By MATT WESTERHOLD, Managing editor, Sandusky Register
No man is perfect, but some are so genuine that everyone seems drawn to them. Jep Bloor and Fred Deering were genuine men.
Bloor, 49, a Sandusky Register employee for the past 22 years, died March 15, during a ski trip with his family.
His death is so personal for us. Everyone at the Register liked Jep; everyone, I think, who had an opportunity to know him, liked him. Losing Jep makes me realize we not only liked him, we loved him.
When Jep Bloor would ask, "How are you?" he really wanted to know, if you wanted to share. He was like warm sunshine offering his keen sense of humor, his intellect and his compassion in any situation.
Jep would share with anyone who asked the story of the first time he saw his wife Lisa; how she was driving a VW; and how he fell in love with her more than two decades ago. He and Lisa were still living that love story to the moment Jep passed away.
At his funeral Thursday, the pastor of The Chapel talked a bit about that, about the last run down the mountain that Jep and Lisa shared on their ski trip, and how they looked back up and could see the tracks they left together in the snow. He died shortly after that run.
When someone dies before we're ready for death the usual platitudes get spoken about how you must live life to the fullest every day because there's no guarantee of tomorrow.
It's difficult to understand why Jep is gone at such a young age, but maybe the lesson is to live love every day; to move beyond the daily conflicts that get in our way and remember to just be loving toward each other, every day. To be loving, the way Jep Bloor always was.
The news of Fred Deering's passing was less shocking. Deering, 86, died Tuesday after a short illness, and a full life.
There is perhaps no man who had more impact on the northern part of Ohio than Fred Deering. With business in Cleveland this week, I drove on Ohio 2 and thought about how many times I've been on that highway over the years.
The portions of Ohio 2 that connect Sandusky to Cleveland and points west would never have been built if Deering had not fought for the funding -- the tax money -- to do that so many years ago as a powerful member of the Ohio Legislature.
Deering lived life to the fullest every day and never stopped working for the greater good. He served as a Perkins Township trustee, an Erie County commissioner, a state representative and an Erie MetroParks commissioner during his 51-year career as a public servant. He was responsible for more than 80 bills or amendments that became law, including many conservation laws that serve to protect the environment.
He also was a teacher who offered lowly newspaper editors his wisdom. Fred helped me understand, among other things, the rightness of the "tax-and-spend" philosophy he never backed away from despite the demonization of that phrase on the political battlefield. There was nothing wrong about taxing residents, Deering would say, as long as the money raised was wisely spent to improve the quality of life for all Ohioans.
In my mind, Fred Deering was the last of the great leaders of the once-proud Democratic Party in the state of Ohio. He was not a partisan; he was a man who carefully and thoroughly researched the issues before taking a stand and fighting for it. And he always fought the good fight regardless of which way the wind was blowing on the political front.