June 29, 2016

Partly cloudy

Lodi’s quiet leader

LODI — Thomas Longsdorf, who served two terms as the village’s mayor, died Monday after suffering a heart attack. He was 65.

Longsdorf, a lifelong resident of Lodi, also was a member of Village Council for 10 years.

“He was a Council member for several years and then he was mayor,” Clerk/Treasurer Annette Geissman said. “He really did a lot of work through the Chamber of Commerce and was heavily involved in the Sweet Corn Festival.”

Longsdorf grew up on his family’s farm near Cloverleaf High School, from which he graduated in 1962. After spending a few years at The Ohio State University, he was drafted in 1965 and served two years in the Army.

His widow, Marylyn, said living and working on a farm as a child gave Tom the work ethic for which he was well-known.

“He was raised on a farm and a very hard worker,” she said. “Nothing was too hard for Tom. He was a very practical person and had a lot of common sense.”

Yvonne Sivard, who has planned the Sweet Corn Festival for the last four years, saw Longsdorf’s unrelenting work ethic when he helped organize the annual festival.

A self-employed electrician, Longsdorf donated countless hours doing electrical work for the festival, she said. But his work didn’t end there. Whether it was husking corn or cleaning up when the festival ended, no work was beneath him, she said.

“Typically, we’d start setting up the Monday before the festival, and he would be there Monday through Sunday, morning to night,” she said. “He’s been a huge support and intricate part of making the Sweet Corn Festival happen every year.”

Longsdorf married Marylyn Joiner in November 1967. They have two sons, Eric, 39, and Nathan, 37, who are residents of Sylvania, near Toledo.

Marylyn said Tom was equally a caregiver of the community and his family.

He served as a Cub Scoutmaster for his sons’ troop for many years, and was always there to offer paternal advice, she said.

“My son said to me he realized he has to be a grown-up now,” she said Wednesday. “Although he is an adult taking care of himself, he’d always had his father to talk to. People depended on Tom.”

Longsdorf’s friends were among those who depended on him, Marylyn said. When a close friend was wheelchair-bound after an illness, Longsdorf offered to paint his house. His friend was frustrated at not being able to help while Longsdorf painted the second story, she said.

“Tom picked him up out of his wheelchair and took him up on the scaffold because his friend was confined and was sad he couldn’t help,” Marylyn said. “Those were the kind of things Tom did.”

His caring and kindness extended to his many acquaintances, and Marylyn said she believes her husband didn’t even realize the impact he had on so many people.

“Tom didn’t have a clue that he was who he was,” she said. “He always did the right thing. He was kind of an old-fashioned guy with his morals and ethics, and he was steadfast in standing by them.”

There will be a memorial service 11:30 a.m. Friday at Lodi United Methodist Church, 320 Medina St.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Village of Lodi Parks, 108 Ainsworth St., Lodi, 44254.

“Because of his caring for the community, we’re asking that people send a donation to Lodi Parks instead of flowers,” Marylyn said. “Rather than flowers for himself, he would want something to give to the community.”

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.