Richard D. Viebranz Sr. 1930-2018

WINDHAM — Richard D. Viebranz Sr., 87, passed away peacefully Thursday, March 1, 2018, at Gardens of Western Reserve in Streetsboro, where he was surrounded in the days leading up to his death by his loving family and friends.

He was born July 19, 1930, in Ravenna, to Harold W. and Edna Roosa Viebranz.

Richard, or “Dick,” as he was known to all, graduated from Ravenna High School in 1948, and attended Youngstown University before joining the Navy, where he spent time in the Pacific. He then worked in the personnel department at the Ravenna Arsenal, where he met, fell in love with and, on Nov. 14, 1953, married Suzanne Clark. His wife passed away on Nov. 27, 2017.

Dick, who worked for Chrysler Corp. for 37 years, spent his early years in Ravenna and made Windham his home for more than 60 years.

Dick dedicated more than 40 years to helping the youth of Windham, Portage County and the state of Ohio, both inside boardrooms and on ball fields. He was a proud member of the Windham Exempted Village School District Board of Education for 26 years, serving several terms as president. He also served on the board of the Maplewood Career Center for 23 years, including several terms as president there, as well.

Dick held various offices in youth baseball programs at the local, district and state levels.

He started the Windham Hot Stove Baseball Association in 1967, with Dick Sands, and later founded the Windham Girls’ Softball Association, and served as coach of the village’s first-ever girls’ fast-pitch softball team. Any youngster who put on a ball glove, picked up a wooden bat and roamed the dusty ball fields of Windham benefited from Dick’s dedication to youth.

Over the years, it wasn’t unusual for “Mr. Dick” or “Papa” — as many of his players affectionately called him — to reach into his own pocket to purchase ball gloves, spikes and even meals for “his kids,” along with countless rides to and from practices and games.

When he wasn’t coaching, Dick often could still be found on a dusty ball field somewhere, as he was an umpire for both baseball, for 23 years, and softball, for 15 years. He even found time to umpire Kent State University baseball games.

He was one of the go-to people for all questions baseball, serving over the years as president, vice president and rules instructor for the Portage County High School Umpires Association.

Dick was elected to the Windham High School Hall of Fame in 2001, as an honorary inductee for his countless years of sacrifice and service to the community and the school system. He also was elected to the Ohio School Board Association’s All-Regional Board in 1987 for “unselfish and exemplary service.”

One of the highlights of his life’s passion of working with youth was when he received the Ohio Hot Stove Association’s prestigious Cy Butler Award in 1992. Dick coached and taught life lessons to more boys and girls throughout the decades than anyone could remember. He guided the 1970 F League, 13 to 14-year-old boys, to an Ohio Hot Stove state championship, just three years after leading his 1967 H League, 9 to 10-year-olds, to the Hot Stove state runners-up trophy.

Dick was also an active member of the Windham Lions Club for many years and the American Red Cross recognized him for his blood contributions over the decades.

Dick is survived by his and Suz’s four children, Kimberly S. (Jerry) Kiser, Richard D. (Judy) Viebranz Jr., Laura J. Stanley (David) Samaniego and Melissa R. (David) Roubic; 15 grandchildren, Amy Kiser Dickey, Scott Kiser, Tracy Viebranz, Paul Hedge, John Viebranz, Ricky Viebranz, Megan Viebranz Fisher, Jacob Viebranz, Adam Stanley, Bryan Stanley, Kyle Stanley, Jodi Stanley, Alexandra Roubic, Toren Roubic and Kennedy Roubic; several great-grandchildren; and siblings, Elinor Hopkins, Shirley Biles and Don (Bonnie) Viebranz and brother-in-law, Sherald “Red” Postlethwaite.

Dick was preceded in death by his loving wife; his parents; sister, Ruth Postlethwaite; brothers-in-law, Tim Hopkins and Bob Biles; and son-in-law, Jeffrey L. Stanley.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made, in Dick’s name, to the “Dick Viebranz Youth Scholarship” at Cortland Banks.

Visitation will be 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 4, 2018, at Mallory-DeHaven-Carlson Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 8382 Center St., Garrettsville, Ohio 44231, where funeral services will follow at 4 pm. Burial will be held in Windham Township Cemetery.

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