Trying to capture the essence of a person in a 280-character tweet

Throughout 2021, Canton Repository Staff Writer Tim Botos regularly has tweeted details from obituaries of people in our community.

The Twitter platform only allows for 280 characters, or about 50 words. The tweets focused on unique or beloved qualities of those featured, or the messages they wished to convey.

The Stark County area is full of extraordinary people who lead otherwise ordinary lives. Here is a sample of some of those tweets from 2021. To read all of them, follow Botos on Twitter @tbotosREP.

Goodness and grace:

Terry L. Foss, 73, Massillon. “Mom absorbed the world’s troubles so that her children didn’t have to … never missed a school play, event, or game. It was an impossible standard to beat, but we all tried our best to be there for her like she was for us.”

Diane Lynnea Breit, 67, Hartville, cared for her husband during his battle with Parkinson’s disease for 15 years, and ALS for almost 6 years. “Her background in nursing allowed her to fulfill her promise to him that he would always remain in their home.”

Anne Marie Forberg, 47, Canton. “It’s amazing how someone who never spoke a word taught so many life lessons to her family and to those who surrounded her during her time on Earth … lessons of unconditional love, faith, and trust …”

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Stephen R. Belopotosky, 81, Carrollton. “He gave the best bear hugs, had an infectious laugh and a beautiful smile. He taught us all how to love, deeply and unconditionally.”

They did it their way:

Sandra L. Unklesbay, 76, Canton. “She … enjoyed riding on the back of the motorcycle, crocheting and would be seen crocheting on the back of the motorcycle while cruising down 77.”

Jeanne Lynn Denino, 75, “enjoyed gardening and landscaping, games, puzzles, crafts, doing the Charleston, throwing Chili Parties, storytelling, opinions, voting Democrat, flowers, driving fast, the ocean, traveling; she once rode an elephant in Africa.”

Republic Steel retiree Lee Graytok, 83, who’d moved to Arizona to fulfill his dreams of gold prospecting. “Lee did not wish to have any services and wants his ashes spread on top of a mountain in Arizona. His family will fulfill his wishes.”

Betty J. Byelene, 93, of Canton. “One of the family’s favorite memories of Betty is seeing her, at age 87, ride a 6′ tall Texas Longhorn steer around a corral in Luckenbach, Texas. Such was the spirit of Betty.”

Of talented minds:

Richard “Dick” E. Bower, 90, Louisville. “He was … very proud of the fact that he could recite the alphabet backwards, even after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.”

Gerald (Jerry) Krisher, 88, Massillon. “He remembered every phone number he ever dialed, every address he ever visited, and every box score he ever read.”

Sweet teeth:

Jarl Vernon Plottner, 92, Alliance. “Jerry’s many passions included photography, opera and classical music, astronomy, golf, hard work, a firm handshake, a sip of good whiskey, and Reese’s Pieces candy.”

Richard “Dick” Dysle, 88, of Alliance. “He was known to many as the ‘Candy Man’ because he loved to pass out candy, apples and baked goods to anyone he came in contact with.”

Donald J. Kistler, 89. “He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. And all that knew him knew he always loved a cup of coffee with a handful of jelly beans.

Hard work:

David W. DeHaven, 80, former Lake High principal. “He was the perfect example of the American dream. Raised in an orphanage and then foster care, Dave worked his way through college, met the love of his life, and joined the military.”

Robert J. Crofut, 90, Massillon, “had been employed as a machinist with the Timken Company, retiring after 44 years of dedicated service during which he never missed a day of work!

Philip Lee Bailey, 53, of Canton, owner/operator of Bailey’s Quality Plumbing and Heating. “To some, he was known as Dr. Phil the Plumbologist and to others he was known as ‘Flop.'”

Bernard Neal Snyder, 88, Massillon. “He retired from Roadway in 1994 after decades of accident-free truck driving. He earned the ‘One-Million Miler’ award for his spotless driving record and knew the roads of Stark County like the back of his hand.”

George Lenos, 84, Canton. “He emigrated to the United States alone at the age of 20, learned English, and worked his way from a restaurant linen delivery boy to Certified Executive Chef.”

Famous recipes:

Norma May White, 94, of Canton. “Norma was excellent at making pies and breads. The taste of her homemade spaghetti noodles, pizzellas, and Italian cookies will forever live on, especially her homemade lasagna.”

Mary Jane Wheeler, 78. “She baked a mean cheesecake, always had a batch of hot chocolate chip cookies ready, and had perfected the original Red Cake and ho-ho cake, often baking for friends of friends that had heard about her desserts.”

Dixie Lee Dimos, 78, East Canton. “Her avgolemono soup, German potato salad, rice pudding, and dinner rolls were the absolute best, a legacy for future family generations to enjoy.

Michael A. Carioti, 47. “Michael was an amazing chef and he took great pride in making the Carioti traditional family recipes. We are all going to miss his wedding soup, rice patties, meatballs and chocolate pie.”


Darla J. Begert, 51. “Darla was a strong woman who fought valiantly to overcome her battle with depression. She always encouraged others to join her fight against mental illness; ‘fight till there’s nothing left.'”

Sherri Imler “Fought cancer hard in her lifetime. She was our scrapper. She overcame lymphoma … received a bone marrow transplant … later developed breast cancer that led to brain cancer but she was a fighter and an example of courage and strength.”

The color purple:

Robert W. Mayfield, 95, a Massillon native. “He served honorably in the US Army during the final year of World War II and received both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star medals along with his other service awards.”

Thomas R. Burse, 72. “He was a proud army veteran who earned his Purple Heart in Vietnam.”

Phillip J. Beabout, 76, of Canton, veteran of U.S. Marines. “He was a Corporal (E-4) during the Vietnam Era receiving a purple heart.”

Joseph Charles Wagner, 95, of North Canton. “He served his country during World War II in the United States Marine Corp. As the First Marine Division secured Okinawa, Joe incurred knee wounds from an enemy mortar shell and received a Purple Heart.”

Bernard Paul Ott, 100. “A World War II veteran serving in The United States Army, he received four Bronze Campaign Stars, two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars and a Presidential Citation for Bravery for his service during the Battle of the Bulge.”

Robert (Bob) Richwine Hodge, 97, of North Canton. “Bob was a veteran of World War II and received a Purple Heart for being wounded in combat with the 14th Armored Division.”

Angelo G. Bozeka, 96, died at Canton Regency. “Angelo was a World War II veteran serving in the Marines. He received the Purple Heart after being wounded in the battle at The Island of Okinawa.”

Virgil Muntean, Timken High grad and Army veteran of Korean War. “SSgt Virgil Muntean would receive four Purple Hearts by the war’s end, from frostbite, to being shot, and being hit by a missile. Each time he recovered and returned to combat duty.”

Forrest Earl “Skip” Simmons Jr., 73, of Canton. “Skip served in the U.S. Army as a PFC in the Vietnam Conflict, where he received 2 Purple Hearts.”

William L. Dancy, 87, Marines veteran of Korean War. “He was an artillery forward observer … one of two survivors from an enemy attack on his platoon. He received a Bronze Star for holding off the enemy and a Purple Heart from a shrapnel wound.”

Salih John Siam, 96, Plain Twp., “served in the 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division in WWII, fighting in many battles while being stationed in France, Holland, Belgium, and Germany, receiving a Purple Heart in the Battle of the Bulge.”

Family affair:

Mary Curfman, 98. “The greatest joy in Mary’s life was her family. Sunday dinners were served on white tablecloths with china and home cooked meals.”

Clara Glennon, 92. “Clara was not about big overtures, but a follower of Mother Teresa … It was in each of those small acts; handmade meatballs, sauce made from scratch, the delicate roses on birthday cakes, that her family felt her love so deeply each day.”

Esther Coblentz, 85, Hartville. “Packing her husband’s lunches everyday for 60 years was a highlight in her life … “

Christine Mildred Riley, 95. “Her last words to her children each night were ‘good night, we love you, God loves you too‘; we now say the same to her.”

COVID pandemic:

Timken retiree Robert Reidenbach, 96, and wife, Carolyn, 94, “died within 13 hours of each other from Covid-19 pneumonia,” in Florida. Married for 73 years, “their long-time wish was fulfilled that they would both leave their earthly lives together … “

Russell Louis Miller Jr., 67, Jackson Twp. “Rusty and (wife) Marianne were deeply affected by the dismal failure early on to acknowledge the Covid-19 crisis and to harness the USA’s great wealth of brainpower, technology, and medical/social services …”

Things that make you go hmmmm:

Daniel Joseph Tomsho, 85, Timken High alum. “To his children, he sometimes claimed to have been the valedictorian of the class of 1953, but they were never able to find any solid proof.”

Josephine Caruso Sethi, 66, Central Catholic High grad. “She famously didn’t drink alcohol, but loved bourbon milkshakes (figure that one out)! She loved Vegas, but didn’t gamble… only slots.”

Thelma Imogene Stitz, 95. “Thelma loved playing jokes on people; for example, making frosted styrofoam birthday cakes and handing out empty gum wrappers.”

Robert Isaiah Whitehurst, 96, was the chief executive of Ebony Construction. “Of all the things he made, he was most proud of his 21-foot boat. Due to the years it took for him to complete this project he had affectionately become known as ‘Noah’.

Tonya Nussbaum-Davis, 55, traveling nurse, mom and grandma. “She loved Bahama Mama’s, fast cars and Patrick Swayze movies.”

Glory days:

Everett E. Daniels Jr., 85, Canton. “Ev was a 1954 graduate of Edgewood High School in Pittsburgh, where he was celebrated as the Pennsylvania State Track Champion in the 100 yard dash and the 800 meter relay.”

Leo Mummertz, 88. “He graduated from Navarre High School where he was the baseball pitcher taking them to the state playoffs.” … The 1951 team lost 7-2 in 11 innings, to Lima St. Rose in the Class B state tile game.

Frank G. Ridley, 66, Canton. “Frank was a proud Bulldog graduating from McKinley High School in 1974. He played basketball for one of the most talented teams of basketball players in the state where he was known for his fade-away jump shot.”

Wilbur Paisley, Jr., 75, of Massillon. “Wilbur, also known as ‘The Toe,’ leaves behind a legacy of kicking the winning extra point against Canton McKinley in 1961 to win a State and National Championship for the Massillon Tigers.”

Golf masters:

Richard H. Baker, 92. “He dearly loved to play golf. In 2007 he was the senior champion at Oakwood Country Club. In 2009, again at Oakwood, Dick proudly sank his now famous hole in one on the 8th hole.”

Lawrence (Larry) J. Kobie, 88, of Massillon. “An accomplished athlete, Larry lettered in Basketball, had 2 hole in ones, And bowled a perfect 300 game in league.”

Theodore Dokmanovich, 97, of North Canton, and a native of Aliquippa, Pa. “Theodore was an avid golfer who once beat Arnold Palmer in a Tournament.”

Ronald E. “Ronnie” Murray, 86, of Canton. “In the day, pops was an avid marksman, who won many shooting competitions. He also enjoyed golfing, and even called a hole in one on a par 3 hole at Rolling Greens Golf Course on April 28, 2003.”

William A. Brooks, 75. “He was also an avid golfer over many decades, shooting two holes in one, two double eagles during a single round, and eagles on 7 of 18 holes at one of his favorite courses.”

Anthony Vincent Scarpitti, 89, of Jackson Township. “An avid golfer, he had the distinction of scoring two holes-in-one: one left-handed and one right.”

Doris Redmond Reiter, 90, formerly of Canton. “At Brookside Country Club, she won the women’s singles title in tennis eight times and was club champion in golf three times … In addition, she scored a hole-in-one four times!

The fashion game:

Lois Mary Steinbach, 90, Massillon native. “Lois was the epitome of a fashion icon. Her colorful scarves matched her vibrant personality.”

Calvin Darnell Ellis, 71. “Calvin was always the ‘flyest’ guy in the room, as he would say, ‘a very bad man.’ No matter the season, you could spot him in a sharp suit, with some luxurious alligator-skinned, cowboy boots dressed to the nines.”

Peaceful goodbyes:

Ronald Lazar, 74, Jackson Township, “passed away peacefully Thursday, October 7, 2021 on his 49th Wedding Anniversary, comforted by his loving wife and children.”

Daniel L. Wright, 84, of Carrollton, “passed away unexpectedly doing what he loved – fishing and enjoying the country life!

“It is with the utmost sadness that the family of Ronald A. Milford, age 73, announce that they lost their hero to an unexpected cardiac arrest. Ron was held by his children and heard words of deep gratitude as he entered Heaven.”

 “Mark Thomas Schillig passed away peacefully May 1, 2021 at the age of 61 in the arms of his sister, Bonnie … Mark could sense when a person was sad or hurting. He always had the ability to turn your frown upside down.”

Mary Lou Whitmer, 90, Canton, “passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 2, 2021 in her home with her loving husband of 66 years Warren William Whitmer by her side … He built their house in Canton, which they called home, until the day she left this earth.”

Virginia Lee (Lloyd) DeLong, 84, of East Canton. “She went peacefully with her daughters by her side, holding her hands, and listening to ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘All the way my Savior leads me.'”

Reach Tim at 330-580-8333 or On Twitter: @tbotosREP.