Matthew John Billings, age 33, died suddenly on Thursday, September 17, of injuries sustained in a collision while cycling.
Born in Toledo on July 16, 1982, he graduated from Anthony Wayne High School, where he played soccer and excelled in arts and with computers. He graduated from The University of Toledo with a degree in computer networking in 2007. He then worked for OBS Financial Services in Whitehouse, during which time he fell in love with cycling and began cycling in the Toledo Area Bicyclists (TAB) group. He rode in countless fundraisers such as Bike to the Bay to raise money for multiple sclerosis. Mr. Billings was known to be helpful to new riders and encouraged those with whom he was riding. He continued this passion when he moved to North Canton, Ohio, with his family. He began working for the Bernie Moreno Companies in the area doing computer networking.
Since moving, he had poured his energies into renovating his new home. He took pride in building a new deck and creating an enjoyable life for his family. He recently bought a boat and enjoyed taking people out whenever possible. His cheerful smile helped bring joy to those in his daily life. An avid outdoor enthusiast who loved cycling, hiking, camping and boating, he frequently took trips to the Smoky Mountains, where he felt at home in nature. He was savvy with computers and loved rooting for Ohio State football and basketball. His passions also included his two cats, Oliver and Riley.
An amazing husband, father, brother and son to his family, Mr. Billings was adored by his daughter and close friends and loved his two girls with all his heart. He had a heart for nature and the beauty that could be found in it. The world is a lesser place without him in it.
He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Jack Finnegan; and aunt, Teresa Billings. Surviving are his wife, Rebecca; daughter, Evelyn; parents, Frank and Maureen Billings; sister, Katie (Eric) Emerson; brother, Brian (Taylor) Billings and their son, Hugo; grandmothers, Jan Neyrinck and Margaret Finnegan; grandfather, Frank (Elaine) Billings; aunt, Heather Neyrinck; uncles, John (Barb) Finnegan and Kevin (Paula) Finnegan; parents-in-law, David and Rita Johnson; and brothers-in-law, Aaron (Julie) Johnson and Andrew Johnson.
Visitation was in Akron at the Billow Fairlawn Chapel on September 23. A service will be conducted at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 27 at Waterville Community Church, with a meal to follow at Parkway Place, 2592 Parkway Plaza in Maumee. In lieu of flowers, a remembrance fund has been established in Evelyn’s name to carry on Matt’s legacy of providing for his family. It will be used to ensure Evelyn’s future is secure, especially for her education. Donations may be made at any Key Bank branch in Northwest Ohio by just providing her name. Those interested in giving at another branch are advised to contact Brian Billings for the account number, or checks may be made out to Evelyn Billings and sent to P.O. Box 2752, Whitehouse, OH 43571.
Pauline “Paulie” Dinkens, age 73, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt, passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 19, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Born in Toledo on July 25, 1942, to Joseph and Elizabeth (Namety) Yerg, she graduated from Burnham High School in 1960 and married Michael Dinkens on July 1, 1961. They moved to Tecumseh, Mich., where they raised their four children and she worked as an administrative secretary for Tecumseh Products. After moving back to Ohio and settling in Maumee in 1986, Mrs. Dinkens worked for 17 years for Lucas County Children Services as a secretary. She loved the summer sun, watching birds, tending to her flowers and shopping, but her pride and joy were her 11 grandchildren, whom she spoiled every chance she got.
Mrs. Dinkens is survived by her loving husband of 54 years, Mike Dinkens; children, Margo Dinkens, Tracy (Scott) Harvey, Angela Hite and Eugene (Angela) Dinkens; grandchildren, Joe Dinkens, Bailey (Adam) Snider, Morgan Hite, Spencer Hite, Madison Harvey, Tatum Harvey, Whitney Hite, Nathan Dinkens, Nicholas Dinkens, Isabella Dinkens and Gianna Dinkens; sisters, Janet (Willard) Decker, Carol (Jerry) Fackler and Betty Jo (Cliff) Anthon; along with a host of nieces, nephews and lifelong friends. She was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Jimmy Davis.
The funeral Mass was celebrated on September 22 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Maumee, followed by interment in St. Joseph Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or Hospice of Northwest Ohio.
Rex H. Griffis, age 90, of Waterville, passed away on Monday, September 21.
Born on April 20, 1925, in Fort Wayne, Ind., to Edgar and Donna Griffis, he was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who earned a Purple Heart in World War II. Mr. Griffis worked for the former Seaway Food Town and was an avid reader. Most of all, he loved spending time with his family, of whom he was very proud.
He is survived by his wife, Muriel; children, Jeffrey (Anita), Joan (Mark) Hahn, Steven (Anne) Coburn-Griffis and Jane (Bryan) Bennight; 11 grandchildren; and sister, Patricia (James) Hipsley. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Lloyd; and son-in-law, Keith Koester.
Visitation was on September 23 at Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home in Maumee. Funeral services will be conducted at 11:00 am on Thursday, September 24 at Maumee United Methodist Church, followed by interment in Riverside Cemetery in Maumee. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the Maumee United Methodist Church Building Fund.
Nancy Carr Taylor
Nancy Carr Taylor died peacefully on September 8, in Seattle, Wash., surrounded by close family members and ending a struggle with breast cancer, which she fought with courage and care for 30 years. She was a great connector of people, families and groups who was recognized both formally and informally as a dedicated and innovative advocate of women, children and social justice.
Nancy is survived by her husband of 47 years, James R. Taylor, her sisters Mary Susan (Wes) Biddle and Betsy (Mick) Johnson, her children Becca (Erika Maxx), Jason (Rachel VanDeMark) and Ben (Sheela Kini) Taylor, her grandchildren Serena Kini-Kramer, Ellen, Dahlia and Enzo Taylor, as well as a wide array of friends and family who remember her special energy and carry it with them.
She was born on October 27, 1941, in Chicago, Ill. to John and Mary Carr of Aurora, Ill. Her family settled in the Toledo area where she grew up with her sisters. She was the valedictorian of the 1958 Anthony Wayne High School class, and was a member of Denison University Phi Beta Kappa society. She earned a master of science in social services from the Boston University School of Social Work in 1967. She left Boston in 1967 to join Jim and work in a ground-breaking grassroots anti-poverty program at the Tufts Delta Health Center, which remains the first rural Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) established in the United States, in the town of Mound Bayou, Miss., which is noted as the oldest predominately black community in America. Nancy traveled to the homes of families facing financial, food, health and personal crises, established a support group for teenage and unwed mothers, and maintained a cross-disciplinary discussion group of health professionals. She described the experience as one in which she “learned much about courage, hope and forgiveness.”
In 1972, Nancy and Jim relocated to Madison, Wis., where they lived for 35 years. She served in the Dane County Social Services Department from 1976 to 2003, starting with voluntary child welfare services with young, single mothers similar to her work in Bolivar County, then mandatory court-related child protection work as budget cuts eliminated preventative programs, and culminating in a community social worker role in the innovative neighborhood-based collaborative service delivery effort she helped plan and implement, Joining Forces for Families (JFF), which began in 1993 and grew to become one of the largest community-based human services initiatives in the nation.
Nancy was featured in the Wisconsin State Journal for her work with JFF in 1993, Dane County’s Human Services Field Unit honored her with the Evelyn Owens Student/ Supervisor Award in 1998, the Dane County Juvenile Court presented her with an Outstanding Service Award in 2003, and she accepted the Wisconsin NASW Dist-inguished Social Worker of the Year Award in 2004. Upon her retirement, she was dubbed the “Mother of the Broadway-Simpson-Lake Point Community” by residents and co-workers alike. In 2006, she was presented with the W.E.B. DuBois Advocates Award by the Madison chapter of the NAACP.
Nancy considered the Joining Forces initiative the highlight of her career and described it as a “bold and energizing collaboration of public services, attempting to be more accessible to families, in voluntary relationships, and responsive to grassroots issues.” She felt that by working in an office within a housing project that was open to any and all of the community’s needs, she had come “to the heart of social work” and was able to build relationships that could address problems before they became crises. Her philosophy was based on mutual respect and service: “I work for the people who walk through my office door. They only come through that door if they want to.”
A celebration of Nancy’s life will be conducted on Friday, October 2 at 2:00 p.m. at the Columbia City Funeral Home. Details and information about Nancy’s life and memorial can be found at www.columbiafuneralhome.com.
An outstanding and treasured member of the Anthony Wayne Class of 1958, as well as a faithful reunion committee member, although Nancy’s primary celebration of life will be held in Seattle, Pastor Mike Denman will conduct a service of remembrance in her honor on Friday, October 9 at Waterville United Methodist Church, 102 N. Fifth St., Waterville, Nancy’s home church while she was growing up. Classmates, friends and local family members are invited to share their memories of Nancy and a light lunch beginning at the church at 1:00 p.m.
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