Sunday, June 27, 2010

D.C. Patel: Elyria physician, world traveler, loyal to friends and sports teams

Dr. D.C. Patel, who settled in Elyria, Ohio, more than 30 years ago, was born in Uganda, but was of Indian heritage.

He was comfortable wherever he traveled in the world. He spent time in China, France, New Zealand, Mumbai, Tanzania, Italy, Bahamas, Egypt and Australia.

Patel also traveled domestically. He took his family to Disneyworld, Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, D.C., and Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, Tenn. He golfed in Arizona and other states with a group of physician friends.

He was proud of his Indian heritage, professional sports teams in Cleveland, Ohio, and his wife, Minal, daughters, Rachna and Rakhee, grandson, Eli, and the rest of his extended family.

Click here to read more about the "Dash Between" May 1, 1946, when Patel was born in Wobulenzi, Uganda, and May 18, 2010, when the Elyria physician died of complications from prostate cancer at age 64, in the June 27, 2010, edition of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram.

In this photo, D.C. Patel and his wife, Minal, standing, participate in the Hindu wedding ceremony of their daughter, Rachna, and her husband, David Fruchbom, as daughter, Rakhee, right, observes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

John Kenley cast TV stars in Kenley Players summer stock productions

The only things I remember from paging through Pittsburgh newspapers as a kid in the 1960s are the comic strips “Nancy” and “Brenda Starr” and the ads for the Kenley Players.

Kenley Players ads caught my eye because they prominently displayed photos of celebrities, who starred in summer stock theater productions that were presented just a couple of hours away in Warren, Ohio, and later Akron, Ohio.

Teen idols Bobby Rydell and James Darren, pop singers Brenda Lee and Lesley Gore, TV stars Robert Stack and Bill Bixby and aging movie stars Van Johnson and Ray Milland were among the dozens of big names that graced the newspaper ads and the stages at Warren's Packard Music Hall, Akron's E. J. Thomas Hall and other venues.

John H. Kenley, who produced the shows, drew scores of people from Ohio and adjacent states with stars they knew from television, plays and musicals whose titles were familiar and affordable ticket prices.

Critics, however, panned Kenley for putting on lightweight shows which sometimes featured celebrities, who were known more for carrying on conversations with talk-show hosts than for their acting, singing or dancing talents.

I never met John Kenley, but I felt as though I had. I got to know about him - through old newspaper stories - several years ago when I prepared his obituary for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. No, he wasn’t dead yet. I wrote his obit to be kept in the files until his time came.

Major newspapers routinely have obits “in the can” for prominent people, who have reached an advanced age or have been rumored to be in poor health. These “advance obits” provide the background information and an outline from which the eventual obit can be written quickly.

Kenley, who was in his mid-90s at the time, became eligible for an advance obit by virtue of his age.

The impresario had reached the age of 103 by the time he died Oct. 23, 2009.

I didn’t know he had passed until I read his name in a segment on the Tony Awards Show on June 13, 2010, when Broadway paid tribute to theater folk who had died in the last year.

I missed Kenley's obit. I no longer work for the Plain Dealer. I don’t read the paper every day and, when I do, it's usually the online version.

Tony Brown, the Plain Dealer theater critic who had interviewed Kenley in recent years, ended up writing the theater icon’s published obit. It was posted on Brown's "On Stage" blog on Oct. 29, 2009.

Brown had the wisdom to write the obit from his own knowledge of Kenley and inserted some elements from the advance as needed. Only a few sentences from my advance remained intact. Or perhaps Brown never saw the advance and happened to choose the same wording.

Read Brown's excellent obit for Kenley and view photos here.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tippie Moon had an appetite for food, fashion, friendship and dancing.

The diminutive Tippie Moon, who weighed 102 pounds and wore a size 0 or 1 dress, amazed family and friends with her ability to pack away food without gaining weight.

At Tippie's post-funeral reception, one friend suggested that anyone looking for more food should look in the trunk of Tippie's car. That's where the lifelong resident of Lorain, Ohio, who died of complications from cancer on May 29, 2010, at age 49, usually stashed plates full of food during group gatherings.

One of her favorite annual events was the Taste of the South festival staged by Second Baptist Church of Elyria, Ohio. (Tippie worshipped at Second Baptist of Lorain.)

Coincidentally, pictures from the June 12, 2010, Taste of the South appeared on the front page of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram on June 13, 2010 -- the day on which the "Dash Between" obituary feature on Tippie was published.

Click here to read Tippie's "Dash" and view photos taken of her throughout her life.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Amos Campbell: Taffy puller, ice cream maker, Karmel Korn franchisee

Amos Campbell of Brunswick, Ohio, traveled throughout Ohio and adjacent states, to New England and western states and to Washington, D.C., reminding older adults of and introducing children and younger adults to an old-fashioned American tradition called the taffy pull.

Amos spent most of his 82 years serving or teaching about sweets and treats.

He started serving skyscraper ice cream cones at the Isaly's dairy store in Butler, Pa., in the 1940s. After several years of owning a dry cleaners and Laundromat in Columbiana, Ohio, he acquired Karmel Korn franchises at malls in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

Later, Amos ran an ice cream parlor at Mapleside Farms in Brunswick.

Around 10 years ago, he began taking taffy to senior centers, libraries and schools to offer hands-on training in the art of taffy pulling.

Visit the Medina County Gazette online to read more about Amos' "Dash Between" Nov. 18, 1927, when he was born in Greenville, Pa., and May 23, 2010, when he died at age 82.

You also can click here to watch a video of one of his taffy-pull demonstrations and view a slideshow of pictures depicting him at various stages of life.