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Ralph Cobey

COBEY Ralph Cobey, age 99, passed away on Friday, January 16, 2009 at his home, Pleasant Valley Farms, in Galion, Ohio. He was born in Sycamore, Ohio on August 15, 1909. Following graduation from Galion High School in 1927, he attended Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University) pursuing a mechanical engineering degree. The Great Depression and family illness led to his return home in 1930 to join his father in the family manufacturing business, Perfection Steel Body Company, where his business, manufacturing and mechanical acumen were put to good use. These talents served him and his country well. In 1940, prior to WWII, he became a Dollar-a-Year Man, appointed by President Roosevelt to serve in the Office of Production Management (OPM) in charge of Army Tank Production and Facilities. He entered active military service in 1942 and was a Captain in the U.S. Army Air Force at discharge in 1945. He was recalled to active military service during the Korean War in 1951. He was the President of the Perfection Steel Body Company (Perfection-Cobey) 1945-1970. From 1970 until 1990, he was President of the Eagle Crusher Company and continued thereafter as Chairman of the Board. Ralph's interests beyond his strong commitment to his family and business include the Boy Scouts of America, agriculture, conservation, politics and philanthropy. He was also a tireless supporter of the Galion community and the State of Ohio. Ralph received his Eagle Scout badge in 1926 from Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, who was then visiting the United States and, in 1992, he received the Baden-Powell World Fellowship Award presented by Sweden's King Gustav XVI. He was also a recipient of the Boy Scout Distinguished Eagle (1986) and Silver Beaver Awards (1987). Local Boy Scout Troops continue to look forward to their yearly weekend campout at Pleasant Valley Farm as the highlight of the year's activities. Ralph was a founding member of the Ohio Expositions Commission. He was inducted into four of Ohio's Halls Of Fame, Ohio State Fair (1992), Agriculture (1999), Natural Resources (2001) and Senior Citizens (2002). His interest in agriculture and conservation led to his strong friendship with like-minded author, Louis Bromfield, who developed Malabar Farm. Following Bromfield's death in 1956, Ralph served as founder, chairman and manager of the Louis Bromfield Malabar Farm Foundation. He was instrumental in assuring that Malabar Farm was preserved and dedicated to perpetuating Bromfield's farming and conservation philosophies. These efforts culminated with Malabar Farm being gifted to the State of Ohio to become a state park and demonstration working farm. Ralph was a strong supporter of education recognized with a Distinguished Alumni Award form Carnegie Mellon (1987) and an honorary Doctor of Science degree conferred by Findlay College (1958). He served on the Board of Overseers of the Jewish Theological Seminary (1956-1988). He served as President of Friends of the Land International (1956-1960). Ralph was a 32nd Degree Mason and past president of the Galion Shrine honored in 2007 for his 75 years of membership. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Congregation Tifereth Israel since 1950 and was Chairman and Founder of the congregation's Minnie Cobey Memorial Library. He was also a member of Temple Israel. He was a long-term board member of the Galion Hospital Foundation and the Ohio MedCenter (Smith Clinic) Foundation. Ralph enjoyed decades of public service in all forms, be it his work for five Republican and Democratic Presidents serving on various taxation and industrial committees (1939-1966) or service as a mounted Deputy Sheriff for Morrow County (1974-1984). Ralph loved having family and friends at his home as much as the guests loved the gracious hospitality and the endless stories Ralph could relate about his childhood years, his near drowning at age six, and his fascinating encounters with Presidents and notables of the 20th century. He was preceded in death by his parents Harry and Minnie Cobey, two sisters Esther Melton and Jeanette Weisman and his brother Herbert. Ralph is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Hortense; daughters, Minnie Cobey Gallman and husband Dr. Philip Gallman, Susanne Cobey and husband Dr. Barry Friedman; grandson, Daniel Cobey Friedman. The funeral service will be held at Congregation Tifereth Israel at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, January 20, 2009. The family asks that contributions be made to the Minnie Cobey Memorial Library, Congregation Tifereth Israel, 1354 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205 or to the charity of choice in lieu of flowers. Arrangements by SCHOEDINGER STATE ST. CHAPEL.
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