Surrounded by family, Joseph Edward Humphrey of Mansfield, Ohio, passed away peacefully on December 10, 2020, following an extended illness.
He was born to parents Robert and Ruth (Miller) Humphrey in New Lexington, Ohio, on April 27, 1935. The third of six children, Joe graduated in 1953 from West High School in Columbus, Ohio. Joe had a myriad of jobs growing up - from setting pins at the local bowling alley to cleaning up the nearby pool halls before heading off to school, his industrious nature was self-evident at an early age. So, too, were his tremendous bowling skills. As early as his teenage years, Joe became an accomplished bowler, scoring over 800 multiple times and participating in many national bowling tournaments. After high school, Joe’s bowling skills helped him land a job at Jeager Machine Co. as they were looking to upgrade the talent on their top flight bowling team.
Joe also trained as an Army Reservist before admittance into the Ohio Highway Patrol Academy in 1956. On his path to becoming an Ohio State Highway Patrolman, he was trained to show compassion, respect and professionalism every day - traits that he held closely throughout his life. He loved sharing his stories from his patrol days and made many great friends during that time.
It was during his highway patrol days that he met the woman of his dreams who would become his wife, Edith Black. Joe settled in Mansfield and married Edith in 1963. They enjoyed 57 years of marriage and Joe was always quick to espouse his love for Edie to anyone who would listen.
For 15 years following marriage, Joe managed the Lantz Mills on State Route 13. It was here that Joe's unwavering kindness was on regular display. He would often help farmers who couldn't pay for their goods to continue to feed their livestock by extending credit far beyond traditional limits. His benevolent nature, disarming charm, and warm, caring demeanor were pillars of his personality that any who had met Joe would attest.
In 1979, Joe took over management of the bar operations of Clear Fork Ski Lodge in Butler, Ohio, helping to optimize operations amid a challenging economic environment until the ski area was shuddered in 2006. His many friendships from Clear Fork resulted in a number of wonderful ski trips to upstate New York, and Joe skied well into his 70's.
While Joe enjoyed sport (especially his beloved OSU Buckeyes), he truly excelled as both a skilled storyteller and gamesman. He would often “hold court” with all around him riveted in rapt attention to his many colorful anecdotes. He also relished the opportunity to beat overconfident players in a game of pool - a habit he maintained well into his senior years. Joe also enjoyed the card games and camaraderie that lingered after the planned activities of the day had ended. Particularly cherished were his weekly card games (euchre or gin) with his long time card playing buddies. Joe loved the card player’s quote “If you can’t spot the sucker, look in the mirror.” He was usually the one leaving the table with more than he came with. The Silver Fox had won again!
Joe later became an avid bicyclist, riding many times in the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure and Cycle Oregon with Edie while in his 60's and 70's. On those bike trips he’d often play some of his favorite classic country songs from singers like George Jones, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash, and would be sure to include an Elvis Presley song or two to share with friends.
Also among his many hobbies over the years, Joe became a trained pilot, flying and talking shop with his fellow aviators out of Lahm airport. He also loved spending time with his many friends who were members of Hermits, 51 Club, Our Club, and Westbrook Country Club.
His most prized accomplishment, aside from bringing up three wonderful children with Edie, was the work he spearheaded during his many years as President of the Board at Friendly House. Joe was tireless in his efforts to raise money and give time, energy and financial assistance that funded capital efforts and sustained many meaningful programs that served the Friendly House community. The Friendly House remained important to Joe up until his death - making a greater good for the city in which he spent so much of his life.
In later years, Joe enjoyed travelling with both friends and family, visiting Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, often taking river cruises that would allow passengers to get an intimate look at small-town Europe. But, it was Sea Pines Plantation on South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island that held a truly special place in his heart and Edie & Joe regularly vacationed there with family and friends.
Joe's family will always be thankful for his playful, easygoing nature, ever-present encouragement, and subtle sentimentality that always captured a poignant moment with just the right perspective.
Joe is preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Ruth, brother James, and sisters Beverly Knopic and Patricia Frye. Joe is survived by his wife, Edith, his sisters Anita Fister and Chris Baker, his children, Scott (Lisa) Humphrey, Joanne Humphrey, and Lynn (Will) Timmons, his seven grandchildren (Sarah, Elizabeth, Ryan, Claire, Leah, Christopher and John), his close friends and brothers-in-law David (Gretchen) Black and Gordon (Agnes) Black, and many very dear friends.
A private service for the family is being planned with a memorial to be held at a later date, post-pandemic. The family asks that you keep your favorite memories of Joe close so that you can share them when he is memorialized appropriately. Until then, know that, while Joe has passed on from us, he is undoubtedly sharing a drink and a wonderful story with his friends and family who have passed before him - with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face!
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in support of The Friendly House in Mansfield.
The Diamond Street Home of Wappner Funeral Directors is honored to serve the Humphrey family.
Words of comfort may be expressed to the family at www.wappner.com.