Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dash Between: Pat Mason Beattie, advocate for the blind

Pat Beattie, who began losing her eyesight to Stargardt's disease (a type of juvenile macular degeneration) at a young age, coordinated development of and access to programs and services that helped others who were blind or nearly blind.

Over the years, she served as president of the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International, treasurer for the American Council of the Blind and director of public policy and consumer relations with the National Industries for the Blind.

As a teenager in the 1950s, she became a columnist for her hometown newspaper, the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, and went on to cover labor and business.

As a newlywed in the 1960s, she worked for U.S. foreign service agencies in countries where her husband handled assignments for International Telephone and Telegraph.

Pat lived in Toledo, Ohio, before moving to the Washington, D.C., area and beginning her work with the blind on a national level in the early 1980s.

Read about "The Dash Between" May 14, 1936, when she was born Patricia Mason in Elyria, Ohio, and Feb. 10, 2010, when she died in Alexandria, Va., at age 73, in the April 18, 2010, edition of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dash Between: Charlie Kurtz, WWII veteran, Silver Star recipient

In 1944, George Patton, the legendary World War II general, awarded Charlie Kurtz the Silver Star for heroic actions during the Battle of St. Lo, France.

Charlie left the battlefield early, taking home the Silver Star, the Purple Heart and what remained of his wrist from a German shell explosion near Flavigny, France.

Read about "The Dash Between" May 7, 1923, when Charlie was born Charles E. Marino in Chicago, and March 5, 2010, when the Chatham Township, Ohio, farmer and former resident of Lakewood, Ohio, died at the Medina (Ohio) Village Retirement Community at age 86, in a story published the Medina County Gazette on Monday, April 5, 2010.

Here are some photos showing Charlie at various phases in his life plus this 1952 photo of his aunt, Marie Sly, with several W. W. Sly Co. employees. She took over operations of the company after her husband, Wilfred C. Sly, was killed by payroll robbers on Dec. 31, 1920.

The murder of her husband is often cited in histories of crime in Cleveland. Read Dan Chabek's account on Lakewood Lore Online.

Charlie Kurtz farmed in Chatham Township, Ohio, for 40 years.

In his later years, Charlie and his wife, Polly, took up tap dancing and performed for audiences at nursing homes and festivals.

Below: Rose Marie Toolis and Charles E. Kurtz had this photo taken in the late 1940s to announce their upcoming wedding.

Charlie Kurtz, far right, owned, bred, boarded and trained horses for harness racing, including Greenacres Johnny, shown after winning a race at Scioto Downs in this 1983 Barry E. Conrad photo.

This "Dash Between" column was published on on April 6, 2010.

Carol Fankhauser, 60, first-grade teacher with neon-green thumb

Teaching first-graders robbed Carol Fankhauser of the ability to say “left” or “right” when giving directions, according to her friend, Kellie Johnston.

Fankhauser, who retired from Copopa Elementary School in Columbia Station, Ohio, "had to point,” said Johnston, who teaches in the Buckeye Local Schools in Medina County, Ohio. “When she wanted (her pupils) to raise a left hand, she would raise her right in mirror image.”

After retiring from teaching, Fankhauser took a job as a "grower" at the Maria Gardens greenhouse in Strongsville, Ohio.

"She always had a green thumb," her daughter, Heather, said. "It was like neon."

"The Dash Between" May 31, 1949, when the former Carol Street was born in Lorain, and March 6, 2010, when the teacher known as Mrs. Fankhauser died at age 60, is featured in the April 4, 2010, edition of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram.

For the full story, click here.

To recommend people for “The Dash Between” obit features for the Elyria Chronicle, Medina County Gazette, or other print or online publications, contact Alana Baranick at or 216-862-2617.

This "Dash Between" column was originally posted on on April 4, 2010.

Jessie Root, 95, of Avon, sold real estate, co-owned greenhouse

Jessie M. Root, who died March 22, 2010, at age 95, sold residential and commercial real estate in communities along Ohio's North Coast for decades.

She also had handled office duties for the greenhouse in Avon, Ohio, which she and her husband, Frank, had owned until retiring in 1978. Frank died in 2006.

Jessie, a former member of the Avon Board of Education, served on a citizens committee that installed lights at the Avon High School football field.

She was born Jessie Mittelstead in Cleveland, Ohio, and lived in Avon since childhood.

The Avon High School graduate attended what was then Bowling Green University before getting married.

Condolences and more: David Bogner Family Funeral Home of North Ridgeville, Ohio.

This item was posted originally on on April 4, 2010.

Lenore Eastin Wayman's 'Dash Between' looks at TB clinic

Lenore Eastin Wayman, the subject of "The Dash Between" that ran in the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram on March 21, 2010, retired in 1981 as administrator for the Lorain County (Ohio) Tuberculosis Clinic.

Lenore, whose Dash fell between her birth in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, on April 28, 1919, and Feb. 22, 2010, when she died at Wesleyan Village in Elyria at age 90, began working at the clinic when it was located at Pleasant View Sanatorium in Amherst, Ohio, before it was moved to the Lorain County Health Building in Elyria, Ohio.

I included a little information about how treatment of TB patients had changed during Lenore's lifetime. Here's more you might like to know.

Chronicle-Telegram columnist Connie Davis once wrote, “I'm told Lorain County had a high incidence of tuberculosis because of the sandstone quarries here. Silica dust inhaled by quarry workers damaged lungs.”

Pleasant View opened on the southeast corner of Leavitt Road (Ohio Route 58) and NorthRidge Road in Amherst in the early 1930s. It became home to large numbers of TB patients who required long-term isolation before advances in medical treatment allowed for out-patient care.

When Lenore began working as a clerk-typist at the newly established clinic at Pleasant View in 1964, the number of residents had been dwindling.

By 1967, the handful of remaining TB patients had been transferred from Pleasant View to Richland County Hospital in Mansfield, Ohio.

Residents of the former (Lorain) County Home for the aged and infirmed were moved from Elyria to the vacated Amherst sanatorium, newly christened Golden Acres Nursing Home.

All out-patient services and TB testing continued to be conducted at the Amherst facility until the clinic was moved to the new county health building on Murray Ridge Road.

To read Lenore's "Dash" from the Chronicle, click here.

To recommend people for “The Dash Between” obit features for the Elyria Chronicle, Medina County Gazette, or other print or online publications, contact Alana Baranick at or 216-862-2617.

This "Dash Between" column was posted originally on on March 22, 2010.

William F. Hickey, 83, of Bay Village, Press Club of Cleveland Hall of Fame inductee

William F. Hickey, who died March 19, 2010, at age 83, served as television and radio critic, sports columnist and copy editor during his 36 years with the Cleveland Plain Dealer before retiring in 1998.

He was inducted into the Press Club of Cleveland Hall of Fame and won a National Headliner award for his columns.

Bill Hickey, a resident of Bay Village, Ohio, wrote or co-wrote such books as "Irish Americans and Their Communities of Cleveland" and "The community of St. Raphael celebrates our walk in faith, 1946-1996."

For the obituary written by the Plain Dealer's Grant Segall, click here.

Calling hours will take place from 2-8 p.m. Monday, March 22, 2010, at McGorray-Hanna Funeral Home of Westlake, 25620 Center Ridge Rd. (W. Of Columbia), Westlake, Ohio.

Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 23, 2010, at St. Raphael Church, 525 Dover Center Rd., Bay Village 44140.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Raphael Scholarship Fund in care of the church or to the Joan Hickey Campus Ministry Fund at Magnificat High School, 20770 Hilliard Blvd., Rocky River, OH 44116.

Condolences and more:

This obit was originally posted on on March 20, 2010.

Honey Zimmerman, 71, of Macedonia, Tamburitza hall of famer

Honey Zimmerman, 71, of Macedonia, Ohio, a bugarija player who died of complications from ovarian cancer March 5, 2010, performed in tambura orchestras since childhood.

She played with her family's Trivanovich Sisters Orchestra, the Seceri Orchestra and Šarena Tamburitza Orchestra.

Honey was inducted into the Tamburitza Hall of Fame in 2008.

For more about her life, visit the Šarena website or read the obituary or death notice from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

This item was posted originally on on March 11, 2010.

Rose Broske spent a decade in Hawaii during her Dash Between

Rose Broske, the subject of "The Dash Between" in the March 7, 2010, edition of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, used to tell her children, "Go with the flow."

The flow took her, her husband, Bud, and several other young adults from Elyria, Ohio, to Hawaii during World War II. The men went as civilian employees of the Navy shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Rose and some of the women who followed took jobs in Honolulu with the War Department.

The Broskes remained in Hawaii for a few years after the war, but their decade in the U.S. territory before it became a state left its imprint. They decorated the rec room in their house with bamboo furniture and furnishings. Rose was cooking stirfry -- with pineapple -- before it became a popular dish in the states and gave hula lessons to family, friends and students at St. Mary Catholic School in Elyria.

Rose's name showed up frequently on the society pages of her hometown paper as a member of several social groups and softball teams in the late 1930s and later as a leader of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas at her church.

Read more about "The Dash Between" July 31, 1920, when she was born Rosemarie Kaiser on the North Side of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Feb. 10, 2010, when the great-grandmother from Carlisle Township, Ohio, died at Welcome Nursing Home in Oberlin at age 89, here.

To recommend people for “The Dash Between” obit features for the Elyria Chronicle, Medina County Gazette, or other print or online publications, contact Alana Baranick at or 216-862-2617.

This "Dash Between" column was originally posted on on March 7, 2010.

Dash Between: Evelyn Steingass Riggs made every day a masterpiece

Evelyn Steingass Riggs made sure her hair was well-coiffed, her makeup flawless and her attire stylish whether she was raising money for the Buckeye schools with her first husband, roller skating with her second husband or riding a tractor to mow acres of farmland.

“She was always attractive,” said her son, Jon Steingass. “People always mentioned that about her. She always looked like a million dollars.”

Before her first husband, Edwin Steingass, died in 1979, he bought a tractor for her and put a mower on the back of it. He wanted to make it easier for her to mow their extensive lawn.

“Even when she was mowing, she looked great,” her son said.

After her second husband, W. Allan Riggs, died in 1994, Evelyn found reasons to get dressed up every day and drive to Medina or other destinations to meet with friends or relatives. Every day, that is, until she called her daughter, Karen Parish, and said, “Take me to the emergency room,” knowing her time was short.

The rest of the story about the Dash Between March 31, 1921, when she was born Evelyn Meyers at a hospital in Berea, Ohio, and Jan. 23, 2010, when Evelyn died at age 88 at Emeritus at Medina retirement community, was published in the Medina County Gazette on March 1, 2010.

On the left is a picture that was taken around 1930 of Evelyn Meyers and her younger sister, Ruth. Their little brother, Eugene, is not pictured.

Oberlin College's Maggie Terry is Elyria Chronicle's Dash Between

Maggie Terry "touched thousands and thousands of students, who came through the door in one way or another," said Rick Panfil, general manager of Campus Dining Services at Oberlin College.

Maggie, who worked in food service at the college in Oberlin, Ohio, for 42 years -- most recently running the Lord-Saunders Dining Hall at Oberlin College’s Afrikan Heritage House -- made students feel at home with her comfort foods and personal attention.

"She was like their mother away from home to a lot of students, and I think they felt that," Panfil said.

Read more about "The Dash Between" December 31, 1947, when she was born Maggie Edwards in Demopolis, Ala., and Jan. 25, 2010, when the hard-working, no-nonsense mother of two died at age 62, in the February 21, 2010, edition of The Elyria Chronicle.

This "Dash Between" column was originally posted on on Feb. 21, 2010.

One Ohio man's 'Gay in the Military' story

Stanley Mason, who was openly and proudly gay back when the majority of his peers stashed their sexual orientation in closets, served as an Army stenographer during the Korean War.

Mason had told friends that he had met a large number of gays in uniform after he was drafted into military service in the early 1950s.

He said he found that fact surprising. He was even more amazed that heterosexual servicemen treated him and other gay comrades with respect.

Mason believed the reason for the lack of testosterone-filled hubris was simple. During wartime, soldiers were more preoccupied with staying alive than worrying about their fellows’ sexual preferences.

I never met Mason, who resided in Lakewood, Ohio, before he died Nov. 4, 2007, at age 76. I learned about his military experience and other aspects of his life while writing “A Life Story” obituary feature about him for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, which was published Dec. 3, 2007.

I gleaned facts, anecdotes and comments by interviewing his friends and reviewing an oral history he had recorded for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Collection at the Western Reserve Historical Society.

Did Selective Service ask Mason about his sexual orientation? Did Mason tell? I don’t have the answer to those questions.

In reality, such questions and answers had no effect on his soldiering experience. He loved the Army. It allowed him to travel away from the small village of Clinton, Ohio, where he grew up, and to gain self-confidence.

Mason later became a promoter of his urban neighborhood in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and its LGBT community. He also became a political activist with the Log Cabin Republicans.

You have to wonder. What would Mason say about the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” debate?

This essay was written by Alana Baranick, a freelance writer from Brooklyn, Ohio, and director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers, who swears that she learned most of what she knows by writing obituaries.

This was originally posted on on Feb. 14, 2010.

Dash Between spotlight: Ann Brand, retired Avon school bus driver

Ann Brand packed a lot of living into "The Dash Between" Feb. 13, 1924, when she was born Anna Ivka in Cleveland, Ohio, and Jan. 16, 2010, when she died at St. John Westshore Hospital in Westlake, Ohio.

She raised five kids, drove a school bus in Avon, Ohio, worked as a cashier at Discount Drug Mart in Westlake and volunteered at the Senior Center in North Ridgeville, Ohio, during her "Dash," a.k.a. life.

Her life story is featured in the Sunday, February 7, 2010, edition of The Elyria Chronicle-Telegram.

To recommend people for “The Dash Between” obit features for the Elyria Chronicle, Medina County Gazette, or other print or online publications, contact Alana Baranick at or 216-862-2617.

This "Dash Between" column was posted originally on on Feb. 7, 2010.

Francis "Frannie" Grim, Chatham Township collector of "stuff"

Frannie Grim hauled antique tractors, small engines and farm tools dating back to 1880 to fairs, festivals and shows to share a piece of history with a younger generation.

“As long as I can remember, he was at the fair every year, every day, in the Antique Power and Equipment section,” said Medina County Fair Board member Steve Arter.

He also exhibited what he called his “stuff” at the Medina County Antique Power Association, LaGrange Engine Club and tractor shows as far away as Ashtabula. He especially enjoyed showing youngsters old-fashioned gizmos that were used to plow fields, cut corn stalks and make sausage.

So begins story of "The Dash Between" June 6, 1936, when Francis Ira Grim was born in Lafayette Township, Ohio, and Jan. 8, 2010, when the Chatham Township, Ohio, farmer, outdoorsman and pickle maker died of complications from kidney cancer at age 73.

On the right is a photo that was taken on Aug. 2, 1957, when Karen Wolfe married Francis Grim at Spencer Methodist Church.

The complete "Dash" was published in the print version of the Medina County Gazette on Jan. 25, 2010.

Tom Kuns, Lorain barber, Clyde native: Subject of Elyria Chronicle "Dash"

Today - Sunday, January 24, 2010 - The Elyria Chronicle-Telegram features "The Dash Between" Dec. 20, 1941, when Tom Kuns was born in Sandusky, and Jan. 2, 2010, when the Lorain barber died at home of a heart attack at age 68.

Tom groomed the heads of many Lorain politicians, clergymen and children and could carry on conversations of interest to each of them. Politics became his favorite topic in recent years.

Read Tom's story and view photos depicting him and his family, beginning with a portrait of Tom at age 1, here.

To recommend people for “The Dash Between” obit features for the Elyria Chronicle, Medina County Gazette, or other print or online publications, contact Alana Baranick at or 216-862-2617.

This "Dash Between" column was originally published on on Jan. 24, 2010

Ray Church, Wellington VFW chaplain, radio/TV repairman, packrat

My feature about "The Dash Between" October 9, 1918, when Wellington VFW chaplain Ray Church was born, and December 23, 2009, when the retired radio and TV repairman died, landed on the front page of the Elyria Chronicle on Sunday, January 10, 2010.

The 91-year-old lifelong resident of Wellington, Ohio, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his service as a radio operator with the 176th Field Artillery Battalion in France during World War II.

Ray was honored in October 2009 by the Wellington Fullbackers for his more than 50 years of raising the flag at Wellington Dukes home football games.

Click this link to read Ray's story.

To recommend people for “The Dash Between” obit features for the Chronicle, Gazette, or other print or online publications, contact Alana Baranick at or 216-862-2617.

This "Dash Between" column was originally posted on on Jan. 10, 2010.

Dick Zunt, 78, covered high school sports for Cleveland Plain Dealer

Dick Zunt, 78, of Cleveland, Ohio, retired Plain Dealer sportswriter and champion of all high school athletes, coaches and athletic events, died January 2, 2010.

After retiring with more than 40 years of shining a spotlight on high school sports, Dick performed assorted duties for various Ohio High School Athletic Association’s state tournaments and state track meets.

He also served on the Sports Advisory Council for the Ohio Bicentennial Commission, even in his retirement.

Read more about Dick's career and his selfless spirit in the obituary written by his friend Mike Peticca, the commentary by fellow sportswriter Dennis Manoloff and the column by Terry Pluto in The Plain Dealer. (Click their names to access their articles.)

Jo Corrigan, who works in the Plain Dealer research department, remembered some of the qualities that endeared Dick to more than just the sports community.

"Dick would crack a joke to lighten a moment and giggle at his own joke," Corrigan said . "Dick Zunt was everyone's support. He was there if you lost a loved one. He would be at the wake.

"Dick provided rides to friends with car troubles or health issues. If he thought it would help, he gave money to folks struggling through tough times.

"He had a passion for his work with high school athletes and the news. He had a strong sense of fairness. He spoke with love, respect and pride about his children.

"I have often heard the phrase 'men for others' associated with St. Ignatius and Jesuit philosophy. Dick Zunt lived that philosophy."

Dan Coughlin, a former Plain Dealer sportswriter, retired Fox Channel 8 sportscaster and one of Dick's best friends, delivered the eulogy. The Plain Dealer recorded it.

Friends may call from 2-4 and 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, January 5, 2010, at Chambers Funeral Home, 4420 Rocky River Drive, Cleveland.

Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday, January 6, 2010, at St. Patrick Catholic Church (West Park), 4427 Rocky River Drive, Cleveland.

Condolences and more:

This "In Remembrance" of Dick Zunt was compiled by another of Dick's friends, Alana Baranick, former Plain Dealer obituary writer, who originally posted it on on Jan. 2, 2010.

Two exemplary fathers are this week's Dashes

I recently had the privilege of writing feature obituaries for two exemplary fathers: Bernie O'Donnell and Tommie Lee Jackson Sr. Their stories ran earlier this week in the Elyria Chronicle and Medina County Gazette, respectively.

Bernie O'Donnell, a retired Elyria carpet salesman who died December 6, 2009, at age 91, shared hands-on parenting chores with his wife back in the 1950s and '60s, when changing diapers and making breakfast for seven kids was considered "women's work."

Tommie Jackson Sr., 65, a retired foundry worker who also died in December, and his wife considered themselves the parents of 18 children. They never distinguished between those who were born to them, adopted by them or placed with them through family services.

Read "The Dash Between" for Bernie O'Donnell in the Elyria Chronicle of December 27, 2009, link to Tommie Jackson's "Dash" ran in the Medina County Gazette on December 28, 2009.

To recommend people for “The Dash Between” obit features for the Chronicle, Gazette, or other print or online publications, contact Alana Baranick at or 216-862-2617.

This "Dash Between" column was originally posted on on Jan. 1, 2010.

Bill Powell, 93, founded Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, hall of fame inductee

Bill Powell, 93, who designed, built, owned and operated the Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio, died December 31, 2009.

Powell, the great-grandson of Alabama slaves, received the PGA Distinguished Service Award, the organization's highest honor, in August 2009. He was inducted into the Northern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame in November 2009.

Friends may call from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Janueary 5, 2010, at Minerva United Methodist Church, 204 North Main Street, Minerva, Ohio, where funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, January 6, 2010.

Arrangements: Bartley Funeral Home, Minerva.

Read full PGA obituary at

This item was originally posted on on Jan. 1, 2010.

The walking man of Elyria

Sylvester Cooper didn't drive a car, but that didn't stop him from getting around.

Friends say he walked wherever he wanted to go. Perhaps you saw him, dressed in a suit, hat and tie, strolling the streets of downtown Elyria, Ohio.

Or you may have seen him in a commercial for the Elyria Public Library's Project Read literacy program, in which he shared his story about re-learning to read.

You can read about "The Dash Between" Oct. 16, 1925, when the Harr Plaza resident was born in Ripley, Tenn., and Nov. 24, 2009, when he died at age 84, in the Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, edition of the Elyria Chronicle.

If you have suggestions of people from Lorain County whose lives Alana Baranick should write about for “The Dash Between” obit feature for the Elyria Chronicle or those from Medina County whose lives she should write about for the Medina County Gazette, please let her know.

She also is available to write “dashes” for folks from other areas of Ohio for and for other publications. Her contact information appears at the end of each “Dash.”

This "Dash Between" column was originally posted on on Dec. 13, 2009.

Lancer Steakhouse, major player in Cleveland history

By Dick Peery

The flames that destroyed the Lancer Steakhouse Sunday took more than a business from the community. They consumed a legacy of Cleveland's finest memories.

When the Lancer opened 49 years ago, its well-dressed patrons included physicians, lawyers, successful business owners and numbers bankers who prospered before the state encroached on their territory with the lottery.

As Carl Stokes ran for mayor in the mid-1960s, the Lancer was where campaign workers swapped information, recharged their political batteries and planned new activities after an evening of volunteer work. It was considered the unofficial campaign headquarters.

Stokes was elected by a hairsbreadth in 1967 as the nation's first black mayor of a major city and launched a political revolution that opened urban leadership to all citizens across the country. Arguably, it was the Lancer that put him over the top.

The political importance of the Lancer continued throughout the Stokes administration as the mayor opened the full range of positions in City Hall to black job-seekers for the first time. Municipal workers, city council members and anyone wanting the back story on developments at City Hall knew they could get a good political conversation going at the Lancer. The upstairs conference room was the place of choice for strategy sessions.

As a reporter for the Call and Post while Stokes was mayor, I found the Lancer invaluable.

I started at the Plain Dealer in 1971, shortly before Stokes' announcement that he would not run for a third term. When the bombshell dropped on a Saturday, I was told to go out in the black community and get some reaction. I guess the editors assumed I would buttonhole people on the street. I made a beeline for the Lancer where I took a stool at the middle of the bar and sat there the entire afternoon taking notes.

Virtually everyone I would have thought to ask for an opinion came by. Elected officials, heads of neighborhood organizations, activists who had been in the news one way or another, all flocked to the Lancer seeking understanding of the shocking news. When I turned in the story, several editors told me no other reporter would have known how to get such a comprehensive wrap up. I didn't tell them it wasn't me. It was the Lancer.

Of all the sessions I attended in the upstairs meeting room, the most unique was hosted by Ron Bey. He was a black Muslim protege of Louis "Babe" Triscaro, a colorful Teamster official and Mafia figure. Bey owned businesses, headed some anti-drug programs and was a City Hall frequenter during the Stokes and Perk administrations, but his primary occupation was assumed to be as a hit man for the mob. He was a fixture in Little Italy when few African Americans dared to visit the area.

He helped calm a community uproar after kids threw rocks at a school bus carrying black students on Murray Hill road in Little Italy. Bey arranged a press conference at the Lancer at which businessmen Al Micatrotto and Tony Hughes said they wanted to apologize on behalf of the Italian community. Micatrotto was especially eloquent as he emphasized the right of everyone to travel on any street without fear of attack. When the local Mafia unraveled years later, Micatrotto and Hughes were identified as longtime members.

Over the decades, politics, economics and demographics changed and so did the Lancer.

As the old customers faded and the next generation of professionals were welcomed in new hangouts downtown, the base for a center of black social and political activity also waned. But not completely. When there was a need to gather, old timers resurrected the past at the Lancer. For instance, whenever boxing promoter Don King came back to Cleveland for a political event or the funeral of former colleague, he bought out the house and everyone was welcome.

The most significant celebration in the Lancer's history occurred just a year ago. The local NAACP wanted to have a viewing party for the election of Barack Obama as president, and there was just one logical place to go. International television broadcasts emanated from the large tent in the parking lot where euphoric voters rejoiced in Obama's incredible victory.

Of all the passionate statements from gatherings throughout the country that I saw on television that night, the most profound was from the Lancer patron with long braids down his back who told the world, "Tomorrow I can cut my dreads."

Owner George Dixon says he will rebuild. He must. It will be great if his new restaurant brings back the enchantment of the original Lancer. In any case, a monument to that magic time is needed.

This was written by Dick Peery, who has stockpiled countless observations of people, places and events in contemporary Cleveland history as a reporter, labor leader and concerned citizen.

It was originally posted on on Dec. 7, 2009.

Craig Behrend, 25, subject of this week's Elyria Chronicle "Dash"

I did not initially intend to write about Craig Behrend for "The Dash Between" obituary feature for the November 29, 2009, edition of the Elyria Chronicle.

I had seen the story potential in the obit that Craig's family had prepared for the Busch Funeral Home website and various newspapers. Craig, 25, was a soldier who had been diagnosed with cancer a couple of weeks before his scheduled deployment to Iraq - - a deployment he very much wanted.

But when looking for a subject for my next "Dash" for the Chronicle, I passed over his story. I suspected that I'd end up with a story all about how Craig battled cancer.

As an obituary writer, I don't focus on death an dying. I write about the life a person lived.

When I approached a Busch funeral director in Avon Lake, Ohio, about an elderly person whose arrangements his funeral home had handled, he strongly suggested I take a second look at Craig's story. He based his recommendation on the stories he'd heard from family, friends and co-workers at Craig's memorial service.

I'm glad I took his advice.

If you have suggestions of people from Lorain County whose lives Alana Baranick should write about for "The Dash Between" obit feature for the Elyria Chronicle or those from Medina County whose lives she should write about for the Medina County Gazette, please let her know. She also is available to write "dashes" for folks from other areas of Ohio for and for other publications. Her contact information appears at the end of each "Dash."

This "Dash Between" column was originally posted on on Nov. 29, 2009.

Larry Carroll, first "Dash Between" for Medina County Gazette

After retiring from his long career as a plumber in Cleveland, Ohio, Larry Carroll moved to Valley City, Ohio, and started a dollhouse miniatures business with his wife, Mary Anne.

I wrote an obituary feature about "The Dash Between" January 8, 1925, when Larry was born in Cleveland, and October 27, 2009, when he died at age 84, which was published Monday, November 23, 2009, in the Medina County Gazette. You can read his story by clicking this link.

This was my first such feature about a recently deceased person from the Medina County area that is scheduled to run in the Medina paper on the fourth Monday of each month.

Similar stories about folks from the Lorain County area run in the Elyria Chronicle every other Sunday. Dashes for Leticia Chavez Fischer and Marilyn Ayster Exline have already been published. A new Dash about 25-year-old Craig Behrend is slated to run Sunday, November 29, 2009.

If you'd like to see obituary features like these in your local newspaper, please contact me at

This "Dash Between" column was originally posted on on Nov. 27, 2009.

Latest "Dash Between" for Elyria Chronicle: Marilyn Ayster Hufford Exline

Did you know Marilyn Ayster, the daughter of John and Dorothy Ayster, when she was growing up in Gates Mills, Ohio, or studying art at Andrews School for Girls in Willoughby, Ohio?

Do you remember Marilyn from the 1960s when she was married to Ray Hufford?

Perhaps you met her after she moved to Elyria, Ohio, or after she married Jim Exline.

Even if you never met her, you may wish you had known her when you read her story in the Elyria Chronicle of Sunday, November 15, 2009. Marilyn Exline is the second subject of my new Chronicle feature, which like this column is titled “The Dash Between.”

In the November 15th piece, I examine the dash between Sept. 13, 1940, when Marilyn Ayster was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and Nov. 2, 2009, when the outspoken Grafton, Ohio, woman, animal lover, one-time clown died.

The Dash Between, which shares the lives of recently deceased regular folks from Lorain County, Ohio, and adjacent areas, runs every other Sunday in The Chronicle.

NEWS! The Dash Between also will soon appear in the Medina County Gazette. For those features, we'll look at the lives of recently departed people from the Medina County area. More on that next week.

Please contact me at to suggest a subject for “The Dash Between” in The Chronicle, The Gazette or any other Ohio newspaper or for

Alana Baranick, chief author of "Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers," won the 2005 American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award in the Obituary category for similar obit features she wrote for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio.

This "Dash Between" column was originally posted on on Nov. 15, 2009.

Helen E. Sekular, 87, Lorain Slovenian Club board member, fish fry waitress, Drill Team member

Helen E. Sekular, 87, of Lorain, Ohio, who died Thursday, November 5, 2009, served on the board of directors of the Lorain Slovenian Club, where she was a fish fry waitress for 25 years and made cabbage and noodles for fish fries.

She was a member of Saints Cyril and Methodius Slovenian Catholic Church in Lorain and an officer of the church's Lady's Guild.

Mrs. Sekular, who was born Helen Tomazic on March 12, 1922, in Aliquippa, Pa., and lived in Lorain since infancy, also belonged to the Light Hearted Club, SNPJ Slovenian Lodge, Slovenian Women's Union and the award-winning Lorain Slovenian Drill Team.

Survivors include her daughter, Linda Sekular of Lorain; and nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 33 years, Harry Sekular, in 1977; her parents, Lawrence and Mary (nee Galati) Tomazic; a brother, Frank Tomazic; and a sister Mary Klein.

Family will receive friends from 4-8 p.m. Sunday, November 8, 2009, at Richard J. Reidy Funeral Home, 1783 East 31st Street in South Lorain.

Funeral services will begin Monday, November 9, 2009, with 9:15 a.m. closing prayers followed by 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at Saint Mary of the Lake Catholic Church, 8th Street and Reid Avenue, Lorain, celebrated by the Rev. James Becherer.

Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Lorain Ohio.

To reach the funeral home, dial (440) 277-8164.

This obituary was prepared by the family and the funeral home, edited slightly by and was originally posted on on Nov. 6, 2009.

Mexican-born, Lorain-raised teacher, subject of new "Dash Between" feature in Elyria's Chronicle

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron in the early 1970s, Leticia Chavez Fischer sought a teaching job with the public school system in Lorain, Ohio - against all odds.

The Mexican-born child of a teacher and an autoworker had been told that the Lorain schools weren’t hiring Hispanic women. She applied anyway, got a job teaching Spanish at Lorain High and within a short time was named head of foreign languages.

Leticia is the first subject of my new obituary feature for The Chronicle, a.k.a. Chronicle-Telegram, the daily newspaper of Elyria, Ohio. The feature, which like this column is titled “The Dash Between,” debuts Sunday, November 1, 2009.

In this first story for The Chronicle, I examine the dash between Feb. 7, 1949, when Leticia was born in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, and Oct. 24, 2009, when she died at age 60 at St. John West Shore Hospital in Westlake, Ohio.

The Dash Between, which shares the lives of recently deceased regular folks from Lorain County, Ohio, and adjacent areas, is scheduled to run every other Sunday in The Chronicle. Please read it in the print edition of the paper, if possible. Otherwise, visit the paper's website at and/or use this link.

Please contact me at to suggest a subject for “The Dash Between” in The Chronicle, for any other Ohio newspaper or for

Read more about Leticia at the website of the Dovin Reber Jones Funeral Home of Amherst, Ohio, at

Alana Baranick won the 2005 American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award in the Obituary category for similar obit features she wrote for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio.

This "Dash Between" column was originally posted on on Oct. 31, 2009.

Muskingum County Country Music Hall of Fame remembers inductees who died in 2009

Dodie Brewer, who sang with such bands as Dodie and the Country Chords, made her final exit from the country music scene in Zanesville, Ohio, on February 8, 2009.

Howard Jewett, who played upright bass with the Sleepy Hollow Band, followed on April 25. John W. Ray, singer, songwriter and guitarist of the Hickory Wind bluegrass band, joined them on June 23.

The Muskingum County Country Music Hall of Fame had announced its plans to memorialize those three on Sunday, October 11, 2009, at its 24th Annual Hall of Fame Day before two more of its members died.

Bobby Dunn, who played steel guitar, rhythm guitar and dobro and also "rattled the bones" with various groups, died September 27. Gerald Hill, a.k.a. “Buttercup,” a comedian and square dance caller for Dallas Bond and the Musical Farmers, passed on September 28.

Bobby had played with John’s Hickory Wind. Both Bobby and Gerald had been members of Dodie’s Country Chords.

So now, five members of this Southeast Ohio pickin’, grinnin’ and otherwise engagin’ in old-time country music organization, who died in 2009, will be remembered at 3 p.m. Sunday, October 11, 2009, during Muskingum County Country Music Hall of Fame Day at Roger’s Auction Barn, Salem Church Road, Adamsville, Ohio.

The Duncan Falls/Philo VFW will begin serving its all-day Hall-of-Fame-Day lunch at 11 a.m. Performers will take the stage at 12:30 p.m. Following the 3 o’clock memorial observance, new members will be inducted. Then the music will resume until the crowd leaves, usually around suppertime.

Cost of admission: Freewill donation and BYOC – Bring Your Own Chair. No one will be turned away.

Dodie, Howard and Bobby were among the inaugural class of inductees to the Hall of Fame when it was formed in 1986 to honor Muskingum County entertainers who had played, sung or performed publicly for at least 15 years. John and Gerald were inducted in 1987.

As part of the memorial portion of the event, emcee Phil Barnett will read each member’s obituary and present brass plaques and white carnations to their families.

Besides making and celebrating traditional country music, the Hall of Fame has made community service its mission.

Proceeds from Muskingum County Country Music Hall of Fame Day, as well as the group’s square dances, holiday parties and other activities throughout the year, help neighbors in need.

Next on the schedule: Muskingum County Country Music Hall of Fame's Annual Fall Round and Square Dance, 7-10 p.m. Saturday, October 24, 2009, at the Newton Township Fire Facility, 5490 Maysville Pike, State Route 22, White Cottage, Ohio 43791. Doors open at 6 p.m. Entertainment includes round, square and line dancing, as well as cake walks, 50/50 raffle and door prizes. Food will be available. Admission: $3 per person. Children 10 and under: Free. Proceeds benefit the Marvin Wheeler Cancer Fund.

For more information, contact Phil Barnett at 740-453-4519 or

Alana Baranick says she’s not really a fan of country music, but was surprised to recognize, remember fondly and enjoy the music of country music greats who are enshrined at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum when she visited Nashville, Tenn., in 2007.

This "Dash Between" column was originally posted on on Oct. 7, 2009.

Emmitt Eugene Hawkins, 71, of Chillicothe, lifelong learner

Emmitt Eugene Hawkins, 71, of Chillicothe, Ohio, who died Wednesday, October 21, 2009, was a self-motivated lifelong learner who especially loved studying science, nature and the Bible.

While a passenger in his pick-up truck merely saw the beauty of the countryside, Emmitt’s amazing “Hawk” eyes could spot an owl hidden among the branches of the forest 30 yards from the road. Those same “Hawk” eyes were invaluable when teaching his kids and grandkids how to hunt for arrowheads, mushrooms and berries, though none of them ever managed a fraction of his skill.

A few years ago, he dug for dinosaur fossils in Montana.

The 1956 Clarksburg (Ohio) High School graduate and his wife of 53 years, the former Rita Zurmehly, were the parents of four children and grandparents of eight. He swore that no one had better-looking, smarter or more talented children or grandchildren.

Emmitt, who did not have the opportunity to attend college, worked very hard to give his family opportunities he never had. He worked six days a week for 11 years at Mead, was a carpenter for several years and worked at Kenworth for 21 years.

His labor, combined with his frugality and generosity, allowed his children to attend college, enjoy several amazing family vacations together with their spouses and grandchildren and experience bountiful Christmases.

One Christmas, when his children were little, he sold his treasured coin collection so that the presents were stacked higher than his kids were tall.

If he thought a loved one was having financial difficulty, he freely offered discreet support. He even extended such generosity to strangers and charities.

Emmitt also enjoyed spending his mornings with the coffee club at Carl’s Townhouse, occasionally managing to chip in his two cents amidst the lively debate.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, October 26, 2009, at Clarksburg United Methodist Church, 17264 High St., Clarksburg.

Arrangements: Ware Funeral Home, Chillicothe.

Condolences and more:

This obituary was prepared by the family and funeral home, edited slightly by and originally posted on on Oct. 25, 2009.

Soupy Sales, 83, got his start on TV in Cincinnati and Cleveland

Soupy Sales, the no-holds-barred comedian who would do anything for a laugh and took his first pie in the face on a children's show in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1951, died Thursday, October 22, 2009, according to the Associated Press.

He got his start on TV in Ohio in Cincinnati and Cleveland.

AP reports that after Cleveland, Sales moved to Detroit and then in 1961 to Los Angeles, where his pie-throwing schtick became his trademark, and celebrities lined up to take one on the chin alongside Sales.

During the early 1960s, stars such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis and Shirley MacLaine received their just desserts side-by-side with the comedian on his television show.

"I'll probably be remembered for the pies, and that's all right," Sales said in a 1985 interview.

Video of Alice Cooper on the Soupy Sales show

Full obituary

This obituary was originally posted on on Oct. 23, 2009.

Peggy Gibbons, 68, taught 2nd-graders at Our Lady of Angels in Cleveland

Peggy Gibbons, a second-grade teacher at Our Lady of Angels Elementary School in Cleveland, Ohio, for more than 40 years, celebrated the end of each school year by dancing on her desk.

What she had intended as a one-time expression of glee became a tradition. When Mrs. Gibbons retired from full-time teaching, her fellow teachers marked her last day by lining up in the hallway and doing a line dance to the song “New York, New York” as a tribute.

Her peers previously nominated her for an excellence in teaching award, and the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland named her Educator of the Year for 1992.

Mrs. Gibbons, who died Saturday, October 3, 2009, at the age of 68, devised many special tricks to get various points across to her pupils.

She placed a “Yak, Yak” bird on the desks of students who found it hard to stop talking. When she said, “Snow canyon,” her students knew to freeze, sit up straight and fold their hands without a word.

Mrs. Gibbons called herself "The tulip." It was easier for her to get the attention of second graders by telling them to ”Keep your eyes on the tulip” than to tell them to keep their eyes on her.

A lover of music and singing, she often made lessons more memorable and more fun by singing them. She also taught her students to speak Spanish and Japanese.

She made geography real to her second graders by having them write letters to one of her former students, who was a Jesuit seminarian in Africa. The exercise also helped her pupils learn social graces, while keeping her former student connected to Cleveland and entertained with some kids-say-the-darnedest-things letters.

After reading "Miss Nelson is Missing" to her classes, Mrs. Gibbons used the character of Miss Viola Swamp, a mean substitute teacher from the book, to keep her students in line. When students misbehaved, the beloved teacher would walk out of her classroom, then return as Miss Swamp. The youngsters ended up begging for Mrs. Gibbons to come back. At least one parent called the principal to ask about Miss Swamp, thinking she was a real person and not a recreated fictional character.

After retiring, Mrs. Gibbons herself became a substitute teacher.

She was born Margaret Ann O’Malley, the eldest of Gertrude and Robert O’Malley’s seven children. She graduated from St. Joseph Academy and St. John’s College in Cleveland, where she received a bachelor of science degree in education.

When she began teaching in 1963, she was known as Miss O’Malley. She spent one year teaching fourth grade and another instructing first-graders. She spent the rest of her career teaching second grade. She loved being responsible for training and preparing children for First Holy Communion.

She married Michael J. Gibbons, a Cleveland firefighter, in 1966. Mrs. Gibbons always spoke with joy about her children and grandchildren. She loved walking in the Cleveland Metroparks, especially Rocky River Reservation. She enjoyed ice skating with her husband. The pair performed a very elegant "couples skate" at Winterhurst Ice Rink in Lakewood, Ohio.

In addition to her husband, survivors include her children, Daniel (Wendy), of Utah, Mary Gulla (Andrew) and David (Jennifer); grandchildren, Patrick, John, Joe, Michael, Sarah, Olivia and Meredith Rose; and siblings, Neal (Mary), Janice Kurtz (David), Joyce, Gerry O'Malley-Ginley (James-deceased), Evan (Marsha), and Dennis (Mary) of California.

Funeral Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Angels Church in Cleveland, on Thursday, October 8, 2009. Interment was at Holy Cross Cemetery. Arrangements were by McGorray-Hanna Funeral Home of Westlake, Ohio.

Family requests donations be made in her memory to Our Lady of Angels School, 3644 Rocky River Dr., Cleveland, OH 44111.

Read comments and condolences left on an online guestbook at

Condolences also may be posted at

This obituary was originally posted on on Oct. 7, 2009.

Cy Wainscott, 74, managing editor for Cleveland Plain Dealer, Kenyon Review, Ashland Times-Gazette

Cy Wainscott amazed technologically challenged reporters at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1980s with his ability to retrieve lost copy with a seemingly magical wave of his fingers.

The former managing editor of Ohio’s largest daily newspaper, who died Sunday, September 27, 2009, at age 74 at his home in Gambier, Ohio, oversaw the paper’s transition from typewriters to computer keyboards.

“When the age of computers arrived, he was in charge figuring out which system to buy and how to put the computers in a newsroom that was too small and under wired for computers,” said former colleague Rosemary Kovacs.

Wainscott also excelled at creating family crests by hand, using illustrations and calligraphy to support his extensive historical research.

At the time of his death, he was designing a coat of arms for each of the members of the Board of Trustees at Kenyon College, where he had served as managing editor of the Kenyon Review and advisor to the student newspaper, The Collegian, before retiring in 1995.

His first job was working at the movie theaters his parents managed in Rantoul, Ill., the city of his birth, and in the Champaign-Urbana, Ill., area.

He attended the divinity school at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, with intentions of becoming a minister with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

But while working on the college newspaper during his senior year, he had an epiphany. He was better suited for journalism than for the ministry.

Years later, during a trip to England in the 1960s, Wainscott was so moved by a service at Westminster Abbey, he switched Christian denominations and became an Episcopalian.

After graduating from Wartburg in 1957, Wainscott moved to Ohio to take a job as a reporter with the Ashland Times-Gazette. He was managing editor of the newspaper in Ashland, Ohio, before joining the Plain Dealer as a copy editor in 1963.

He was named makeup editor in 1965. He served as graphics editor, assistant news editor, editorial production coordinator and assistant managing editor before he was named managing editor responsible for editing and production in 1981.

Wainscott’s introduction of computers in the newsroom irritated some resistant reporters.

“There is no way of telling how many assuredly Pulitizer-winning stories of mine the computers ate,” said Plain Dealer retiree Don Bean. “One such moment, I was screaming and cussing a blue streak at the computer that just ate a masterpiece of mine. Cy, passing behind me, said, ‘What's the matter, Bean?’ I shouted, ‘The damn thing ate my story.’ ‘Don't worry and fret,’ he said. ‘The way you write, it will soon throw it back up.’ It really happened.”

Wainscott also is remembered for creating dozens of family crests with names of Plain Dealer people, which adorned the walls of the Headliner bar, a favorite hangout of the newsroom staff. He researched the four family surnames for married couples to design their unique coat of arms.

"When Ralph and I were married in 1983, Cy gave us a beautiful scroll merging our families names into a new crest," said Pat Gessler, Plain Dealer retiree. " It's still hanging above our fireplace"

Jim Strang, another PD retiree, reported, “When my eldest, Megan, was born (1983), he did as a birth gift to her a Strang family crest along with a sheet, headlined in Old English letters, detailing what each element meant. I assume he did this for other PD birthlings as well.”

Tom Andrzejewski, another Plain Dealer alumnus, confirmed Strang’s assumption.

“Upon the birth of our son, Cy presented my wife and me with a large, colorful heraldic narrative with calligraphy and illustrations by his own hand, derived from extensive research,” Andrzejewski reported. “ He was a true gentleman and scholar.”

He won Andrzejewski over early on.

“Cy demonstrated his golden heart on my first night as a copy boy,” Andrzejewski said. “He was then a copy editor, and in the course of the evening introduced himself and gave me a sketch of the city room. It identified all the desks and the names of the people so when an editor yelled ‘Boy!’ I would know where to deliver the copy I was thrust.”

While in the Cleveland area, Wainscott served as president of the Press Club of Cleveland and was a member of Sigma Delta Chi, a journalism fraternity now known as the Society of Professional Journalists. He also belonged to The Northeast Ohoi Newspaper Guild Local 1 and designed its logo.

After leaving Cleveland in the 1980s, he spent five years as publicity director of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. He went on to work for a division of Eastman-Kodak out of Boston, Mass., that made computer systems for newspapers. He traveled the world, consulting with newspapers in New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, Scotland and England.

Wainscott settled in Gambier in 1991 and worked at Kenyon College until 1995.

His wife, Judith McCluskey Wainscott, a Plain Dealer reporter whom he married in 1965, survives.

His brother, Marc, who died three years ago, also married a woman named Judith, who lives near the Wainscott brothers’s mother, Frances McDaniel Wainscott Grantham, in Fairborn, Ohio.

Memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, October 24, 2009, at Harcourt Parish Episcopal Church on the Kenyon College campus in Gambier.

Arrangements: Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home, Mount Vernon, Ohio.

Condolences, an obituary written by Wainscott's widow and more:

This obituary was originally posted on on Sept. 28, 2009.