ExploreMiddletown great, first Black basketball player at Miami dies
While at Miami, Barnette led the team to the 1954-55 Mid-American Conference championship. The following season, he earned first-team all-MAC and honorable mention all-American honors. He was the first from his family to attend college, according to his nephew, Duane Barnette.
Tom Blake, a well-known athlete, successful businessman and politician, died Sept. 29. He was 93.
ExploreFormer Middletown councilman, successful steel business owner dies at 93
Blake, the owner of Blake Steel who served three terms on Middletown City Commission, chaired the commission from 1976-81 and volunteered on numerous boards.
Blake graduated in 1945 from Middletown High School. After high school, Blake, an offensive tackle, attended the University of Tennessee and graduated in 1949 from the University of Cincinnati, which inducted him into its Athletic Hall of Fame. He’s also a member of the MHS Athletic Hall of Fame.
LaFayette Bronston, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, died Oct. 30 at his Middletown home after a lengthy bout with dementia, said his wife Dora. He was 72.
A staff sergeant in the Marines, Bronston earned three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star during his three Vietnam tours. He was the driving force behind Middletown being declared a Purple Heart City, his wife said.
ExploreThree-time Purple Heart recipient, Middletown Vietnam veteran dies at 72
Bronston was part of the 1st Battalion 9th Marines that during the Vietnam War sustained the highest casualty rate in Marine Corps history. This earned them the nickname “The Walking Dead.”
Archie Cheesman, 59, of Hamilton, was killed Feb. 2 while he was a church bus that was involved in a two-vehicle crash at Dixie Highway and Manchester Road in Franklin Twp.
“It’s the worst nightmare that a pastor with a bus ministry could have,” said Pastor Mark Crider of the Franklin Church, 704 S. River St., which is affiliated with the Church of God.
He said Cheesman “had an amazing heart” and had “great sense of humor.”
“We’re still stunned,” Crider said. “This was a huge part of the church.”
Cheesman served as Serving Homeless Alternate Lodging Of Middletown (SHALOM), a church-based homeless shelter coordinator at Franklin Church of God.
An Oxford woman was remembered as a mother who stayed home to raise her three children, became a successful Realtor and businesswoman, and remained devoted to her family, friends and church.
“An incredible woman,” Jim Clawson said of his mother, Barbara Clawson, who died Sept. 25. She was 89.
Clawson said his mother served as secretary at Oxford United Methodist Church and typed accounting principles textbooks for a Miami University professor.
Then in 1982, at the age of 51, Clawson earned her driver’s license and real estate license in the same week. She cleaned out an old rusted station wagon and used it to show homes to clients to become Oxford’s leading Realtor for many years to come, her son said.
She was a member of the Oxford Chamber of Commerce and received the Citizen of the Year Award.
Wilbur Cohen was remembered as a caring family man, a sharp businessman and an unwavering philanthropist.
The long-time chairman of Middletown, Ohio-based Cohen Recycling died Feb. 28. He was 96. Hundreds of people turned out for his visitation and funeral at Adath Israel Congregation in Hamilton County’s Amberley Village.
ExploreWilbur Cohen remembered for dedication to family, support of Middletown
Eulogizing his father, Ken Cohen said the crowd that turned out for the funeral was “an overwhelming response.” He said he could speak for hours about his father’s impact on his life, but it would be “impossible to encapsulate” into a short eulogy.
Former Fairfield Mayor Ron D’Epifanio died Jan. 21. He was 78.
He was a Marine, former two-term mayor, avid Ohio State fan, faithful Republican, business owner, long-time youth football coach and ordained minister so he could marry couples, his family and friends said.
He was in the third year of a third four-year Fairfield City Council term when he died following a brief illness.
Explore‘King of Fairfield’ D’Epifanio remembered for work, passions and friendship
Ron Diver, who served 28 years as a member of the Carlisle Board of Education, died April 4. He was 81.
He died suddenly while doing something he loved doing — working on the family farm in Madison Twp. with his eldest of six grandchildren, Wesley, his family said.
A direct descendant of Middletown’s founders Daniel Doty and Stephen Vail, Diver was born at Middletown Hospital on July 26, 1938.
Norman M. Hayes, a former Middletown school superintendent and community leader, died Nov. 14. He was 85.
Hayes spent 31 years with the former Middletown/Monroe Consolidated Schools. He started as a teacher at Lemon-Monroe High School, then progressed through administrative positions in the district and retired as superintendent of Middletown City Schools.
Linda Kimble, who served as executive director of Serve City, a homeless shelter and food pantry in Hamilton, died June 28 after battling a long-term illness. She was 59.
Under her leadership, 622 East Ave. was transformed into a ministry hub to serve the community through the Lord’s Cupboard Food Pantry, CHOSEN Homeless Shelter and a clothing and household items boutique. She led efforts to expand the work of Serve City’s ministry to provide permanent housing for those transitioning from homelessness through the apartments.
Joseph L. Marcum, who started as an underwriting trainee at Ohio Casualty and rose to its president and CEO — and who with wife Sarah donated $3.5 million to make Marcum Park possible — died Sept. 5. He was 97.
ExploreJoe Marcum, Hamilton corporate giant and donor to Marcum Park, dies at 97
Marcum was a founding member of the Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton and also a founding member of the Senior Citizens organization, now known as Partners in Prime. He also served on the boards of the Hamilton Community Foundation, Lane Libraries, Fort Hamilton Hospital, United Way, Fitton Center and TVHamilton.
One of Hamilton’s most accomplished amateur golfers and businessmen died June 29. Joseph F. Miller Jr., a member of two sports halls of fame, was 84.
Miller was co-owner of Miller Buick Auto Sales, a successful car dealership located in downtown Hamilton for many years, his family said.
“My dad was a role model, a father who was always there for me,” said Jodie Baga, one of his two daughters. “He showed us how to be good parents. If anyone needed anything, dad was the first to say, ‘They can stay with us. How much do they need?’”
He won four City of Hamilton Golf Championships and was runner-up seven times. He also won 19 golfing titles at Elks Country Club. He’s a member of the Badin High School Sports Hall of Fame and the Butler County Sport Hall of Fame.
The face of the Middletown Journal’s sports department for more than six decades died Oct. 30.
Jerry Nardiello, who worked as sports writer, sports editor and sports editor emeritus at The Journal for 61 years, died at Hospice Care of Butler and Warren Counties. He was 97.
ExploreLongtime Journal editor, ‘an icon’ of local sports, dies at 97
A Word War II veteran, Nardiello was hired at the Journal on Aug. 10, 1947 and planned to get six months experience, then find another job. He never left.
Dr. Dick Nisbet
Dr. Dick Nisbet, described as one of Middletown High School’s biggest athletic boosters, was remembered by the school’s greatest athlete following his death.
Jerry Lucas, who led the Middies to a 76-game winning streak and back-to-back boys basketball state championships, said of Nisbet: “No finer person ever walked on earth. He was the most special man I ever knew.”
ExploreLongtime Middletown eye doctor, giant of Middie sports support dies at 98
Nisbet, who opened his ophthalmology practice in 1950, died May 25 in his Middletown home. He was 98.
Judge Patricia Oney
Longtime Butler County Judge Patricia Oney was remembered as a trailblazer, mentor, gardener and animal lover with a great sense of humor following her death March 2. She was 77.
ExploreLongtime Butler County judge remembered as trailblazer, mentor
Oney, who retired as a judge in 2016, began practicing law in 1975, at a time when few women were in the profession. In 1993, she became Butler County Area I Court Judge. In 1999, she became Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge as the first woman to take the bench in the general division.
She began her legal career as an assistant public defender in Montgomery County, then moved on to private practice for 20 years in Butler County.
Lori Rich, a Hamilton teacher, had a loving heart for children and abandoned animals, her family said.
Rich, a pre-kindergarten teacher at the city’s Colonial School, died Oct. 5 after contracting the coronavirus. She was 57.
Rich was a Hamilton native and graduate of the city’s high school who had worked at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts before her 23-year career at Colonial.
Rich’s mother also died from the coronavirus in August.
“She had an undying, maternal instinct and she loved taking care of children and animals,” said Lori’s husband Bruce Rich.
Dr. Harvey Weinstein
Dr. Harvey Weinstein, a longtime Middletown dentist who died Aug. 3, was called “the kindest man ever” by his daughter.
“He always gave more than he took,” Vicki Verkley, 58, said. “He always left a place better than when he got there.”
Dr. Harvey Weinstein, a longtime Middletown dentist, died Aug. 3. He was 82.
Lori Rich, a 23-year veteran teacher at Hamilton’s Colonial School, died recently after battling coronavirus. The 57-year-old instructor leaves a loving legacy of caring for both young children and homeless pets. (Provided PhotoJournal-News)
Dorielis Reyes, 9, a fourth grader at Wildwood Elementary School in Middletown, died Wednesday after months at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Her ailments were called a medical mystery by local doctors and other physicians around the world were consulted. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Butler County Common Pleas Judge Patricia Oney, shown Thursday, Aug. 9 inside her courtroom, bars jurors from watching Court TV and popular fictional crime shows, including “CSI.” Staff Photo by Gary Stelzer
Former longtime Middletown Journal sports editor Jerry Nardiello, who turns 90 Nov. 11.
Joseph F. Miller Jr., a Hamilton businessman and accomplished golfer, died this week. He was 84. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller and Joe Marcum share a laugh during the dedication of Marcum Park in downtown Hamilton Saturday, May 6, 2017. E.L. HUBBARD / CONTRIBUTED
Jim Farquis, a standout basketball and football player at Hamilton Catholic High School, died Sept. 3 at Hamilton Hospice. SUBMITTED
Former Marine and Monroe High School graduate (2003) Adam Enz
Fairfield Mayor Ron D’Epifanio