Joe Szymczak, 72, passed away on January 15, 2020. He was born September 10, 1947, to Rita (Michalski) and Joseph Szymczak in Toledo, Ohio. He graduated from Whitmer High School, Wilmington College where he played football, and earned his master’s degree from Bowling Green State University.
Joe spent 46 joyful years with his loving wife, Deb, and created a beautiful family which he adored. Joe asked Deb to marry him again on January 4 and they renewed their vows on January 5, 2020, at Kobacker House in Columbus, Ohio.
In addition to his family, Joe’s passions were teaching, coaching and Michigan football. He taught English and physical education and coached football, wrestling, and golf during his 31 years at Elmwood.
If measured by respect, love and accomplishments, Joe was a champion in life. He was privileged to receive an outpouring of gratitude, affection and compassion even in his final days from family, friends, former students, wrestlers and many more. He received many accolades including the spirit of Wood County award in Education (1996), inducted into Bowling Green Pee Wee League Hall of Fame (1998), and had the Joe Szymczak Dual Meet Tournament at Elmwood named in his honor.
After retiring from Elmwood, Joe also taught at the NWOCC in BG and at the Eagle Learning Center in Oregon, Ohio. As he did at Elmwood, he loved making a difference in the lives of his students, whether helping to improve skills or helping them find direction. Joe loved writing for the sports section of the Sentinel Tribune and for several years was their wrestling specialist. He also enjoyed playing cards, games, hosting a Wii Bowling League, and chronicling family and his TKB fraternity histories.
Helping him to meet neighbors were his adored Brittany Spaniels, Gracie and Logan, who walked him twice every day.
Joe listened religiously to WTKA to get the latest news on Michigan football for which he was more than a fan: he bled maize and blue. Loyal to the end, he would hail Michigan on cue – Go Blue!
Joe is survived by his wife Deborah, sons Joseph (Kate) and Tony (Jen) and grandchildren Jonah, Rowan, Boden, and Izak. Grandpa Joe/Pap Pap was lovingly adored by all four grandsons.
A memorial service will be held Friday, January 24, at 3:30 pm at the old Elmwood High School auditorium (Community Center) located at 7650 Jerry City Rd. A celebration of life will follow from 5:30 – 8:00 pm at the Simpson Building located at 1291 Conneaut Ave, Bowling Green, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Kobacker House, 800 McConnell Dr, Columbus, Ohio 43214 or online.
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