gloria Deeser and special friend Audrey Fish.

Family and friends may call Sunday from 2 to 4:00PM at the Reed Funeral Home (CANTON CHAPEL) where services will be held Monday at 10:00AM with Pastor John Partridge officiating.

Interment will take place at West Lebanon Union Cemetery.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Meadow Wind and Great Lakes for their love and support.

Eulogy for Lila J. Graham

Eulogy for Lila J. Graham

September 19, 2016

by Rev. John Partridge

Just a little more than a week ago, our friend Lila was doing fine.  But then she woke up in the hospital and everything started to unravel.  Every time we thought we had good news, more bad news seemed to follow.  Losing Lila was a surprise and even a shock to most of us but in addition, the events of the last week have been a startling reminder of our own mortality.  And so, as we gather together today let us not only mourn for what we have lost, but also find comfort in the knowledge that all of us who believe in him will one day be reunited in the loving arms of Jesus Christ.

Lila J. Graham was born on June 30th, 1933 in Cleveland, Ohio.  After she graduated from high school, she got work as a secretary adjutant for the United States Army ordinance office.  While at first this might have seemed to be a nice entry level job, it was also an appointment with her future.  Because, while this was happing in Cleveland, a young man named Marion Ray Graham (who always went by Ray and never by Marion) was growing up in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.  After his high school graduation he studied Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech and joined the ROTC which granted him a commission in the Army after graduation and assigned him to a duty station… at the Army ordinance office in Cleveland, Ohio.  After Ray and Lila met, Ray was sent to Korea in the day following the Korean Conflict and while he was gone, they corresponded regularly.  Lila’s daughters said that she had shown them stacks of letters they had exchanged while Ray was overseas.

After his return home, Ray and Lila were married on July 17, 1954.  During college, Ray had an internship with Timken and so after his service in the Army, he got a job there.  For three years the city girl and the country boy lived in Canton, but then they moved out of town to Perry Township where they stayed and raised their family for the rest of their lives.

Well, they did live in the same house for the rest of their lives, but using the word “stayed” might be a bit of an exaggeration.  You see, although their house was their home base, every year they would do a fair amount of traveling and Lila travelled more than Ray did.  Ray thought it was fine to travel to see family and so they alternated between Virginia and Cleveland at Christmas time, and every summer the family spent a week camping at Clay’s Park, and that was about it for Ray.  Lila on the other hand, loved going on an adventure.  She loved to travel and so, whenever she could, she would find a sister, or a friend, or someone, and go somewhere.  She literally travelled the world and Ray was fine with that as long as he didn’t have to go along.  But Lila did convince him to go overseas with her one time.

Lila also had other adventures closer to home.  She went out and did things with her kids and her grandkids whenever she could.  They went canoeing, visited haunted houses, and were regulars at Cedar Point’s annual Halloweekends.  Every year they visited the Yankee Peddler festival, attended the Christmas Carol at the Players Guild, and every Christmas season everybody came to Lila’s house for “Cookie Day.”  At Easter everyone colored eggs, and then followed the clues for her special treasure hunt where you might find Easter eggs, a few coins, and eventually an Easter basket.  You were never sure what you were going to find but you knew there was going to be an adventure.  There were big cookouts to attend every year too, one for fish, and another for ribs, as well as making a big deal for Mother’s Day.  And even before they started going to Halloweekend, they always had an annual outing to Cedar Point.  And, Lila being Lila (and we’ve already said that she loved adventure), she rode every ride in the park.  At age 75 she was still riding the Millennium.

And at every event, and at every adventure, Lila had a disposable camera and documented everything.  But it’s important to note that she didn’t just take pictures.  She took those pictures and kept a notebook for each of her grandchildren and carefully documented everything.

Once Ray and Lila were settled in Perry Township, Lila found work at the elementary school as a playground monitor, and then later was invited to become the “study hall lady” at Perry High School.  It was at Perry High School that Lila met Helen Bowman and the two of them have been friends ever since.  At church Lila did a little of everything.  She was the children’s choir director for 25 years, taught Sunday school classes of all ages, led Bible studies, cooked food, served on the scholarship committee, made the fun calendars for the UMW every February, organized the talent show for 15 years, and probably more things than most of us can remember.  And while they were all here, all of Lila’s kids got married at Trinity Church too.  Every Sunday, after church, the whole extended family went to Ray and Lila’s house for a big family Sunday brunch.

Lila was a big sports fan and she loved her Cleveland Browns.  Every game she would call Jeff at halftime to talk about why they were so bad this year, or why they missed that play, or wonder when they were finally going to get a decent quarterback, or whatever.  At one time or another, Lila babysat all of her grandkids two days each week and, as we have already determined, because she had the heart for adventure, there were lots of field trips.  Whenever she could, Lila spoiled her grandchildren to do death.  She was the kind of a person that could talk to anybody.  She loved to sing, she had a big heart and did things for just about everyone, she did her crossword puzzles every day, and whenever Hannah came over she loved to draw pictures and watch Rugrats (which Hannah liked but wasn’t allowed to watch at home).  Every week she went out to eat with her lunch buddies and every Saturday she went out with a group of ladies from Trinity Church.

Lila was always sending cards and letters to family and friends and wanted to make sure that everyone got mail and felt loved.  She was a beautiful woman inside and out, and if you look at her pictures, it isn’t hard to see why Ray Graham was attracted to her.  Lila was known by many of us to give the best hugs.  Whenever she saw me she made sure that I got one, and made sure that I didn’t forget.  Even during this past week, whenever I would visit her in the hospital, even when she was hooked up to a host of IV’s and had machines beeping around her, whenever she would see me Lila would throw her arms out as best she could to make sure that I gave her a hug.  Lila loved colorful things and fun things.  She has a couple ornamental, concrete deer in her front yard and at this point many of you are probably thinking that lots of people have those, but Lila’s are as different as she was.  Lila’s deer are not just your ordinary brown deer; hers are white, and green, and blue and all sorts of fun things.  And then there is her collection of animated, dancing, stuffed animals.  You know the ones, you’ve all seen them, the fish, frogs, deer, teddy bears and whatnot that sing and dance when you press the button.  Lila loved them all and, from what I’m told, owns just about all of them.  In fact, she told her family that the rabbit that sings “Some bunny loves you” was supposed to sing at her funeral.  I’m not sure if it made it here today or not.  And of course, Lila wore hats.  I’m told that Loretta Doll was the first one at Trinity to be known for wearing hats, but Lila did it too and she owned it.  There are several of us who have seen Lila out in public and almost didn’t recognize her because she wasn’t wearing a hat.

There was always a dog in Lila’s house and lately that dog has been her friend Foxy.  Foxy was always at Lila’s side except when she went to Virginia to visit Joe.  It wasn’t that Foxy couldn’t ride in the car, or that Lila wasn’t willing to take her, but it’s just that the building where Joe lives doesn’t allow animals.  And so, it came to pass that Lila’s friend Janet Miller became sort of a part owner of Foxy because Foxy would go to Janet’s house whenever Lila went to see Joe.  Naturally, even though we can all be pretty sure that Foxy was regularly spoiled by Lila, she complained that Janet spoiled Foxy even worse than she did.

As Lila began to spend time with Joe, the florist started to visit her more often.  It was nice, and it was different, because Ray had never had much use for flowers and never really bought them, but Joe like flowers and sent them often.  I’m told that the family began to notice that there was quite collection of flower vases that were accumulating in the basement, but no one really knew just how often it happened until this past week.  As people came to the house to express their condolences, the delivery driver from Pat’s Flowers stopped in too.  You see, he had come to Lila’s house so often that he and Lila had not only become acquainted, they had become friends.

Each one of us will remember something different.  We’ll remember hugs, and hats, some will remember field trips and adventures, little dogs, singing songs, her love of Jesus and her passion for his kingdom, we’ll remember adventures, and lunches, and talent shows and all sorts of things.  But the two inescapable things that every one of us will always remember is that Lila always had fun wherever she went, and that she had the remarkable ability to make everyone around know that they were truly loved.

If any of us can be half the person Lila was, we will surely be a blessing to others, because Lila was definitely a blessing to each and every one of us.



Lila J. Graham

June 30, 1933 – September 15, 2016

Lila J. Graham, 83 of Perry Township, passed away Thursday, September 15, 2016. Lila was born on June 30, 1933 in Cleveland, the daughter of the late Nelson and Edna (Osterland) Gilbert.

She worked at Richville Elementary and Perry High School retiring in 1992 after 28 years of service. She was an active member at Trinity U.M.C. where she taught Sunday School and Bible Classes, directed the Children’s Choir, and participated in U.M.W. Lila loved traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
Along with her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, M. Ray Graham in 2007; sisters, Dorothy Ward and Edith Loescher; and brother, Clark Gilbert.

She is survived by her daughters Amanda (Jeff) Fletcher and Amy (Gary) Ciesielczyk; grandchildren, Hannah and Audrey Fletcher, and Benjamin, Victoria, and Kari Ciesielczyk; and her special friend Joe Williams.

A Celebration of Lila’s Life will be held on Monday, September 19, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at Trinity U.M.C. in Perry Heights. The family will receive friends at the Paquelet & Arnold-Lynch Funeral Home on Sunday from 2-5 p.m. and on Monday from 10-11 a.m. at the church. In lieu of flowers donations may be to Trinity U.M.C. in Lila’s name.


Lila carried this scripture in her wallet.  It isn’t one of the more common ones that people often carry.  It isn’t about love, or hope, but then, in a way it is.  And having read it, it’s exactly the sort of thing that Lila would’ve liked so we want to share it with all of you too.

Romans 8:35-39

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


This is one of Lila’s favorite poems.  It was on a plaque in her kitchen.  And again, for anyone that knew her, I think it’s exactly Lila.


It’s wondrous what a hug can do!

A hug can cheer you when you’re blue.

A hug can say “I love you so” or

“Gee, I hate to see you go.”

A hug delights and warms and charms,

It must be why God gave us arms!

REMEMBERING LILA – by Janet Miller


Lila and I became such very good friends from working together at Trinity.   We soon realized we had a great many things in common…We were both born in the same year and in the same month and also had the same middle name.   She always told me I was older than her tho as there was 28 days difference…Our history and life style seem to have run parallel in our growing up years.   We both lost our husband and after that she joined our group of Trinity friends for Saturday nights out.   It was good to have friends to enjoy a meal together.

When Lila found life lonely she got herself a little 4 legged friend called Foxy.  Naturally as soon as I saw her I knew she was a special little girl.   Lila was good enough to let me be a part of Foxy’s life as well as Lila’s.    Then a short time later Lila and Joe became the BEST of friends.   She often traveled to visit Joe in Va. so Fox would stay with me.   She always told me this pup is really spoiled when she comes back from your house.    So I always told her, Well, you get spoiled by Joe so I get to spoil Fox….Lila was a special Christian, always ready to tell you about God and ready to lead any Bible study groups or the Sunday School Class we recently started.   She was not afraid to tell you how much God loves us all and to always remember, “God is in charge”.  She was so right about that.  God could see Lila was struggling to live alone and needed help.   We will all miss our dear special friend but we know God’s love will be waiting for her in a special place.   I will forever miss my special friend and soul mate, but I will have her little Fox to remind me of her and know she will be checking to be sure I don’t spoil her pup too much.    May God bless you on your next journey Lila.

With love,

Janet Miller

Eulogy and Obituary for Marland Gerber

Eulogy for Marland D. Gerber

August 03, 2016

by Rev. John Partridge


None of us expected this.


Of course we all know that none of us will live forever, but this is not where any of us planned to be a week or so ago.  When I heard that Marland Gerber had passed from this life and into the next, I was stunned.  I had just seen him at church recently.  He was doing better than he had been in months.  And so, just when we thought he was getting better, we got a phone call, or a text, that we didn’t expect.  But after the shock wore off, those of us who knew Marland realized one thing:


We are poorer today than we were last week.


As my wife and I met with the extended Gerber family Monday evening, we listened as, one after another, they told us what they remembered, and what Marland had meant to them.  The praise was abundant.  If he had been there, he would have been embarrassed to hear it, but it was all true.  Someone said that “Nobody laughs like Santa.”  He was described as loving, caring, always ready to listen, the best ever, amazing, a very hard worker, a man who always took pride in what he did, a man who lit up the room wherever he went, and more.  Marland was a giving person who was always ready to give what he had.  He tried to provide for everyone and make sure that no one wanted for anything.  He was willing to give the shirt off of his back, and sometimes he gave more than he could really afford.


Marland was also a lover in the best possible sense of the word.  He loved Eileen with all his heart and would anything for her.  He did give her a hard time for cooking too much, but didn’t complain when it was his turn to eat.  That love wasn’t just reserved for Eileen.  For Marland, every family member was unique and special and he had his own way to make every single one of them feel loved and valued.  He teased the younger kids by showing them his false teeth, told bad jokes until everyone had them memorized (ask any of them why God’s name is Andy), had pet names for some, asked about their lives, bragged about all of them, gave words of encouragement whenever they were needed but could give you a hard time of you needed that, and Marland showed up for everything.  For Marland, “family” was an event.  He took his grandkids on trips and made sure that they did things together and he came to their games.  Not just a few, but all of them.  Football games, baseball games, wrestling tournaments, dance recitals, you name it, if one of his family or friends were in it, he would do his best to be there to watch.  That dedication extended beyond his family, because over the years as he attended all of those games, he made friends with the other kids, their families, the coaches, and everyone else, so that even when his kids graduated and moved on, Marland was still going to those games to cheer on his new friends.  Of course it’s always more fun to watch when your team wins, and Timmy said that Marland absolutely lit up when the Perry wrestling team won two state finals.


But watching his family and friends wasn’t all that Marland did.  He loved sports.  All sports.  All the time.  I think I heard a rumor that since they heard the news, Sports Center is already warning people that they expect their ratings to be down.  It is fairly well-known that Marland liked to yell at the TV while he watched his games.  Often he was yelling at the guy with long hair and telling him that if he got a haircut he could run faster.  For the really big games, the seats in his living room were reserved and by invitation only.  If you weren’t invited, there’s a good chance that you would be asked to leave when the game started.  Aside from yelling at the television, because he knew so much about sports and cared so much about people, everyone in his family thinks that Marland would have made a great coach.  And it wasn’t just about sports on TV.  As I said, Marland supported a great many of the teams in Perry, but he and Eileen also bought season tickets to the Canton Charge games.  The funny thing is, the two of them make friends so easily, that after going downtown week after week, before long they made friends with the guy that gave away free stuff.  And then, pretty soon, instead of getting one towel, they got a bunch of towels.  Instead of getting one bobble-head, they came home with a box of bobble heads.


Wherever Marland went, he had friends.  Our church is full of his friends.  The Sugarcreek Methodist Church is full of his friends.  The Elks and the Eagles are full of his friends. And the entire campground at Atwood Lake is full of his friends.   When they heard that Marland had died, and that Eileen was at their camper, over a hundred people stopped by to pay their respects and express their condolences.


DJ put it this way: “He never had a bad thing to say about anyone and I would venture to say that no one could say a bad thing about him.  He would always greet people as if they were old friends.  He had a generosity of spirit that is rarely found in today’s society.  All were welcome at his table.  He was always such a giving man.  I am proud to have called him grandpa (poppy).  I will continue to strive to follow the example that such a great person has laid out for me.”


Marland called Denise (who he called Neesie) every Friday.  And every week he was genuinely interested in her life.  He would ask, “How are you?” “Where are you?”  And when he asked her, just as when he asked everyone else these sorts of things, you could tell that he really cared about the answers.


Among those gathered with the family on Monday night, were several people who are not, nor have they ever been, genetically related.  But at different times, for different reasons, under different circumstances, Marland and Eileen did what they have always done.  They loved people.  And along the way, these folks were just adopted into the family and accepted and one of their own.  For them, Marland and Eileen became their parents.


I told you at the beginning that Marland was a lover in the best sense of the word.  He loved people.  He loved hugs. It was hard for us to watch the pain that he was enduring for the last few years, but he never made an issue of it.  He didn’t get grumpy or lash out at people because he cared about them more than he cared about himself.  The other night someone said that he would never talk back, even in his own defense, because he didn’t want to hurt someone else.  Instead of getting angry, he just got hurt that other people were so wounded that they had to lash out at others.  And so his way of making them feel better, was just to take it without fighting back.  As a result, someone at the campground told one of his kids, “Your dad taught me how to be a man.”


And so after the shock wears off, those of us who knew Marland realized something.


We are poorer today than we were last week.


But that isn’t all that there is.



Marland Gerber was a lover in the best sense of the word.  He loved his family, he loved his friends, and honestly, I think he loved almost everyone.  I’ve shared a lot of things this morning, but the thing that ties them all together is love.  The thing that we will all remember, the thing that made Marland so special, is that everywhere Marland went, he made the people around him better than they were before.


We are better than we were before… because we were loved by this special and unique man.


And because of that, although we are poorer than we were last week, we are all extraordinarily rich.





Marland D. Gerber

September 16, 1938 – July 30, 2016


Marland D. Gerber 77 of Massillon and formerly of Sugarcreek died Saturday, July 30, 2016 at Union Hospital unexpectedly. He was born September 16, 1938 in Walnut Creek to the late Ura and Mary (Weaver) Gerber.


He retired from Andreas Furniture in Sugarcreek in 1999 after 32 years. He was a member of the Sugarcreek United Methodist Church for over 40 years before becoming a member of Trinity United Methodist Church at Massillon. He was a member of Aerie of the Elks 510 in New Philadelphia and the Eagles 2370 in Canton.


He enjoyed spending most of his time at Atwood Lake-surrounded by his wife, family and friends; especially his close friends Joe and Denise Mutchler and Bobbi Ries. He cherished nothing more than the company of his 6 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren. He loved all sports, whether he was able to attend them in person or watching on TV.


He is survived by his wife, the former Eileen Doney whom he married on August 2, 1958; his two children Marla (Tim) Armstrong of Massillon and Rick (Trish) Gerber of Sugarcreek, 6 grandchildren Tara (Brandon) Lilly of Streetsboro, Dawn (Kenneth) Boudrie of Massillon, Jonathan Gerber of Sugarcreek, DJ (Stacy) Digianantonio of Alliance, Jeremy Gerber of Sugarcreek and Timmy Armstrong of Massillon, 5 great grandchildren Tyler, Austin, Lucas, Gianna and Conner and was looking forward to the arrival of his newest great grandson. In addition to his parents he is preceded in death by his sister Rhea Winkler.


Services will be held on Wednesday, August 3, 2016 at 11:00 AM at Smith-Varns Funeral Home 115 Andreas Drive in Sugarcreek with Pastor John Partridge officiating. Friends may call on Tuesday 2-4 and 6-8 PM at the funeral home. Memorial services will be conducted by the Elks Lodge from New Philadelphia on Tuesday at 8:00 PM at the conclusion of calling hours.


Remembering Gina P. Calvaruso

Eulogy for Gina P. Calvaruso

April 08, 2016

The eulogy for Gina Calvaruso was given by her friends and family.  Many came to the front or stood where they were and shared their memories of Gina.  In this space I can only share a few that were written and given to me.


From Gina’s brother, Joseph Calvaruso

Even at a young age, Gina was adventurous. Being 3 years younger than her brother Joey, she was obviously not allowed to go everywhere he could. For example, as a 4 year old she was not allowed to leave the block where Joey being 7 could go much further. Inevitably – even after being told to stay close to home – she would be seen following and would show up wherever Joey and his older friends were. Of course a parent would eventually come and retrieve her.

She was an expert at finding where her Christmas gifts were hidden – unwrapping and playing with them – and wrapping them again and acting surprised on Christmas morning. She finally figured out she could also play with Joey’s gifts also, thereby doubling her pre-Christmas enjoyment.

She was very active in the high school band and was selected to be one of the bandleaders. Her friends from band were always at our home. She took piano and guitar lessons at a young age and played a few different instruments.


From her friend Sharon Capporelli

Just recently, Gina received a small settlement for an injury to her leg.  She had a thoughtful debate about her need to give 10 percent to the church, or could she give it anywhere of her choice?  In the end, she chose to give it to the poor.  She thought that the poor don’t have help to feed their animals (pets). And so she spent her 10 percent on cat and dog food and made it available to those in need.

Gina always wanted to talk about you.  It was difficult to turn the tables and get her to talk about herself.

When she would give you a gift, it was like she listened to every word that you said.  She knew exactly what to give that would be the most meaningful.  It was an uncanny ability.

She was a very non-judgmental person.  She had strong opinions but you could have yours if they differed.  Until you talked about her Hillary Clinton.

Gina was engaged in her friendships.  She always went the extra mile to keep you on your feet.  She would leave an empty Coke container in your mailbox or in your bushes.  I would find knick-knacks turned upside down or pictures facing backwards, or her straw paper floating in my drink.

She would go to many movies then she would rate them.  Tell her friends which ones to see.  She referred to herself as the “activities coordinator.”

Gina was a unique character.  She was ever present.  Willing to participate, seeking to be a part of the world as she understood it.

She experienced a lot of hardships and I watcher her change to the tune of each one.

She so wanted to be loved.  Like us all.



Gina P. Calvaruso

March 12, 1957 – March 22, 2016

Gina P. Calvaruso, 59, passed away March 22, 2016. She was born Akron, Ohio to the late Irene T. and Joseph A. Calvaruso. She was a graduate of Garfield High School (1975) and the University of Akron.

Gina is survived by her brother, Joe (Gail) Calvaruso; nieces, Niki (Joey), Laura, Aly and dear friend, Sharon Caporali.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, April 8, 2016 at Trinity United Methodist Church, 3757 Lincoln Way E, Massillon, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to a charity of your choice.

Ruth L. Miller – A Celebration of Life

Eulogy for Ruth L. Miller

April 30, 2016

by Rev. John Partridge

Every life has a story.  And when I stand in the front of a group of people at the end of someone’s life, I try to tell their story.  To be honest, there are times when it’s easier than others but telling the story of Ruth Lovina Miller is only difficult in the sense that I have more stories than I can use, and even if I tell a few of them, you might accuse me of making Ruth sound like a superhero.  It is not without reason that Tom Brokaw referred to our parents as our “greatest generation.”  In recent years we have watched people like Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray do so many things at once that it makes us tired just watching them.  But the truth is that people like Ruth Miller make Martha Stewart look a little lazy.  And if you had ever asked Ruth about it, she probably wouldn’t have found anything in her life to be particularly remarkable.

Ruth Allen was born into a Mennonite family in 1922 and was eventually one of seven children.  As such, each of the children had responsibilities in the life of the family and one of Ruth’s was to do the dishes.  That doesn’t immediately jump out as anything extraordinary except that one day each week was her mother’s baking day.  On that day, Ruth’s mother would bake… all day long.  She would bake bread, or sweets, or anything that they might need for the entire week.  She baked one thing after another all day long.  Few if any of the dishes were used more than once, and none of them had been rinsed and so all of them had hard crusts of one sort or another forming on them.  And when Ruth came home from school, it was her job to do all of the dishes that had piled up.

Ruth’s father was a bricklayer, but with the coming of the Great Depression, like many others he had a hard time finding work, and so to feed his family, they sold their home and bought a farm in Perry.  Ruth was always smart.  When she attended Louisville High School she earned a college scholarship but decided that instead of pursuing her dream of going to college, she would stay at home and help to care for her father who was losing his battle to terminal cancer.  Ruth also wanted to do something nice for her siblings, and so she would occasionally make brownies for them.  But to be sure that her mother didn’t give them to someone else, after Ruth made the brownies, she would wash all the dishes, divide up the brownies, wrap them, and hide them in the dressers of her brothers’ and sisters’ bedrooms.

Ruth always felt very strongly about family.  In fact, her mother started the Allen Family reunion and later caring for that reunion, and making sure that it happened every year on the 3rd Saturday of July became Ruth’s responsibility.  There were some years when they were afraid that the whole thing might wither away, but it always happened.  Of course, in recent months Ruth was worried that the reunion might not survive her passing, but her children and grandchildren are already at work making sure that it continues.  In fact, the pavilion at Baylor Beach has already been reserved, and paid for, for the next two years.

In addition to the summer reunion, Ruth and her siblings took turns hosting a Christmas dinner celebration.  In this way the entire Allen family got together two times every year until the year 2000.  For Ruth, family was always an important priority.

Not long after her high school graduation, Ruth married Joseph D. Miller (who was always called Joe).  Joe had been raised Amish and was a long distance truck driver.  At first, the Mennonite preacher at Ruth’s church refused to marry them.  Not because Joe was Amish, but because he smoked.  But Ruth wasn’t so easily put off.  If her pastor wouldn’t marry her, she would ask his boss.  And so Ruth and Joe were married in her home church but what we would describe in our church as the District Superintendent

Ruth and Joe started attending Trinity Church in 1947 while the church was still worshiping at the Genoa schoolhouse.  They chose Trinity because, at the time, the church had a class for young married couples, and they were looking for something like that.  Eventually, they would raise all of three of their children, Jim, Kathleen, and Ken, here at Trinity church.

They bought a basement house together, lived there, and started their family there for six years before they were able to take out a loan and build a house on top of the basement.  Ruth was a stay at home mom until the kids were all old enough for school, and then, to help make ends meet, she began to clean houses in Canton while the kids were in school.  Now, at first, this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but remember that Ruth didn’t drive.  And so, every day, Ruth would get the kids off to school, walk two miles to Lincolnway where she could get a bus into Canton, then typically several more busses to the houses where she cleaned, then back to Perry, and walk two miles home, all before the kids got home from school.  Every day.

Finally, about the time that her son Jim was almost old enough to drive, Ruth decided that there was no way she would let him drive before she did.  And so she got her driver’s license first.  But even before that, when Kathleen was only five years old, and while she was working days cleaning houses, Ruth started back to school.  She started in a special night school that was a wartime program to train teachers because so many school teachers and so many young men who might have become school teachers, were all being drafted into the military and going off to war.  Night school turned into summer school and, after two years, Ruth got a “cadet certificate” that allowed her to teach for four years before it had to be renewed.  But just like she did when Jim was ready to drive, Ruth made a decision.  She told everyone that before her certificate expired, she would earn her degree and her teaching certificate.  And she did.  She graduated from Kent State in 1964… the same year that Jim did and she taught until 1985 with a Master’s Degree from Akron University thrown in along the way.  We aren’t exactly sure of the math since she started teaching before she graduated, but that means that Ruth taught for somewhere between 23 and 25 years.

In 1969, only a few years after Ruth graduated from college, Ruth lost Joe, the love of her life.  But with the kids all older, and now armed with her degree and teaching certificate, Ruth was equipped to survive on her own.  And she did a lot better than just survive.  Since Jim earned a commission in the military upon his graduation from Kent State, he travelled the world at his various duty assignments.  And each time he moved, Ruth went to visit.  And that, in turn, got her started travelling everywhere.  Ruth travelled all over the United States, Canada and Europe often using Jim’s house as a base of operations while she traveled. On top of that, Ruth became the lay delegate from Trinity Church to our Annual Conference at Lakeside, Ohio for many years.  While she was doing all of those other things, she was also active in everything at church.  She was in the women’s group, and the sewing group, and she was also active with her support of the Canton Symphony, the Perry History Club, and the monthly meetings of the Perry Book Club even up to just a few months ago.  On top of all that, since 1985 Ruth has been going to her water aerobics class every week despite the fact that she has always been a non-swimmer who was afraid of the water.  She had a friend that picked her up every week and she only stopped going last year because after thirty years the Myers Lake YMCA stopped having that class.

And somehow, as if all of that wasn’t enough, Ruth also supported all of her kids.  Ruth made almost all of the clothes that Kathleen wore, and when she got too old for that, Ruth made clothes for her grandchildren.  Kathleen said that even though she might not have had as many dolls as some of the other kids, she, and later her kids, was the only one who had doll clothes that matched her own outfits.  Ruth made everything.  Ruth even made the wedding dresses for many of her family by mixing and matching parts from different patters that the brides would pick our at the pattern store.  Some of the in-laws were worried that a homemade wedding dress would be too simple or too plain, but they were all blown away by Ruth’s handiwork.  One dress in particular was covered in cloth roses, and each rose was lovingly cut, petal by petal, sewn together, placed on the dress, and decorated with beads.

There are so many stories that I just don’t have time to tell you.  There’s the story of how Kathleen forgot the ivory rose, necklace, and earrings that she wanted to wear for her wedding.  Joe, being the good father, went home to get them, but all Ruth could do was worry that he would get stuck on the other side of the railroad tracks by a train and be late for the wedding.  Or how Ruth taught everyone to clean, by regular inspections, and re-cleaning until the job met her exacting standards.  Or how she taught her family to save money by making their own cleaning supplies instead of buying all the expensive stuff that the commercials try to convince you to buy.  Or the story of how she managed to leave a homemade banana bread on the piano bench for our organist, Janet, every Christmas without ever being seen doing it.  Or the punchbowl story, and so many more.

When Kathleen and her family were driven out of their home by carbon monoxide, they lived with Ruth for a while and then, more than ever, she became like an extra parent.  Ruth was very conservative but always available to help whoever needed it.  She freely gave of herself, of her time, her money, and whatever else was needed.  She was definitely a student from the “old school” and she was never afraid to speak her mind and tell you exactly what she thought.  Sometimes that was refreshingly honest but sometimes it scared people a little bit.  At school she was known as “Killer Miller” but she was also the one who was always available for almost anything at church.  She supported her grandchildren in whatever ways that she could and sometimes made them little loans when they needed it.

Even toward the end she was, as she always was, her own woman.  Ruth was the one who decided, on her own, that she would quit driving and give her car to someone in her family.  She had always been a good storyteller and a collector a dolls from all over the world, and when she decided that it was time to give away her stuff, each doll, and each keepsake, came with a story about where it came from and what it meant so that they would stay with the family.  And she was the one, at the Brookdale nursing home, who helped to establish an institutional recycling program, and encouraged them to start serving water in the afternoon.

We could literally stay here and tell stories about Ruth Miller all afternoon.  But, in the end, they all seem to boil down to just a few themes that have changed us all and will have an impact on all of our lives.  First, for Ruth, life was always about family.  Just listening to all of the things that she did to make a home for her family is enough to make you tired. But she did it because family is just that important.  Second, a big part of her life was about church.  Church was a place to feel at home, to have a second family, and a place where she could help others who needed it.  Third, life was about doing the things that you loved.  Ruth did a lot of things but she didn’t waster her time doing things that she didn’t like unless she was doing it for someone that she loved.

Ruth Miller was always her own woman but her passion for her family, her love of Jesus, and her passion for life had an impact on everyone around her.  I know that all of Ruth’s children became who they are today because of what Ruth taught them and because of the life that she modeled for them.  Michelle decided to become a teacher, largely because of Ruth’s influence.  In know that everyone here at Trinity has been changed because of Ruth’s influence and I know that all of you who have gathered here today have done so because of what Ruth’s life has meant to each of you.

Compared to Ruth Miller, Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray don’t look all that impressive. I’m sure that Ruth wouldn’t want anyone to describe her as a superhero and she probably never thought of what she did as anything particularly remarkable, but then again, in a lot of ways that “greatest generation” label doesn’t really go far enough either.  If any of us can manage to do half as good, or do half as much, as Ruth did, we would be pretty proud of ourselves.

There is an old saying that absolutely rings true of our relationship with Ruth:

“We stand on the shoulders of giants.”



Ruth L. Miller

November 11, 1922 – April 26, 2016

Ruth MillerRuth Lovina Miller, age 93, long time resident of Perry Heights went to be with the Lord on 4-26-16.

She was born in Canton, Ohio on 11-11-22 to William J. and Mary Ann Allan. She graduated from Louisville High School and was married to Joseph D. Miller on 10-19-41 at the First Mennonite Church in Canton.

She was preceded in death by her husband Joseph D. Miller and siblings: Euphemia Miller, Elizabeth Wood, William Allan, Paul Allan and James Allan.

She is survived by her sister Lois Hamilton and her children James Miller, Kathleen Casey and Kenneth Miller. Grandchildren: Todd, Patrick, Joe and Kate Miller; Michelle Rose, Angela Thompson, Brenda Boomhower and Luke Miller. Her great grandchildren Jody and Reid Miller; Zoe, Bija and Josephine Miller;
Ruby and Otis Terrell; Patrick, James, Sara and Alex Thompson; Tyler, Brittany and Thomas Rose.

She graduated from Kent State in 1964 with a Bachelor’s in Education with her son Jim. It was a double proud day for her. She completed her Master’s at Akron University in Middle School Curriculum.

She retired from Perry Local Schools in 1985, where she spent most of her teaching career.

She has been an active, contributing member of Trinity United Methodist Church since its inception in 1947.

She loved to travel and visited many countries in Europe and many locations in the US and Canada. She especially loved to travel to new locations to visit her grandchildren. She also loved music (especially the organ) and a was a lifelong supporter of the Canton Symphony Orchestra.

After her retirement in 1985 she remained very active.  She attended a weekly water aerobics class until she was in her 90’s. She was an Ombudsman, who advocated for residents in nursing facilities. She was an active member of the College Club of Canton and many book clubs.

Ruth could be described in many ways: adventurer, world traveler, a fair landlord, a knitter and seamstress, teacher of many and the matriarch of our family. She created and sewed the wedding dresses for many family members.  She was a strong advocate of the importance of family and was always there to provide support. She was active in the Perry Historical Society and was a supporter of the efforts to restore the one room school house next to the Genoa Elementary School.

There will be a Celebration of her Life on Sat. 4-30-16 at Trinity United Methodist Church at 3757 Lincoln Way E., Massillon, OH 44646 at 3 PM. The services will be from 3-4 PM with a reception immediately following the services at the church, 4- 6 PM.

In Lieu of flowers please send a donation in her name to Trinity United Methodist Church, 3757 Lincoln Way East, Massillon, Ohio, 44646 or the Perry History Club Inc., PO Box # 80575, Canton, OH, 44708-0575 to restore the one room school house next to the Genoa Elementary School.

Eulogy and Obituary for James A. Hedrick

Eulogy for James Hedrick

April 8, 2016

by Rev. John Partridge

So who was he?

That’s the question that we all have when we hear that someone died isn’t it?  Either we didn’t know them at all, or we knew who they were in general, but, if we weren’t really good friends we are often left wondering who a person really was.

So who was James Hedrick?

I knew James (who went by “Jimmy” far more often than he went by James) from his time at church and from our visits at home and at the nursing home after his cancer made him too sick to come anymore.  But then last week I sat down with a room full of family and friends and they told me all sorts of stories about Jimmy that he never would have told me himself.

James Hedrick was born in Canton, Ohio in 1960 to Garland and Martha Hedrick but he lost his Mom in 1968 when he was only eight years old.  James had one older brother and two younger sisters but his father remarried and so he really had more than that.  There never was any emphasis on remembering who was a “step” sibling, they were all just brothers and sisters, but the younger ones were quick to remember that James was “like a father” to them.  James was often the babysitter for his younger siblings and, when it was cold out, James used to button Cindy inside his coat and carry her around that way.

James’ dad said that he was a good kid that didn’t get into trouble, but his brother Kevin told me that being a good kid didn’t mean that he didn’t do things that occasionally got his dad so mad that he would throw things at him. But Jimmy was so long-legged that he would run away from his dad and leap over fences as he went.  And sometimes when his dad sent him in the house to get a tool they needed, James would go in the house and go to bed instead.

When James was born, he had a cleft lip and palate and had surgery to correct it.  He was always self-conscious about the scar that it left behind, and for many years he grew a mustache and a beard to cover it up (Annette’s parents said that he looked like Jesus).  But the funny thing is, no one else seemed to notice.  I don’t think that anyone at church ever noticed that he had a scar at all, and among his family and friends, if anyone noticed, absolutely no one cared.

In 1984 Jimmy met Annette at the Massillon Community Hospital (which is now Affinity Hospital).  He was 23 years old and she was a 15 year old candy striper.  They dated for a year and a half before Annette’s parents found out how old he was and made them stop seeing one another.  That worked for a while, but when she turned 18, Annette moved in with James and, not surprisingly, her parents were not happy.  But they were together for 30 years so it’s obvious that, even if its beginning was a little unconventional, something about their relationship must have worked.

Together, James and Annette had two kids, but raised a lot more than that.  Elizabeth and Adam were theirs by birth, but over the years, there were a lot more who needed a home, or parents that cared, and they found both with James and Annette.  This family that they built, some related by blood and others by invitation, was a big part of what held everything together.  Kevin and Jim were best friends as well as brothers and talked on the phone almost every day.  Kevin helped James to fix his cars and they did almost everything together.  Elizabeth could share anything and everything with Jim, and the last few years Adam could as well.  Since James was a night owl, he often stayed up late to play Dungeons and Dragons, or video games, or tell jokes, or just talk with Adam, or Steven, or Toad, or Shorty, Goldie, or whoever wanted to hang around.  And, this might be a good time to point out that James gave all of the kids that came to his house nicknames… like Toad, and Shorty.  When Adam got the game Resident Evil for his game system, it scared him so much that he couldn’t play it himself and so instead of playing, he had James play the game while he watched.  When Annette’s Grandma Fannie had dementia and was in the psych unit in the hospital and got upset, they asked James to calm her down.  Somehow he did, and then he sat for hours and played cards with her.

We don’t have the time to tell you all of the stories that James’ family shared with me last week, but every one of them was about being connected, being a friend, sharing hearts, and being a family.  James was one of those people who opened their family, and opened their heart to become a friend to people who needed a friend, a father who needed a father, and gave a family to people who needed a family.

And that’s why I want to share with you my part of James’s story.

Last fall, although Annette had been coming to church for quite a while, James started to come with her.  He listened intently but usually didn’t have much to say.  But then one day Annette asked if I could come over to their house because James wanted to know more about whom Jesus was and why he was important to what we were talking about at church.  And so I did.  We talked for a while about how Jesus came to be perfect for all of us who could never be perfect on our own so that he could invite us to be a part of his family, to be adopted by his father, and to live in his house forever.  This all seemed to make sense to James and so he wanted to know how to be a part of that.  Before I left that afternoon, James decided that being a part of Jesus’ family sounded like a good idea and he asked God to make that happen.

And all of that reminded me of a story that Jesus told.  It’s called the parable of the vineyard owner found in Matthew 20 and it goes like this.

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.

“About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

“‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

“The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius.11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner.12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend.  Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Moments before Jesus told this story, Jesus’ disciples were talking about how much they had given up to follow him and so we know that Jesus intended this to be a story about the people who will come to follow him long after the disciples did.  Jesus tells us that there are those people who joined his family, joined the church, and worked for him all day long.  Some of us have been a part of the church for nearly all of our lives.  But others wouldn’t get there until the day was almost over.  Even so, God chooses to be generous and give everyone the same reward.  And so, whenever I meet people like James, who discover Jesus at the end of their lives, I think of this parable.

And now that I had the chance to learn more about James Hedrick and discover a little more about who he really was, I think that James and Jesus understand each other.  In fact, I think James and Jesus have a lot in common because they share a love for other people and offer a home to the homeless, become a father to the fatherless, and a family to people who need one.

And so whenever someone asks, “Who was James Hedrick?”  Knowing that he was even a little bit like Jesus is a good thing.


A Letter to My Dad

April 8, 2016

by Elizabeth Hedrick


To my Dad,

This is really hard to write because you were the only one who could help me figure out how to explain how I’m feeling.  But what I do feel, I do feel scared because I didn’t just lose a dad, I lost a best friend who I could talk to for hours.  I remember how my friends, and my brother’s friends, used to sit and talk to him for hours.  I also remember all of us in my kitchen just goofing off with him.  He was always really good at making us all lugh ans sometimes it wasn’t on purpose.  That’s what made him so great.  He was a big kid at heart.  He will be deeply missed by all of his friends and family.

Your beloved daughter,




James Hedrick

Jim Hedrick-cropped James A. Hedrick 1960 – 2016 age 55, of Massillon, passed away in his residence on Wednesday, March 30, 2016, following a long illness. He was born in Canton, Ohio, on June 26, 1960, to Garland and Martha (Barnes) Hedrick. James was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church.

He is preceded in death by his mother, Martha Hedrick; step-mother, Therese (Reihle) Hedrick; sisters, Linda Baus, Cynthia Pamer, and Dawn Alexander; and nephew, Joey Hedrick. James is survived by his wife of thirty years, Annette (Sturgill) Hedrick; children, Elizabeth Hedrick and Adam Hedrick; grandson, Aiden Bowman; and siblings, Bill (Kelly) Hedrick, Michelle McCauley, Gary Alexander, and Kevin (Patti) Hedrick.

A service will be held at a later date at Trinity United Methodist Church, Perry Township, with Pastor John Partridge officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his memory to Akron General Hospital, Genetics Department for the BRCA1 Cancer Gene Research.