George F. Runner
George F. Runner passed away on September 13, 2019 as a result of a tragic accidental fire at his residence. George was born on November 28, 1946 in Sandusky, Ohio to Dr. Alfred G Runner and Betty L. Runner. George being born on a Thanksgiving day was always reminded by family members for disrupting turkey dinner.
George was a proud graduate of Maumee High School, Class of 1965. During his attendance at Union School Elementary School, George was awarded the MUGS award for being an outstanding student. George, according to friends, was a “teacher’s pet” under the instruction of legendary teacher, Alta Richardson. George never lost his love of Maumee and the quality of life afforded him. On top of his involvement in athletics, scouting, and church activities, George completed the 50 mile challenge that President Kennedy fostered to improve America’s physical fitness. In retrospect, George wished he had not chosen a brutally cold day for his feet.
In George’s younger years, he was an excellent musician focusing on the trombone. During his high school years, he played professionally in a small dance band group with fellow Maumee classmate, George Chapman and John Fedderke. During his one year at the University of Toledo, George was a member of the marching band. George always acknowledged the encouragement and instruction that he received from Maumee band director, Jerry Kiger and Jazz artist, Gene Parker.
George transferred to The Ohio State University where he obtained a bachelors in Arts Degree in Sociology. During his studies, George became involved in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), and successfully completed the program leading to an officers commission in the United States Army. Prior to his entry into the Army and the Vietnam War conflict, George began graduate school at The Ohio State University. George was one of the invited students to become involved in the Disaster Research Center. This involvement led to George being stationed in the Gulf Coast area immediately following the devastating Hurricane Camille. His work and the Disaster Center’s involvement were groundbreaking in assessing the impact of disasters on local communities and the implementation of needed programs and assistance to aid these communities in terms of recovery from disasters.
As a result of his ROTC involvement, George proudly served his country in the United States Army. George was assigned to the 212th MP Company and was eventually deployed to Vietnam. On April 11, 1971, George was honorable discharged from the Army with a ranked First Lieutenant.
It would be remiss not to mention the effect of the Vietnam War on George and other veterans. Only in his last few years did George open up concerning the anguish and pain associated with military combat service. The letters to several fallen soldiers’ families caused great trauma and depression to George as their Commanding Officer. Unfortunately, similar to other Vietnam War Veterans, George was too proud to seek counseling to treat those invisible wounds.
On a brighter note, it cannot be denied that George loved the Ohio State University Buckeyes football and athletics. Attending OSU during the Woody Hates era of National Championships ingrained in George a rabid spirit and devotion to Buckeye traditions. Be it Brutus Buckeye, TBDBITL, Hang on Sloopy or Carmen Ohio. George loved fall Saturdays and Ohio State victories.
Upon his return to civilian life, George enrolled at the University of Toledo Law School earning a Juris Doctor Degree in 1975. His admission to the Ohio Bar enabled him to enter private practice with Attorney, Jude Aubrey. George valued the experience, wisdom, and friendship that Jude provided to George from their collaboration.
Subsequently, George found his true passion in the law when he became an Assistant Lucas County Prosecuting Attorney under the leadership of Anthony Pizza. George was a skilled prosecutor who quickly became a senior Prosecutor entrusted with the most serious cases. The highlight of his career was his successful teaming with Curt Posner to convict the serial rapist killer, Anthony Cook, in the murder of Peter Sawicki. Cook was implicated in at least nine murders in Lucas County. Through the determined efforts and trial skills, the Runner-Posner Team Citizens of Lucas County citizens could rest easy that the scourge of community was finally off the streets and behind bars for the rest of Cook’s natural life. George was also lead attorney in the prosecution of environmental violations that threatened the safety of Lucas County Residents.
In additions to his Lucas County service, George was appointed Waterville Solicitor for over twenty years. George’s legacy in Waterville is forever preserved in the green space area in Waterville, now known as Prairie Trail Park. George, under the guidance and support of, Mayors Charles Peyton and Charles Duck, successfully negotiated terms with developers that preserved the natural beauty and environmentally responsible development of land in Waterville. Unlike current developments, in Waterville, substantial portions of land were guaranteed to be designated to be parks for the people. Numerous attempts by developers to avoid their contractual obligations were always met with strong presentation that prioritized the Citizens interests.
As if George was not busy enough, he also served as Prosecutor for the Village of Whitehouse for a period of years. Also, he served many years as an instructor at Owens Community College, providing legal training for many local police officers.
As previously detailed, George was an high energy, high motivation driven individual. Unfortunately, his later years were severely impaired by the insidious disease rheumatoid arthritis. George bravely fought through numerous surgeries, treatments, medications, and therapies in a valiant effort to stem the tide of this progressive debilitating disease. Ultimately, the disease overwhelmed him and was a significant contributing factor in his untimely death. George, a proud man essentially withdrew from life rather than exposing his disabilities to the outside world. The agonizing pain that never abated, is now being suffered by his family and friends who suffer his loss. George’s pain and suffering is now over.
George was not a perfect man. George was prone to impulsiveness and in temperate poor decisions. Yet, his kindness triumphed over his weaknesses. His service to his country and community will be a perpetual testament to his legacy utterly overwhelming any petty references to his life.
“John 8:7 He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.”
“The faults of our loved ones we write upon the sands, their virtues upon the tablets of love and memory”
George was an unique individual whom affected all those that he met in a positive warm manner. George will be greatly cherished and missed by those whom interacted with him. His memory, sense of humor, kindness, and legacy will live on through those who knew and loved him.
George was preceded in death by his parents and cousin, Karl Sammetinger. He is survived by his brother, Raymond A Runner (Carrie Russell); his cousins, Jack Runner (Connie), Sally Foxx (Ron), William Sammetinger (Sharon), Fritz Sammetinger, Julia Merschman (Leo); special cousins, Tracy Peterson (William), Jack Runner (Stephen); and special friend, Larry Albright and his family. George is also survived by his former wife, Laura Runner-Abodeely.
Visitation will be held from 2-8 P.M. on Thursday, September 19, 2019 at Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home, 501 Conant St., Maumee, Ohio. Burial will be private on Friday, September 20, 2019 at Riverside Cemetery in Maumee, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, memorials for George may be directed to the Maumee Schools Foundation or the Toledo Area Humane Society.