Wednesday, December 13, 2017


BJ Alumni Directory, with thanks to Paula Schleis


ABRAHAM, Lisa. 2003-2014, reporter and food writer. Now food editor at Columbus Dispatch, living in Westerville.

ADAMS, David. 1986-2004, reporter, editor, consumer sales & marketing, online content developer. Now in Bay Village, associate director of Global Markets/Business, Development, Tax.

ALLEN, Dale. 1980-1997. Executive editor/editor. Now in Akron (winters) and Muzzy Lake, Portage County (summers). Retired, but writing stuff.

BACKDERF, Derf. 1990-1999, artist. Now in Shaker Hts., comics writer-artist.

BEE LYNN, Sandy. 1983-2001, library researcher, free-lance writer. Now in Doylestown, retired, contributing writer for The Post Newspaper.

BRECKENRIDGE, Mary Beth. 1987-present, various editing and writing positions. Now in Brecksville, currently home and garden writer at ABJ.

BRETT, Regina. 1986-2000, reporter, columnist. Now in Northeast Ohio, author (

BROWN, J. Curt. 1971-74, reporter, religion writer, night desk. Now in Akron, retired and substitute church organist.

BYARD, Katie Byard. 1983-present, reporter. Now in Akron, currently business writer, food columnist at ABJ.

CARDEW, Mike Cardew. 1993 to present, photographer and picture editor. Akron

CARNEY, Jim Carney. 1979-2014, reporter. Now in Akron, occasional personality on 1590 WAKR News Talk Sports.

CHABOLLA, Elena Stauffer. 1993-1995, copy editor. Now in Tucson, Ariz., senior program coordinator at the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

CHANCELLOR, Carl. 1983-2008, reporter, columnist. Now director of editorial at Center for American Progress, Washington, D.C.

DAVIS, Carla J. 1996-2000, copy editor, promotion coordinator. Now in Akron, marketing communications director at Akron-Summit County Public Library. or

DAWIDZIAK, Mark. 1983-99, television critic, movie critic. Now in Cuyahoga Falls, television critic for The Plain Dealer.

DESROSIERS, Rich. 1994-2015, various editing positions. Now in Canton, executive editor for GateHouse Ohio Media.

DETRICH, Matt. 1994-1999, photography. Now in Indianapolis, videographer for Indiana University Health.

DOWNING, Bob. 1972-2016., environment and parks reporter, travel columnist, shale blogger. Now in Akron, soon to be retired.

DUTTON, Geoff Dutton. 2000-2001, reporter. Now in Columbus, at Ohio Department of Public Safety.

DYER, Bob Dyer. 1984-present, copy editor, reporter, columnist. Now in Copley, currently columnist at the ABJ.

ETHRIDGE, Mary. 1988-2006, metro and business reporter. Now in Akron, freelancing.

FARRIS, Gene. 1987 and 2002-2005, deputy sports editor. Now in Chicago, digital editor at the Chicago Tribune.

FLADUNG, Thom. 2000-2002, managing editor. Now in Hudson, vice president of Hennes Communications.

FRAZE, Kathleen. 1973-2012, reporter, various editing positions. Now in Akron, retired.

GAMBOA, Glenn. 1993-2000, reporter. Now in NYC, pop music critic for Newsday.

GANGL, Ott. 1957-1992. Photographer. Retired.

GIFFEN, Tom. 1983-1995, various writing and editing positions. Now in Fort Myers, Fla., own/operate Roy Hobbs Baseball, partner in Kiama Custom Apparel, and chair of Roy Hobbs Foundation.

GLENDE, Phil. 1991-1994, night editor. Now in Terre Haute, Ind., director of Student Media at Indiana State University.

GOFORTH, Candace (DeSantis). 1998-2006, reporter/columnist. Now in Burton, Ohio, independent writer/editor/editorial consultant.

GOOD, Michael. 1987-1998, photographer, director of photography. Now in Lake Stevens, WA, retired.

GREEN, Gary W. 1999-2002, photographer. Now in Florida, digital director of University of Florida's Innovation News Center and Deputy News Editor of WUFT News., 321-441-6916 (c), 352-294-1502 (o).

GRNA, Paul D. 1969-2002, newsroom library, production. Now in Akron, night manager/auditor at Econo Lodge Akron East. paulgrna@yahoo

GROSS, Andale. 1997-2006, reporter. Now in Chicago, desk editor for Associated Press. or

HAAS, Dennis. 1967-1990, news artist. Now in St. Petersburg, Fla., retired.

HAFERD, Laura (Montgomery). 1982-2001, copy editor, religion writer, reporter. Now in Akron area, retired.

HAGEDORN, Kathy Hagedorn. 1994-present, artist, page designer. Now in Akron, artist, page designer at ABJ.

HAGELBERG, Kymberli. 1996-2005, metro reporter. Now in Greensboro, NC, digital content director and breaking news editor at the News & Record and

HARRIS, Sheryl. 1986-2000, reporter, consumer columnist. Now in Shaker Heights, director of consumer affairs for Cuyahoga County.

HECHT, Jane Hecht. 1998-2006, administrative assistant to the Editor. Now in Stow, administrative assistant at St. Stephen Lutheran Church.

HIGGINS, John. 1997-2012, reporter. Now in Seattle, education reporter at Seattle Times. or

HONE MCMAHAN, Kim. 1989-2016, reporter/columnist. Now in Green, retired.

HUNT, April Hunt. 1989, 1992-93, reporter and copy editor. Now in Atlanta, working at Emory University.

IRWIN, Gloria. 1985-2006. various writing and editing positions. Now in Green, retired.

KATZ, Marvin. 1960-1966, reporter. Now in Troutdale, Ore., retired.

KAVANAGH, Jim. 1991-2006; copy editor, copy desk chief. Now in Decatur, GA, senior writer at The Carter Center.

KLECIC, Christine (Isenberg). 1992-1997, internal communications (Hot Type/SideBar). Now in Green, working at Kent State University.

KNAPP, Virginia Dorell. 1998-2000, copy editor. Now in Washington, D.C., attorney with the FDA Office of Chief Counsel.

KORTE, Gregory. 1997-2001, metro reporter. Now in Bethesda, Maryland, White House correspondent for USA TODAY. or

KRUMMEL, Art. 1967-2001, artist, art director, pagination coordinator. Now in Tallmadge, retired.

LAMMERDING, Betsy. 1973-2008. Reporter, assistant features editor. Now in Akron and retired.

LEACH, Jan. 1998-2003, editor and vice president. Now in Fairlawn, teaching journalism at Kent State.

LIN-FISHER, Betty. 1995-present, copy editor, metro and business reporter. Now in Cuyahoga Falls, currently the business and consumer reporter and columnist for ABJ.

LOUIE, Andrea Louie. 1989-1992. Reporter. Now in Long Island, NY and executive director of Asian American Arts Alliance, New York City.

MARVIN, Tom H. 1967 -1978, photographer. Retired.

MCKENNEY, Mitch. 1998-2008, deputy metro editor, features editor, online editor. Now in Hartville, teaching at Kent State.

MEZGER, Ann Sheldon. 1972-2008, reporter, various editing positions. Now in Akron area, writing fantasy and science fiction.

MONTAGUE, Charles S. 1970-2008, various reporter and editing positions. Now in Stow, retired, freelance travel writer, volunteer at Akron City Hospital.

MOORE, Casey. 1999-2006, sports news assistant, sports correspondent, sports copy editor. Now living in Northern Virginia, working in McLean, Va. at USA Today as sports digital editor.

MOORE, Tom. 1963-1992, copy editor, columnist, deputy news editor. Now in Akron, writer for Roy Hobbs Baseball and volunteer for the Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad.

MORGAN, David Lee Jr. 1995-2010. Sportswriter. Now in Austintown, a development officer at Youngstown State University and part-time journalism instructor.

MUSARRA, Russ. 1970-2000, reporter, editor, columnist. Now in Streetsboro, retired.

MYERS, Marcia. 1986-1989, federal courts reporter, higher education reporter. Now in Washington, DC, editor in chief at CQ Magazine.

NEVADA, Charlene. 1970-2005, Action Line, reporter, deputy metro editor. Now in Tallmadge, retired.

NIX, Katie. 2014-2015, metro student correspondent. Now night cops reporter for The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria and working on masters at Kent State.

OLESKY, John. 1969-96. Assistant state desk editor, makeup editor, TV editor. Now splitting time between Tallmadge and The Villages in Florida. retired in 1996. (330) 388-4466

OLIVER, Terence. 1991-2001, various art director positions. Now in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, associate professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and owner of Elite Execution Design.

OPLINGER, Doug. 1971-present, reporter, various editing positions, currently managing editor.

PAYNE, Melanie. 1996-2000, reporter. Now a columnist for The News-Press in Fort Myers, FL.

PROCTOR, Glenn. 1981-1991, reporter, various editing positions. Now in Charlotte NC, owner REDDjobb LLC (training and coaching).

QUINN, Jim. 1984-2001, reporter, various editing positions, columnist. Now living in North Canton; adjunct composition instructor at University of Akron.

RADER, Peggy. 1974-1979, reporter. Now in Minneapolis, communications manager at Perpich Center for Arts Education.

RANKIN, Beth. 2005-2007, metro student correstpondent. Now in Dallas, food editor at the Dallas Observer in Dallas, TX.

READ, Jan Read. 1983-84, copy desk and national desk. Now in Nashville, Tenn., senior director of integrated communications at Vanderbilt University.

RESWOW, Olga. 1985-2014, national desk editor, copy editor. Now in Wadsworth, retired.

RHODEN MOORE, Yalinda. 1984-1999, reporter, copy editor, assistant metro editor. Now Public Information Office for Cleveland Water Pollution Control.

SCHELLENBACH, Tricia. 2001-2006, copy editor. Now in Baltimore, Md., senior director of communications and marketing at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.

SCHLEIS, Paula. 1982-present, reporter. Now in Barberton, metro reporter at ABJ.

SCOTT, Dave Scott. 1978-2014, metro and business reporter, copy editor, assistant editor. Now in Copley, retired.

SHAW, Webb. 1974-1985, reporter, copy editor, assistant political editor. Now in Fremont, Wisconsin, retired.

SHERWIN, Lynne. 1995-present, various editing positions. Now in Akron, currently features editor at ABJ.

SMITH GIPPIN, Susan. 1984-1991, reporter, and columnist. Now in Akron, currently owner Special Times LLC, liquidator & antique dealer.

SMITH, Timothy D. 1967-1986, reporter, various editing positions.Taught at KSU from 1986-2014. Now in Rootstown, semi-retired and practicing law.

SNELL, Roger. 1991-1996, Columbus bureau chief, reporter. Now in Frankfort, Ky.; an author and founder of Kentucky Proud, helping farm families reach the retail market. Website:

SPRINGER, Bob. 1989-2008, copy editor, reporter, commentary editor. Retired, now living in Kent summers, Arizona winters.

STARKS, Elbert III. 2001-2005, copy editor, reporter. Now in Fort Wayne, IN, studying at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne.

STEWART III, Mizell, 1994-2000 and 2005-2006, various editing positions. Now vice president of news operations at Gannett, working in Virginia and from home in Aurora.

TIGELMAN, Colleen Murphy. 1978-1989, various editing positions. Now in Akron, retired.

TREXLER, Phil. 1998-2015, reporter. Now in Bath Township, executive producer at Channel 3 News WKYC TV.

VANAC, Mary. 1989-2000, business reporter. Now in Chardon, self-employed organic farmer at Creators Table.

VAN TASSEL, Deb. 1982-93, 95-99, various editing positions. Now in Arizona, editor/planner at Arizona Republic.

VRADENBURG, Sarah. 1984-2006. Copy editor, reporter, editorial writer. Now in Akron and a Master Gardener Volunteer, blogging at

WALLACE, Julie. 2000 to 2006, metro reporter, sports copy editor. Now in Elyria, managing editor of The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria.

WARNER, Stuart. 1979- 1994, 1995-1998, numerous writing and editing positions. Now in Arizona, editor in chief at Phoenix New Times.

WILLARD, Dennis. 1995-2010, Columbus Statehouse Bureau Chief. Now with Precision New Media.

WILLIAMS, Mike. 1968-2012, news intern, ad makeup, IT. Now in Akron, retired.

WILSON, David A., 1996-2006; national desk and copy desk positions. Now in Elyria, copy editor at Chronicle-Telegram.

Later, Peggy Rader posted:

Peggy Rader 
Another update: retired as communications director at Perpich Center for Arts Education on July 31. Freelance writer/editor in a lazy kind of way. Traveling. Reading. Loafing. Email:
Melanie Payne, husband Bill
Another BJ reunion for Arnie

Former BJ deputy Metro editor Arnie Rosenberg is making a habit of reunions with Ol’ Blue Walls expatriates in Florida.

The latest was 1996-2000 BJ reporter Melanie Payne, a columnist for the News-Press in Fort Myers, Florida.

Melanie reports: “A pleasant surprise today when I was in a newsroom in Stuart (FL) and saw Arnie Rosenberg. We managed to recognize each other even though it’s been almost 20 years since we worked together.”
Arnie Rosenberg, wife Fran

In 2016 BJ business writer Betty Lin-Fisher had a reunion with Arnie in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Arnie is editor at Treasure Coast Newspapers, founder/president of The Center for Essay Excellence and is married to Fran Sherman. Arnie and Fran have two children, Amanda and Zach. The Beachwood High School graduate, who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, married a Beachwood gal in Fran. The Ohio University graduate’s other newspaper stops included the Denver Post and the Painesville, Ohio Telegraph.

Melanie is from Wickliffe, Ohio and lives in Fort Myers. She is author of the 2003 book, "Champions, Cheaters and Childhood Dreams: Memories of the Soap Box Derby."

Melanie’s emai: Her phone: (239) 335-0387.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ocker joins baseball-writing gods

Sheldon Ocker, who covered the Indians for 33 years, has been named the 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award chosen by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Sheldon Ocker
Sheldon got 168 of the 426 votes. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jim Reeves was second with 143 votes. Minneapolis writer Patrick Reussee got 113.

Sheldon joins such writing luminaries as Ring Lardner, Grantland Rice, Damon Runyon, Heywood Broun, Shirley Povich, Red Smith, Jim Murray and my late, former Dayton Daily News sports editor/boss, Si Burick. Classy company, Sheldon.

Spink was the late editor of The Sporting News, baseball’s bible.

Sheldon switched from the Cavaliers to the Indians in 1981 when Bob Nold decided he didn’t want to spent his entire spring and summer on the road or in Cleveland.

He will receive the award in Cooperstown, New York during the Baseball Hall of Fame enshrinement weekend July 23-30, 2018.

Sheldon retired from Ol’ Blue Walls after the 2013 season.

He was the national Writers’ Association president in 1985 and Cleveland chapter chair 11 times.

Monday, December 11, 2017

“Furnishing Eternity,” former BJ columnist David Giffels’ latest book, will be available from Amazon January 2 although you can pre-order.

It’s promoted as “a vibrant, heartfelt memoir about confronting mortality, surviving loss, finding resilience in one’s Midwest roots and seeking a father’s wisdom through an unusual woodworking project—constructing his own coffin.”

Yes, David and his father, Tom Giffels, worked on dad’s coffin for several years. And had an ad hoc philosophy class in rural Ohio.

Dave and five centuries of BJ experience left at the same time in 2008.

Dave also has published:

“All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House,” about the 1913 Tudor house that David and wife Gina Giffels bought for $65,000 and renovated a home with six fireplaces, a solarium and a billiards room.

“The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches From the Rust Belt,” about the demise and migration from the rubber capital of America of all those Goodyear, Firestone and Goodrich jobs.

“Are We Not Men? We Are Devo,” about the Ohio rock band. A natural seque since Dave handles guitar and vocals for the local May Company rock band with Dave “Doc” Rich, Pat McNulty and “Friday” Mike Wilkinson.

David and wife Gina have two children, Evan and Lia. David became an English professor at the University of Akron.

Dave will be pushing his book at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 4 at the Akron-Summit main library auditorium in downtown Akron. Three days later, there will be “An Evening With David Giffels” at the downtown Akron main library at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 7.

Here’s an interesting trivia note:

In 2007, Ol’ Blue Walls had the No. 2 AND No. 3 newspaper columnists, according to the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Dave was second, Bob Dyer third. The Hartford Courant’s Susan Campbell was No. 1.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Patty Zimmerman passes away

Patty Zimmerman, once in the BJ Advertising Department, passed away Wednesday, November 29.

Patty was an artist with her paintings in local exhibits.
Patricia Zimmerman

She was married to the late Air Force veteran Wilbert Zimmerman.

Her three daughters graduated from Tallmadge High after the family moved from Akron. Today, they are Julie Ann (Ben) Reuben, Amy (Jake Smith) Larson and Marti (Tim) Lelko.

Patty’s obituary:

Patricia Zimmerman, age 92, passed away November 29. Pat was born in Akron, Ohio, the only child of Louise and Julian Meeks.

She grew up in Stow and graduated from Stow High School in 1943. She attended Syracuse University in New York, majoring in Fine Arts.

She worked at Goodyear Aerospace and General Tire in Akron as a draftsperson. She later worked in the advertising department at the Akron Beacon Journal.

Pat married Stow classmate Wilbert “Zim” Zimmerman in 1947, when he returned from serving in the Air Force. They lived in Akron, where daughters, Julie, Amy and Martha were born. The family moved to Tallmadge, where all three girls graduated from Tallmadge High School.

Pat was a loving daughter, wife and mother, and her life revolved around her family and church, First Congregational Church of Tallmadge, UCC. She taught Sunday school, led Bible Study classes and worked as Coordinator of Christian Education.

Pat was an accomplished artist, showing her paintings in local art exhibits. Pat and Zim celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary in June, 2016. Pat will be remembered for her warmth, generosity, sense of humor, and her devotion to family, friends and God.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Wilbert, and is survived by daughters, Julie Ann (Ben) Reuben, Amy (Jake Smith) Larson, Marti (Tim) Lelko; and granddaughter, Priya (Mike) Reuben-Fall.

The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at The Gables of KentRidge and Clearpath Hospice for their outstanding care and compassion.

Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 8, at Donovan Funeral Home, 17 Southwest Ave., Tallmadge. Memorial service will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, with visitation from 10 to 11 a.m. at First Congregational Church of Tallmadge, UCC, 85 Heritage Dr., Tallmadge, with Pastor Neal Sadler officiating. Interment will be at Stow Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First Congregational Church of Tallmadge or ClearPath Hospice, 475 Wolf Ledges Parkway, Akron, Ohio 44311


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Marv & Joyce Katz, Lisa & Tom Pagel, Susie & Ralph Bobenreith at Lisa’s wedding to Tom
Marv Katz, wife Joyce move again

Marv Katz, who spent time at the Beacon Journal during his 40-year career, and his wife, Joyce Moseley Katz, have moved into a senior living facility in Portland, Oregon.


“I've been spending too much time today on the BJ Alums blog, mostly reading the materials Peggy Rader posted, and reminiscing. Thanks to you both for the memories.

“That said, I discovered that the contact information you have on me is woefully outdated.
"Here's the current info: ; Snailmail--20 SE 103rd Ave., Apt. 301, Portland, OR 97216.

“The address is a senior living facility where Joyce and I moved almost two months ago, when I decided homeownership had become too much and Joyce finally more-or-less agreed.
"The food is good, the other residents are mostly friendly, and daughter Susie, her husband Ralph and our two grandkids live about 20 minutes away. We hope to put our house in Troutdale on the market after the first of the year.

“Thanks for reading and for updating my info. And for keeping up the blog. 

“Best regards, 

“Marv Katz”

Marv and Joyce had two daughters, Dr. Susie Katz Bobenrieth, who lives in Portland, Oregon, with husband Bob Bobenrieth, and Lisa Katz Pagel, who passed away in 2011 in Fort Lewis, Washington.
Lisa left her job at North Carolina-Chapel Hill to join her husband, Major Thomas Pagel, who at that time was stationed in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, then followed him to Fort Lewis. Lisa was a Kent State graduate and 1987 Beacon Journal intern.

BJ veteran reporter Katie Byard had some interesting observations about Lisa:

“This brought back many fond memories of Lisa. She interned -- superbly -- at the Beacon Journal in 1987. Jim and I were dating -- and then married that year -- and counted Lisa among our dearest pals.

“She left the area after graduating from Kent State and worked at the Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia. She then worked for then-Virginia Governor Doug Wilder as a press secretary.

“She did other stuff before meeting the love of her life, Major Thomas Pagel. They married in 2008 and Lisa delved enthusiastically into being a military spouse. I always admired her enthusiasm, flexibility and amazingly positive attitude, which served her well as she battled cancer. I miss her much.”
Marv and Joyce moved from Hendersonville, North Carolina to Troutdale, Oregon in 2013 to be near Susie. Before that, they lived in Rockville, Maryland.

Marv retired in 1998 after a career that included journalism, public relations, freelance writing and PR consulting.
Snell shares Arcanum author spotlight
There are only 2,062 people in Arcanum, which is in Darke County, on the border of Ohio and Indiana.

And yet there are two “famous” authors who were born in and grew up in Arcanum – Linda Coble Castillo and BJ alum Roger Snell.

Roger Snell
Neither is the most famous native of Darke County. That would be Phoebe Ann Mosey, better known as sharpshooter Annie Oakley, who was born in a cabin within two miles of Woodland, now Willowdell, which is 30 miles from Arcanum.

Roger wrote “Root for the Cubs,” which disputes that Babe Ruth actually called the home run against Cubs pitcher Charlie Root, despite the legend.

Linda went from cranking out three or four Harlequin books a year to writing a Kate Burkholder crime thriller series set in Amish country for Berkeley Publishing. One became a movie, “An Amish Murder.”

Arcanum began in 1849. The railroad arrived three years later.

Roger and wife Linda live in Frankfort, Kentucky with daughters Rachel and Hannah.
Roger, who survived immune system attacks on his cerebellum and brain that stopped his breathing when he felt asleep by turning to vitamins, minerals, nutriets and diet, administers a marketing program called Kentucky Proud that helps farmers transition from tobacco to alternative crops such as fruits and vegetables.

The article on Roger published in the Daily Advocate of Greenville, which is 10 miles from Arcanum and also in Darke County:
Arcanum produces another author

By Linda Moody, Greenville Daily Advocate

ARCANUM – Roger Snell, a 1977 Arcanum High School graduate, said he ironically released his second book the same day Linda (Coble) Castillo (a 1978 Arcanum graduate) recently appeared at the Arcanum Public Library, where he worked while going to high school.

“Both of us had Ms. Pallant as our creative writing teacher,” Snell said. “She is mentioned in my book and so is Linda.”

Snell said his memoir book, titled “Love Grandpa,” features Arcanum and Darke and Preble counties.

“Growing up in Arcanum, it mentions a few highlights….dozens of local names and a funny story in the midst of the rubble of his childhood home after the tornado,” Snell said. “As Mike Bevins toured my old bedroom, with no ceiling, insulation hanging everywhere, furniture tossed haphazardly, he said, ‘Looks the same as when you lived here.’ Dad, a long-time Arcanum letter carrier and then well-known at Arcanum Hardware, made national news with his description of the tornado as he stood in the rubble of the only home he ever owned.”

The key point of the book, however, is about his near-death experience in April.

“The book is inspiring, faithful, and covers a career as a reporter who won the Pulitzer while looking for the worst in people,” he said. “But I found the best in people when I became bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was surrounded by people who turned life’s tests into testimony. I devoted my life to changing the world. Instead, this wonderful world changed me.”

“Love, Grandpa,” his latest book, is on sale now.

“It is a memoir and a Christian non-fiction account of what happened when I reached death’s door in April 2017,” he said. “I spent 19 years digging for dirt and finding the worst in people, I learned to see the world differently when I became a bishop for the church. Soon, I was surrounded by faithful and extraordinary members who turned life’s tests into testimony, including my own daughter who lost her son 40 days after birth. I sought to change the world. Instead, this wonderful world changed me. My life transformed from demolition to construction.”

Snell has been writing as early as he can remember.

“I even typed up my own daily newsletter – back when we had typewriters – when I was going to Butler Junior High outside of Arcanum,” he said. “I wrote more than 3,000 stories, mostly investigative, and won the Pulitzer Prize while with the Akron Beacon Journal.”

Snell said his journalism career was inspired by Watergate.

“But my start was because of exceptional teachers at Arcanum High School and Butler Junior High,” he said.

Snell moved to Kentucky in 1998 and runs the ‘dating service’ for Kentucky Proud.

“That’s how one of my bosses described my job as one of the pioneers of the state marketing program helping Kentucky farm families find buyers and markets for their products at Kroger, Walmart, independent grocers, restaurants, and more,” he said. “I wrote both books between 5-6 a.m. each day and full-time on weekends.”

He continued, “I am a lousy missionary and very shy about talking about religion. But after what happened to me at death’s door, I am obligated to get a lot bolder about offering hope, love, and comfort to a troubled and contentious world. My wife grabbed both my hands when I was on my death bed, fell backwards with all of her strength, just to pull me up out of bed and into a wheelchair so I could write 800 to 1,000 words per hour per day. I did 100,000 words in 100 days. This book is the result.”

The 58-year-old author graduated from Ohio State University in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Bob Dyer with father, Big Al Dyer, in Norfolk; Bob's mother, Jane, a figure skating legend

Bob Dyer’s father passes away
Bob Dyer’s father, Big Al – Alvin C. Dyer, Jr. – passed away Tuesday, November 21.
It was the final journey for a guy who saw the world on Navy ships in the Atlantic and Pacific while warding off submarines and then married a national-class figure skater, Jane Schellentrager.
Which, of course, led to their greatest achievement, conceiving the Akron Beacon Journal’s greatest columnist, Bob Dyer, who came from the Wooster Daily Record to brighten Ol’ Blue Walls.
Bob and Brookdale aide Brandy Pryor accompanied his father, Big Al, to the Norfolk, Virginia naval base as part of Brookdale nursing homes’ Wishes of a Lifetime free granting of, well, a wish. For Big Al, who spent World War II in the Navy in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, it was a slam-dunk: He wanted to be on a ship again.
So Big Al and Bob took their Victory Rover boat ride – Big Al’s first in a quarter-century -- while President Trump was dedicating the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford, and, as Bob wrote, “Dad would be close enough to watch Donald Trump’s Marine One helicopter take off from the flight deck.”
To read Bob’s column about his journey with Big Al to the Navy base in Norfolk, Virginia, click on
Bob’s mother was no slouch either. Jane Schellentrager was a figure skater who competed at the national level. She was still dazzling on the ice in the Mid-Western senior pairs with Riki Bliss on a day when Hayes Alan Jenkins was winning the 1947 junior men’s title. Jane and Riki won a silver medal in 1947.
Big Al and Jane were married 36 year when she passed away.
Big Al’s obituary:
Alvin C. Dyer Jr.
Alvin C. Dyer Jr. finished the job on Nov. 21, 2017.
He was 93, an age he never dreamed he would reach.
A retired electrical engineer, Al was a perfectionist who reveled in repairing anything and everything and customizing all sorts of things around the house.
Born in Pittsburgh, he moved to Northeast Ohio during high school when his father, also an electrical engineer, was promoted and transferred to Cleveland.
After graduating from Shaker Heights High School, Al enrolled at Purdue University, but his education was interrupted by World War II. He joined the Navy and served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters before returning to Purdue to finish up.
In 1949, he married fellow Shaker Heights resident Jane Schellentrager, a figure skater who competed at the national level. They were together for 36 years before her passing.
They had two sons, Bob, of Copley, and Bill, of North Royalton, who survive; as do grandchildren, Carrie and Kimmie Dyer and Ryan and Kimberly Steigmeier. His sister, Jane McVay of Twinsburg, preceded him in death.
His sons married Becky Norman of Millersburg and Jeannine Steigmeier of Brooklyn, Ohio.
In later years, Al spent countless hours with a special friend, the late Betty Luthanen, who lost her husband a few years before he lost his wife.
'Big Al,' as his kids called him, spent his entire career with Atlas Car & Manufacturing Co. in Cleveland, where he specialized in designing scale cars for steel mills. He received multiple patents.
During the early years of his career, he would moonlight repairing TV sets.
In his 70s he began to collect and build clocks, everything from enormous grandfather clocks to small wall and desk models.
Until his early 80s, he was still crawling onto the second-story roof to mess with antennas, weather stations and satellite dishes.
His mind remained sharp well into his 90s. Until his last few years, he would watch the TV quiz show 'Jeopardy' almost every night and identify many answers before the contestants did.
Growing up during the Depression had a big impact. He would go to great lengths to avoid overpaying for even small items, sometimes driving several miles out of his way to save a few cents per gallon of gasoline.
He watched Lawrence Welk reruns every week on PBS. He enjoyed music, especially big bands, and had a wonderful singing voice. Although he had no formal training as a musician, he taught himself the harmonica while onboard ship in the Navy, and later enjoyed banging on bongos and noodling around on an electronic organ he built from a kit.
He was a tough guy, fighting until his final breath. But, like so many others in the Greatest Generation, he never boasted about his toughness - or anything else, for that matter.
The family would like to offer special thanks to the beautiful, selfless, loving people at Brookdale Bath. They greatly enriched the last two years of his life.
Donations may be made in Al’s name to Wish of a Lifetime, 110 16th St., Suite 406, Denver, CO. 80202, a charity affiliated with Brookdale that sent him on a wonderful trip to the Norfolk Naval Base in July.
Big Al will be buried next to his wife, and near his parents, during a small private ceremony at Acacia Memorial Park in Mayfield Heights.
He was a good man. He will be missed. He will not be forgotten.