Joe Rutherford Obituary (1933 – 2021) – Toledo, OH

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(News post)
By Mark Zaborney
Blade author

Joe Rutherford, a teacher, administrator, and retired advisor and board member, made education his main focus, died Wednesday at StoryPoint Waterville. He was 88.

His wife Cece said he had dementia and cardiovascular disease.

Mr. Rutherford was appointed to the board of directors of the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West in 2001 and was later elected and re-elected to that board, from which he resigned in December 2018.

“He’s been a dedicated board member and has served as president and vice president several times,” said Sandra Frisch, who became Lake Erie West superintendent in late 2005. “Joe absolutely loved people, and he was focused and engaged in education.” believed the mission was all about the students, and making sure we were all thoughtful and careful as we developed programs and introduced learning in the classrooms. “

He was serious about his work on the board, said James Telb, who joined in 2013 after Mr. Rutherford hired him to fill a vacancy.

“He never missed any meetings,” said Mr. Telb, a former Lucas County sheriff. “And he coached me in my first year there – when I should say something and when not.

“He was very sociable. He didn’t slow down at all, no matter how old he was,” said Mr Telb. “He was sociable and he nicknamed everyone. He was a friend of everyone.”

Mr. Rutherford, formerly of South Toledo, represented Lake Erie West on the board of directors of the Penta Career Center. He was also a founding member of the Toledo School for the Arts.

Mr. Rutherford was hired by then Superintendent Frank Dick as the administrator of Toledo Public Schools in the late 1960s. He worked for the next five superintendents and retired in the early 1990s. He became the director of the district’s legislative services and campaigned for legislation – and funding – in Columbus and Washington.

Legislators trusted Mr Rutherford, said his wife, a retired Start High School art teacher.

“I’ve heard that many times over the years,” said his wife. “They knew whatever he was supporting for Toledo, they trusted that he knew what he was talking about. He was a total straight shooter.”

Mr. Rutherford worked for years as a retired advisor to the schools of Toledo and other counties.

Joseph William Rutherford IV was born on July 31, 1933, the youngest of 10 children to Mary and Albert Rutherford. He grew up on Clark Street in East Toledo and graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1951.

He reported to the Marines and his service in the States included serving as a drill instructor. After six years in the Marine Corps Reserve, he was discharged as a staff sergeant. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in pedagogy from the University of Toledo, as well as a Certificate of Education Specialist in Administration.

He was a math teacher at Lyons-Chesterfield High School in Fulton and Lucas Counties and Libbey High School in Toledo. In 1964 he became principal of Lyons-Chesterfield High. Two years later he became superintendent of the Spencer-Sharples District in western Lucas County. The district, burdened with debt and inadequate tax base, was incorporated into the Toledo system in 1968.

Mr. Rutherford served on the Policy and Legislation Committee of the American Association of School Administrators and on the board of directors of North Central Educational Laboratories.

He was a past president of the Toledo Council of Catholic Young Adults and the Lucas County Young Democratic Club. He later served on the Central Catholic Schools Committee and on the board of directors of the Toledo Opera Association. He practiced physical fitness and was a runner until the 1970s.

“Everything that concerned other people was something he wanted to be a part of,” said his wife. “When he came into a room, you knew it. He was the center of activity and fun.”

One son, James Rutherford, died on July 8, 2019.

His wife, the former Cecilia Kaminski, whom he married on November 21, 1964, survived; Son, Joseph Rutherford; Daughter Lynne Gardner; Brother Charles Rutherford and 11 grandsons.

The tour takes place on Mondays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Coyle Funeral Home, where a service begins at 6:30 p.m. A memorial service begins Tuesday at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Church, where guests will be greeted after 10:30 p.m.

The family proposes a tribute to the Rutherford Family Scholarship Fund for Waite High School through the Toledo Community Foundation; Central Catholic High School or St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Church where he was a member.

This is a message from Mark Zaborney. He can be reached at [email protected]

Published by The Blade on August 15, 2021.