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The Trianon Ballroom is swinging again. Heaven's Big Band has a new drummer, and Sinatra will have to sit out a few sets to make room for the new boy crooner, who, when he's not playing or singing, will be dancing with the prettiest girl in the joint. Cliff Schrein, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, golfer, drummer, singer, and jazz lover, entered Heaven this week and will be strolling the lush fairways of Paradise, and sitting in on an eternity of jam sessions with Basie, Frank and all his other jazz heroes.
Cliff passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 19, 2013, surrounded by his family after a short but valiant battle with pneumonia. He was born October 4, 1923, to Annette and Julius Schrein, who was a Captain on the Toledo Fire Department. Cliff would have been 90 years old this year.
One lucky night in 1942, Cliff joined his best friend, Bill Morlock, for a night of dancing at the Trianon. Bill's girlfriend brought her girlfriend, who wondered who she would dance with. "Cliff will dance with you," Bill said, and thus began more than 60 years of music, love, and marriage with Betty Jane Ward, a beautiful Libbey High School student from South Toledo. They danced the night away to Alvino Rey and the King Sisters, and never danced with anyone else again. They were married in November, 1943.
A graduate of St. Mary's School and Central Catholic High School, Cliff spent his professional career with Dana Corporation, mostly in the Personnel Department. He started with the Spicer Division at the old Bennett Road plant and retired in 1979 as Employee Relations Manager from the Lima, Ohio plant. After retiring from Dana, Cliff worked in real estate for McNamara, in insurance, and for Reaman's Pharmacy in the Lima area. Cliff and Betty were members of Lost Creek Country Club and St. Charles Parish. In 2010, Cliff returned to his home town to be near his daughter and caregiver, Sr. Shannon Schrein. He spent his final months at Rosary Care Center, the Franciscan retirement home on the grounds of the Sisters of St. Francis Motherhouse, surrounded by retired sisters and priests and in the loving care of his dear friend Paz Valdez and the other remarkable caregivers at Rosary.
Cliff was preceded in death by his wife, Betty, who passed away in 2003; his parents; his brother, Robert, who was a Lieutenant in the Toledo Fire Department, and his sister, Marjorie Schrein Rohr. His grandfather, Frederick C. Schrein, was also a Toledo firefighter and a champion bicycle racer in the late 1800's and early 1900's; a time when bicycle racing was one of the country's most popular sports. Fred Schrein was the Ohio State Champion in 1895.
Cliff is survived by his children, Ronald G. Schrein (Rena) of Pinehurst, NC, Sr. Shannon Schrein, OSF, PhD of Sylvania, OH, Robert C. Schrein (Nancy) of Gadsden, AL, Judith Ann Miller (Ron) of Lima, OH, and David M. Schrein (Kathi) of Atlanta, GA; his brother, Ronald J. Schrein (Maggie) of Ft. Wayne, IN; eight grandchildren; five great-grandsons, and many beloved nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be Tuesday, January 22, 2013, at Thomas I. Wisniewski Funeral Home on Reynolds Road from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. A funeral mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, January 23, at 10:00 a.m., preceded by a one-hour visitation, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel at the Sisters of St. Francis Motherhouse in Sylvania. A luncheon will follow at the Franciscan Center Commons. Entombment will be on Thursday, January 24, 2013, at 10:00 a.m., at Gethsemani Cemetery in Lima.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers friends may make a donation in Cliff's name to the Sisters of St. Francis, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania, OH 43560.
Published in Toledo Blade on Jan. 21, 2013