Following a short battle with leukemia, Bert Thomas Locke of Oberlin died peacefully on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, with his wife by his side.
Bert was born in Oberlin, Ohio, on Nov. 18th, 1945. A proud 1964 Oberlin High School alumnus, he went on to graduate from Michigan State University with a degree in landscape management. He owned and operated the family business, Locke's Garden Center, which was his second home until his retirement in 2007. Bert, a faithful Spartan fan, enjoyed his retirement by continuing to share his love of Oberlin history, landscaping, travel, fishing throughout the Great Lakes, and spending time with his family and friends. Many enjoyable hours were spent around a backyard campfire, engaging in evening chats and sharing memories with those who were so important to him.
He mentored small business owners, at one time taught adult education classes in gardening at Lorain County Joint Vocational School, and for several years served as a Junior Achievement Program volunteer at Prospect Elementary School.
He had a keen interest and pride in Oberlin and its rich history. Bert served on the Oberlin Heritage Center board from 2003-2004 and was currently on the board of Vineway LLC. He assisted OHC in many other ways over the years, including helping with designing and installing the handsome stone and bronze marker for the Frank C. Locke shingle oak tree on the OHC grounds. He also provided guidance on all sorts of local history questions as well as helping with special projects.
Bert is survived by his wife of 48 years, Penny; daughters Denise Capers (husband Bill of Oberlin) and Christin Locke Brown (husband Martin of Columbus); and son Bert Locke II (wife Carla of Oberlin). He was the proud and loving grandfather of Elena Robinson, Kristopher Robinson, Emily Capers, and Brandon Locke. Additional survivors include his sister, Diane Provost of Brownsville, Texas, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank C. Locke and Marion Locke.
Bert was an Oberlin Rotarian for 39 years, a past president of the club, and was proud to be a Paul Harris Fellow. Family and friends may honor his memory by continuing the Rotary tradition of "Service above Self."
Per Bert's request, there will be no formal services. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions, if desired, may be made to the Oberlin Rotary Club Frank C. Locke Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Oberlin Heritage Center, or any
dedicated to community service.
Online condolences may be made at www.cowlingfuneralhomeoh.com.