Around Suffield: Honoring Suffield residents who make the community great

Mogadore High School graduates and retired coaches Gino Calcei and Michael Ganitch were honored as the most distinguished Mogadore alumni at the Wildcats’ Homecoming Game against the Southeast Pirates on Oct. 6.

Gino graduated from Mogadore in 1955 and played football under renowned coaches Ned Novell and Walt Evans. Novell and Evans had just returned from World War II and were remembered for being tough and holding high expectations for their players.

Gino was destined for his athletic and sports career beginning with playing Bantam football for the East Akron Corsairs. Attending Mogadore High School, he played football for the Wildcats all four high school years. The Wildcats were undefeated two years in a row in 1953 and 1954. Not only was he a football star, but he also played basketball and baseball.

He went on to attend the University of Akron, where he played football with another Mogadore graduate, Dave Adolph. Together, they were the Zips’ captains their senior year. Gino also lettered in baseball and wrestling for the Zips.

After graduating from Akron, Gino was activated into the United States Air Force. He was deployed to France during the construction of the Berlin Wall. He worked as an aircraft mechanic and was a crew chief for the T-33 jet.

After returning from the service, Gino married Judy Baker, a Suffield gal.

Gino has a long history in education and coaching. He coached at St. Vincent-St. Mary then began his teaching career in Sidney, Ohio, before returning to teach at Rootstown High School. Next, he was at Hoban as athletic director. He then became the associate director of admissions at the College of Wooster. After five years at Wooster, he returned to Suffield and built a house on some farmland owned by former coach Walt Evans.

Gino then served as the head football coach at Field High School for six years before transitioning into an administrative role within the district.

He retired in 2000 and served as an administrator at Maplewood Career Center for five years. His illustrious career spanned 43 years in education.

Gino’s wife, Judy, has also spent 30 years in the education field at Rootstown. Gino and Judy have three children: Steven, Tom and Bethany. All three children are in leadership positions in the township. Gino and Judy also have nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

The end of the story: A Mogadore fellow became a Suffieldite. Thanks, Gino, for your many contributions to both Mogadore and Suffield with your devotion to education, community service, construction work in restoring the Suffield Historical Society building, and your interest in researching area histories, just to mention a few of your many talents.

If you attended this year’s Randolph Fair, we hope you visited the Suffield Township Historical Society’s (STHS) display. The theme was “Ode to the Family Farm.” The exhibit held photos of past and present Suffield family farms:

– The John Weigand Farm on Randolph Road (1935), now the Chester Feller Farm.
– The Aberegg Farm; milk was hauled to the dairy in milk cans.
– The Wise Farm on Waterloo Road.
– Phillip (Fulop) Farm on the corner of Mishler and Manning roads.
– The Ewell Farm and Wingfoot Lake Hatchery, now Duma Deer Processing, on Waterloo Road.
– The Guthier Farm photo showed thrashing at Conley-Trares roads.
– Adolph Farm on Waterloo Road (now Adolph Tree Farm).
– Upson Farm (1930s) on Congress Lake Road; Nicholas, Louise and Anna Upson pictured.
– Rufener Farms, Route 43 & Congress Lake Road and various locations.
– Lewis Swartz Family Farm (1900-1940), now Moxie Stables, north of town on Route 43.
– Walnut Drive Gardens on Randolph Road; William and Pat Saal pictured.
– Arnette Farm near routes 43 and 224.

Along with various farm items, this poem was displayed in the center of the exhibit:

“We play in the dirt
We do our chores
We jump on hay bales
We count the stars
We raise a ltl’ hell
We build good character
We respect the land
We help others
We have faith
We share our blessings
We love one another
We live simply
We grow strong bonds
We establish roots
We spread our wings
– Author unknown

This historical display won a Blue Ribbon for the STHS. President Elizabeth Vence and Treasurer Gayle Rinehart were delighted to have won a blue ribbon for their efforts.

Elizabeth also won a blue ribbon for her home-grown garlic, besting that of her dad, Jack Phillip. Wondering if he taught her how to grow garlic?!?

Happy 101st birthday to Naomi Kapper on Oct. 26. She was our Memorial Day Parade grand marshal this year. Wishing you more birthdays and much health and happiness.

Pauline Persons
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