MONTVILLE TWP. — Even in his weakest moments, Ben Hallock was a father first.
Diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and confined to a recliner for much of the past two years, he wasn’t able to play soccer with his daughters, Lauren, 8, and Lindsey, 6. He couldn’t dance alongside them to the Wii game system or sometimes even speak to them.
But he could be their hair and makeup model.
“They played like he was in a hair parlor, brushed his hair, spraying him with stuff,” his wife, Kim, said. “Ben chuckled about this, like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.’ ”
Ben Hallock died Friday from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 51 years old.
His family and friends said they remember him as a family man and a leader in Medina County.
With a business degree from Miami University of Ohio, Hallock was president of telephone and security systems company FM Systems in Medina.
“He grew up in the business world and was very active in it until the last year or so,” his father, Macy, said.
A lifelong resident of Medina County and, for the most part, Medina, Hallock helped found or participated in several civic organizations, including the Medina Evening Rotary Club and Leadership Medina County.
Hallock created a Civic Engagement Day for Medina citizens to go to Columbus for a day and speak with government representatives about issues important to Medina County.
“He was a longtime community activist,” older sister Debra Hallock said. “He was always trying to improve community life and build a stronger business environment.”
Longtime family friend Ralph Waite, of Waite and Son Funeral Home, called Hallock a “young, active go-getter” who “just wanted to be involved.”
Medina resident Ron Quine, who was involved in Rotary when Hallock was president of the club in the ’90s, called Hallock a “natural leader.”
“He had the kind of natural charm and personality that people were just drawn to,” Quine said. “I never saw him be arrogant. I never saw him look down on anybody. I don’t think in the time I’ve known him I’ve ever heard him lose his temper.”
Hallock’s leadership positions started before he entered the business world. He was president of his college fraternity, Phi Delta Theta.
Ironically, the fraternity’s philanthropy is to raise money for ALS. Lou Gehrig also was a member of the national Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Last summer, Hallock’s fraternity brother and Medina High School classmate Mark Miller, who now lives in Florida, put together a golf outing as a fundraiser for ALS and a chance for other members of the fraternity to see Hallock and his family. Miller said the event raised about $7,000.
Miller said Hallock was an avid golfer, and although he wasn’t able to golf during the fundraiser because of his advancing disease, he was able to drive his golf cart around and greet the 70 or so people who came in his honor.
Debra Hallock said her brother faced his disease “as a real fighter and with a wry sense of humor and a smile for everyone.”
Always the active one, she said, Ben and his brother Alan rode their bicycles around the entirety of Lake Erie when they were teenagers.
Kim Hallock, who was married to Ben for 10 years, said the hardest part of the last two years following his diagnosis in December 2008, was his inability to stay involved in the community and the activities he loved, including golfing, skiing and boating.
But when it came to his daughters, whom Kim called “the epitome of Daddy’s little girls,” he found ways to stay involved. He brought a golf cart to their soccer games. He let them adjust his breathing mask. And he was happy to let them style his hair.
Visiting hours are 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at Waite and Son Funeral Home, 765 N. Court St., Medina.
Contact Jennifer Pignolet at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: The photos below were provided by the Hallock family.