W. Roderic Covey
91, of North Canton, Ohio passed away on Jan. 15, 2021 in his home after a brief illness. Born in Martin's Ferry, Ohio in 1929 to Robert and Elizabeth (Call) Covey, Rod graduated from high school at age 17 and immediately enlisted in the U.S. Navy to serve his country. At Navy boot camp he was chosen from among 150 men in his barracks as Company Honor Man. Upon successful completion of his distinguished service as a Pharmacist's Mate at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., he was able to attend The Ohio State University in Columbus on the G.I. Bill, earning a B.S. in Public Relations. During the summers he worked as a lifeguard at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. While at Ohio State he demonstrated leadership and creativity by serving as President of the OSU Wesleyan Foundation and by singing bass in the Ohio State Glee Club and in the elite Glee Club quartet, which performed all over the campus and off-campus. He carried his penchant for singing into all aspects of his life and was always willing to sing to an audience.
Upon graduation from Ohio State in 1952, Mr. Covey was recruited to locate in Canton, Ohio to work for The Timken Roller Bearing Company as assistant editor of the employee magazine. Later he worked for the Meldrum & Fewsmith ad agency in Cleveland and, in 1967, founded his own company in advertising, marketing and public relations in Canton known as Covey and Koons, Inc. During the years while raising a family and providing employment, Mr. Covey devoted time and resources to numerous community, professional and charitable organizations and events including Scouting, Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival, Canton Advertising Club (which named him Ad Man of the Year in 1968), Akron Area Business and Industrial Editors, Industrial Marketers of Cleveland and Allegheny Nation Indian Center in Canton. For several years in the 1990s, he served as President of the Stark County Hunger Task Force, collecting food and funds to help disadvantaged families. After making his home in North Canton, he provided years of fundraising and support efforts to Friends of the North Canton Library as well as local veterans' organizations, which included leadership in the creation of the North Canton Veterans Memorial in Bitzer Park. Mr. Covey served as Grand Marshall of the annual North Canton Memorial Day Parade in 2013 and provided expertise and support for WW II and Viet Nam veterans wishing to publish their histories and stories for posterity. When his condo association was preparing to cut down a large tree in Auburn Knolls, Mr. Covey organized his neighbors and lobbied officials to save the tree by bringing in arborists and experts who determined that the Cucumber Magnolia Tree was over 400 years old and the largest of its species in Ohio and that the tree was still healthy. Later the tree was dated as being over 430 years old and is now listed as a world champion heritage tree and may be the largest and oldest of its kind on earth. For many years, Mr. Covey acted as docent for the tree, and thousands of people from around the world have visited its magnificence. Mr. Covey especially enjoyed meeting with the visitors, welcoming many into his home, and providing hands-on education for all. Even into his later years, Mr. Covey continued his generosity and kindness by making donations to animal rescue groups including Cripple Creek Ferals and Friends. Mr. Covey had a charismatic and creative personality, was a playful grandfather, and demonstrated a life of love and service, living with his motto of Family, God and Country, in that order. He always jumped at the chance to help strangers, and he especially enjoyed the grocery store where he helped women load groceries into their carts. He was a scholar and a gentleman. He took great pride in his children and grandchildren, and his personal values are firmly embedded in his legacies. He was admired and will be deeply missed by all who enjoyed him.
He was preceded in death by his siblings, Robert Covey, Jacqueline Long, Paul Covey and Donald Covey; and by his wife, June (Holliday) Covey; and his children's mother, Patricia (Wylie) Covey. He is survived by his three children, Rod A. (Kathie) Covey, Craig Covey and Lisa Covey (Peter Burgher) of Winslow, Maine; grandchildren Ashley Covey, Brandon (Brittany Lasorella) Covey and Justin Burgher of Wellesley, Mass.; his brother Richard (Elvira) Covey of Jacksonville, Fla.; several nieces and nephews; stepchildren, Richard, Bret (Patty) and Todd Holliday; several step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and Sir Thomas the cat.
There will be no service at this time due to the pandemic, but a memorial celebration will be announced at a later date. Memorials may be made to the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank, 350 Opportunity Parkway, Akron, OH 44307-2234, or Cripple Creek Ferals and Friends, P.O. Box 172, Uniontown, OH 44685. Messages of love and support may be left at www.arnoldfuneralhome.com
Arnold & Spiker-Foster-Shriver