Thomas R. Koba, 61, Berlin Heights, died early Saturday, May 19, 2007, of complications from an existing heart condition in Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Norwalk.
Tom, a Civil War buff and filmmaker, produced more than twelve feature documentaries. He graduated from Admiral King high school, Lorain, and was awarded a bachelor of fine arts in film studies from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
He is survived by his long-term companion and business partner, Jennifer Wertz; children, Thomas M. (Karen) Koba of Huron, Sarah (Shawn) Lewis of Florida and Michael and Liz Koba of Norwalk; grandchildren, Andrew and Jacob Koba and Mathew and Megan Lewis; and sister, Kathy Dodson of North Fairfield.
He will be missed by close friends, John "Tim" Meister, Taylor Hart, Ray Grubic and former college roommates, Dr. James Janson and Denny "Dennis" Dormody.
Koba's interest in movies and filmmaking began with home movie 8mm one-reelers in the 20th Street Lorain neighborhood where he grew up in the late 50s. His late parents, Laurline (Kern) and Felix, encouraged his movie making enthusiasm and made the Koba household from attic to basement available 'sets' for his mini 'Hollywood' epics.
While attending Admiral King High School, with the help of his fellow high school students, Koba produced and directed "The True Glory", a 16mm, WW II era feature-length film. It premiered at the Dreamland Theatre in downtown Lorain. It was a rousing success for the young filmmaker.
After completing film studies at Ohio University, Tom taught at Norwalk Middle School and conducted a course in photography at BGSU, Firelands. Later he started an ad agency, Koba & Co. Productions, producing TV and radio commercials, print advertising campaigns and industrial-training videos. Koba produced two documentaries on Ohio born poets. They aired on PBS.
In 2004, he premiered "One Saturday Afternoon," a documentary about the tornado that devastated Lorain and Sandusky in 1924. He toured local libraries and civic organizations showing the film to rave revues. The film contained some chilling interviews with local eyewitnesses to the disaster. He was a trustee of Friends and Descendants of Johnson's Island, a former trustee of Johnson's Island Preservation Society and a member of the Firelands Civil War Roundtable.
A Civil War buff, Koba produced "Buckeye Blue," a look at Ohio's role in the Civil War; "Rebel Fire, Yankee Ice," retracing the historic events of Johnson's Island; "Hotel Victory," a nostalgic view of Lake Erie's grand lady hotel; and "Sweet Water Lady," the Marblehead Lighthouse story.
Koba had a quick sense of humor and a loving creative spirit. He will live forever in our hearts.
Friends may call from 11 a.m. Wednesday until funeral services at 1 p.m. in Toft Funeral Home & Crematory, 2001 Columbus Ave., Sandusky. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery, Berlin Heights.
Memorial contributions may be made to Back to the Wild, P.O. Box 423, Castalia, OH, 44824.
Condolences may be made to toftfh.com.