by Jeremy Nobile | Reporter
Tallmadge -- The city recognized five residents for their dedicated service to the community at City Hall last week.
About 70 people sat in on the fourth annual Lifetime Achievement Awards ceremony Nov. 8 where locals Larry Bagnoli, Jack Cooper, Bernie Fuchs, Don Reisig and JoAnn Wood were presented with one of the city's highest honors.
Mayor Dave Kline presented the distinctions to the "very distinguished" group of locals who were recognized for "service to the community" and their efforts for the "greater good" of all Tallmadge.
Bagnoli and his wife, Brenda, who are approaching their 50th anniversary, have been Tallmadge residents for 42 years.
A former football and basketball coach, Bagnoli graduated from mortuary school in the early 1960s and began working in Canton before taking a job at Hennessy Funeral Home in Akron.
A few years alter, Hennessy Bagnoli Funeral Home opened in Tallmadge and sold to a national chain years later. He now works with his son-in-law at Donovan Bagnoli Funeral Home on 339 Southwest Ave.
Bagnoli served as chair of the 1976 Bicentennial Committee and is a recipient the Chamber of Commerce "Citizen of the Year" award in addition to being a long-time member of the Italian American Society of Summit County where he has worked festivals and taken on the role of Santa Claus for children at Weaver Learning Center.
Bagnoli has also been honored on the Tallmadge Athletic High School Boosters "Wall of Fame" for his 32 years of service with Blue Devils football as a coach and equipment manager, among other roles.
Bagnoli thanked his wife, parents and high school coaches in a short and humble acceptance speech.
"I just want to thank everybody for this award because more than one person has helped me get this," he said.
Cooper, a Korean War veteran, and his family have been Tallmadge residents for about 50 years. He and his wife, Flo, have been married 61 years.
Cooper retired from the Akron's Bureau of Engineering in 1982 after 30 years service before working seven years as a construction chief with Guy Chiarappa & Sons Inc. in Cuyahoga Falls and two years with McCoy Associates Inc. in Akron.
As Tallmadge's director of public service from 1992 to 2000, Cooper is credited with overseeing the installation of a multi-million-dollar storm-sewer system, launching the $3 million renovation of West Avenue, creating the city's hike and bike trails and managing the renovation of Tallmadge's city service building and Community Center.
Cooper also helped organize Tallmadge's little league program, coached teams for several years and served as a local Boy Scout troop leader.
Cooper is active with Tallmadge Good Neighbors and was fundamental in securing the organization's current location at the Community Center. He is also active in the Lions Club and with Tallmadge United Methodist Church.
Cooper modestly accepted the award, noting how he felt he was merely doing his job all those years.
"I am truly humbled by this and thank you all very much," he said.
Fuchs, who was stationed in Germany for some time during a two-year stint in the US Army, married his first wife, Ann Van Brimmer, who passed away in 2006, in 1955. He is currently married to his wife, Carol.
Fuchs spent the bulk of his career, about 26 years, with the Valeron Corp., from which he retired in 1999.
His community involvement dates back to the 1960s when he joined Tallmadge Jaycees where he served as both president and secretary. While with the organization, he was recognized as "Young Man of the Year" in 1965 and selected as one of several "Outstanding Young Men in America" in 1967.
He also served as a board member with the Tallmadge YMCA from '67 to '72 and was a trustee with the Tallmadge Business and Industrial Development Commission from '72 to '78.
According to Fuchs' Lifetime Achievement Award proclamation, his governmental involvement is "without precedence." Some groups Fuchs has served in the past at varying times include the Board of Zoning Appeals (four years), City Council (two years), Planning and Zoning Commission (18 years) and Civil Service Commission (11 years). He retired this year.
Fuchs was named a Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen in 2007. He remains active in Tallmadge Rotary and continues volunteering with Mobile Meals and the Hunger Food Center.
Fuchs was unable to attend the Nov. 8 award ceremony.
Reisig -- who studied woodworking at West Technical High School and apprenticed with Forest City Enterprises Inc. while attending Max Hayes Vocational School, was recently recognized by Summit County Historical Society with the Ruth Wright Clinefelter Award for a lifetime of preservation work.
As the award suggests, Reisig has dedicated his life to craftsmanship and preservation in woodworking. His company of 33 years, Reisig Restorations Inc., specialized in proper historical preservation using National Trust guidelines. He still works occasionally as a consultant on historic preservation.
He and his wife, Joan, live in Tallmadge's only private residential structure to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The house is located on East Avenue.
Reisig is best known for moving and renovating four century houses, including one built in 1835 that received the Summit County Architectural Award in 1983.
Locally, Reisig has done historic restorations at the Henry Bierce Co. on Southeast Avenue, the former Bumpas Drug and Emporium building located between South and Southeast Avenues in a plaza now known as Bumpas Commons and the chapel in the Old Tallmadge Cemetery, among other projects in Tallmadge and throughout the county.
Reisig remains active in the Tallmadge Historical Society and is credited with raising funds to build the Tallmadge Town Hall Museum located in Old Town Hall on Tallmadge Circle. Reisig also maintains the city's classic 1947 Mack Fire Truck, which can be seen frequently at city events.
Reisig recapped how he and his wife came to settle in their historic Tallmadge home instead of a house in Kent by a matter of chance while traveling through area, adding that he and Joan had "another realtor upstairs."
"We've been very fortunate to be living in Tallmadge. It's a very warm community," he said. "It's just been so great."
A 1948 Tallmadge High School graduate, Wood has been married to her husband, Dick, since 1951.
She served as treasurer of the Tallmadge High School Alumni Association for 20 years and still keeps her graduating class together with various activities including the annual 1948 picnic at her home.
Wood has been extremely active throughout her life in the First Congregational Church of Tallmadge, where she has served on the Board of Deacons, the Treasurer of the Women's Fellowship Group, the Funeral Dinner Committee and serves communion and numerous meals for church activities.
She also sings in the choir, cleans and mends choir robes and helps make costumes for the Children's Christmas Pageant.
Among a slew of other groups she is involved in, Wood has held the highest positions with the Dames of Malta, makes pinkie puppets for Children's Hospital and volunteers with Mobile Meals and E.J. Thomas Children's Concerts. She has also been a Girl Scout, 4-H leader, bowling coach, and is a founding member of the Tallmadge Dynamics Theater where she has participated in every play since the group's formation.
Wood is a lifelong member of Tallmadge Grange, the Pomona Grange, is a delegate to the State Grange and a member of the National Grange.
Wood accepted her award with a beaming smile and a short speech.
"I'm just a people person," she said matter-of-factly. "I do it all for the people. That's what I do best."
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