Meet Mr. Ralph E. Waite
Mr. Waite was a life-long resident of Medina. He was a 1944 graduate of Medina High School. Mr. Waite's family name is known by many through Waite & Son Funeral Home of which he served as funeral director for over 50 years and today is the Board Chairman. Mr. Waite lived in Medina with his wife, Helen.
Mr. Waite served honorably with the U.S. Army (924th Field Artillery Battalion, 99th Division) in the European Theater during WW II. Since his military service over 64 years ago, Mr. Waite had spent a significant portion of his adulthood working on behalf of veterans. He had served twice as Post Commander and was a life member of American Legion Post #202, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #5137 and Medina AMVETS Post #1990. In 2006 Mr. Waite was appointed to the Medina County Veterans Service Commission and in 2007, he was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame by Governor Stickland. Mr. Waite had recently served on the Honor Guard at Western Reserve Cemetery in Rittman, Ohio. He helped to collect more that $2,000 for the building of the National World War II monument in Washington D.C. He had organized a number of trips for veterans to visit the monument.
Mr. Waite was past president of the Medina Rotary Club where he had been a member since 1952. Within Rotary International, Mr. Waite held the honor of 'Paul Harris Fellow.' This honorarium is named after Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary Internation (1905) and is awarded for outstanding 'service above self'. Mr. Waite had served as the Ohio Erie Rotary Youth Exchange Program as president and chief contact for 25 years. During Mr. Waite's leadership, over 50 boys and girls from Medina County schools became ambassadors to countries throughout the world.
Mr. Waite served as a Scoutmaster of Troop 501 for 30 years. In 2005, he was elected president of Buckeye Boys State and has served as Boys State Commissioner from 1968 to present, heading Boys State City Government for the past 12 years.
Mr. Waite served on the Board of Education for the Medina City School District from 1966 to 1974 and for one of his terms as the president of the board. In 1984 he was instrumental in co-founding the Medina City Schools Foundation which continues to thrive and enhance the educational experience for students in the school district. He was inducted into the high school's Hall of Fame in 2002. Mr. Waite served as an Ohio REads participant working with children at Garfield Elementary School to improve their reading skills. Each year, Mr. Waite had visited local schools around Veteran's Day and talked with the students about service to country and what it meant to be a veteran.
Mr. Waite was quoted in the Medina County Gazette as saying, "We occupy space on this earth and community service is the rent that we pay for the space that we're permitted to occupy. I think we all have an obligation, a debt to repay. I think that's been the way I've looked at serving my community." Sadly, Mr. Waite passed away February 18, 2020 at the age of 93.