Ralph D. Painter, 98, passed away Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, in his apartment at Stow-Glen Retirement Center in Stow, Ohio, where he lived for 8 years after moving back to Ohio from Florida following the death of his wife, Beatrice. With the death of his wife of 68 years, he wanted to be near his only child, Carole Kane, a longtime Kent resident, and her family.
He was born August 29, 1915, in Norton Center, Ohio. His parents were Lewis M. and Tressa Painter and his two older brothers were Harold and Howard. He grew up, worked, lived and raised a family in Barberton, Ohio, until moving with his wife to Lake Placid, Florida, where they spent 35 years in retirement, enjoying the sunshine, traveling, making new friends and being close to Florida relatives, the McCurdys and Greens.
As a young man he was a well-known baseball pitcher, having try-outs with the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals. He met many of the famous players of that era and he donated Pepper Martin's baseball pants to the Cooperstown, NY, Baseball Hall of Fame which he visited with his grandson. He played on several area teams, umpired Little League baseball games, coached winning church baseball and basketball teams and was a huge sports fan all his life, attending Ohio State football games for nearly 50 years and corresponding with coaching greats such as Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, and Jim Tressel.
While living in Barberton he was a lay leader and active member at Johnson Methodist church. He and his wife owned Painter Hardware for 25 years on the west side of Barberton in an area called Johnson's Corners. The 1928 PAINTER brick building on Wooster Rd. W. still stands today. His classes at Hammel Business College in Akron served him well. He lived through the Depression and learned to budget and save. In the 1950's and 1960's he was appointed Barberton City Safety Director and later he became Barberton City Service Director. He was also a realtor with Moloney Co. for 10 yrs. He was always well respected and active in his community, honest, likable and dependable.
He and his wife traveled extensively throughout the entire USA including Alaska and into the Canadian provinces. They loved nothing better than traveling in their motor home, especially in Colorado and Montana. They also visited Great Britain, Europe, Holland, Poland, Belgium, Scandinavia and Mexico. They took a trip to Russia on their 50th anniversary. Later they enjoyed bus trips, shows in Branson, Missouri, and several cruises. He and his wife also enjoyed fishing, playing shuffleboard, Bingo and card games, and watching Ohio State football.
Moving back to this area meant the opportunity to spend more time with his daughter, Carole Kane, his granddaughter Hilary Kane and her husband Paul Onuska of Mantua and his two great-grandsons Nicholas Onuska now a KSU chemistry major and Jonah Onuska a Crestwood high school senior, and his grandson Timothy Kane and wife Kate Peake of South Euclid. He drove until the age of 97, often stopping at area restaurants and cruising around the Stow and Kent area.
Roosevelt High School Rough Rider football fans will remember seeing Mr. Painter at many of the home games with his grandson Timothy or at the annual awards programs. His friendship with Coach Nemec, wife Mary, Herb Slone, and the coaches and players throughout the years was a blessing. He recently received a Volunteer of the Year Award at Stow-Glen Retirement Village where he made many friends over the years with the residents, staff and workers.
Special thanks to all at the Akron Visiting Nurses HOSPICE, his nurse Becky and Aide Stephanie and all who cared for him during his final month. Special thanks also to Terri of "Devoted Companions" based in Kent and his loving caregivers Laura, Jena, Kayla, Dian and Mary. Special hugs to Pastor Kim Barnett of Stow-Glen who was his caring pastor for nearly 8 years, who visited or phoned him daily, and who preached uplifting messages at the three times a week services he attended. Thanks to his physician, Dr. Daniel Sullivan, at Solon Cleveland Clinic, for years of quality care.
Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 1st at 2:00 in the BIRCH HALL Community Room of Stow-Glen Retirement Center, 4285 Kent Rd., Stow, OH. Pastor Kim Barnett will officiate and there will be a chance to share a memory for those who wish to do so. A private family burial service at a later date will be at Greenlawn Cemetery in Akron, Ohio.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish to do so can mail a donation in Ralph Painter's memory to: Roosevelt Football Boosters, c/o Coach John Nemec, Theodore Roosevelt High School, 1400 N. Mantua St., Kent, OH 44240. Donations can also be mailed to a non-profit organization called Pathways to Independence, a quality, safe residential living facility for high functioning young people with mental disabilities (www.path2ind.org). Mail donations to: P.T.I., Attention: Chris Webb, Birch Hall, Apt. 442, 4285 Kent Rd., Stow, OH, 44224.