The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Friends and associates of Jerusalem Township Trustee Joe Kiss, who died suddenly last Wednesday, remembered him as a giving person who liked helping people in the community.

“Everybody liked Joe,” said Fire Chief Tony Parasiliti. “He wanted to serve the community and help everyone.”

Members of the Jerusalem Township and Oregon communities are reeling from the news that Kiss has died.

Kiss, 52, passed away in his home on Wednesday, July 25, Parasiliti said. The township fire department received a call from Kiss’s home at 1:02 p.m.

k JoeKissWEB
Photo take January 2018 at the Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber'sState
of the Communities Address. (Press  file photo by Ken Grosjean.

Firefighters responded within three minutes, said Parasiliti. Kiss was pronounced dead at the scene. The chief said no resuscitation efforts were made. Parasiliti said he did not know the cause of death. 

“The Lucas County coroner will make that call,” he told The Press.

Businessman
Kiss grew up in Oregon and graduated from Clay High School in 1984. He attended the University of Toledo where he studied marketing.

Kiss was married to the former Jennifer McCloskey. The couple has three sons, Joey, Josh and Jonah.

He owned the Maumee Bay General Store, Joe’s Pizza & Kitchen as well as a Subway franchise. Kiss was also a licensed Realtor with Danberry Realty in Oregon.

Kiss was serving his third term as trustee. His current term expires in 2019.

Trustee David Bench said he was shocked to hear the news, particularly since he saw him at a trustee meeting the night before he passed away.

“He sat right next to me at the trustee meeting last night,” Bench said. “I know he had some health issues with diabetes, but I did not notice anything. I am at a loss for words.”

Bench said both he and Trustee Beau Miller will seek out someone to serve out the rest of Kiss’s term.

“He was a fellow trustee I worked with for nine years,” Bench said. “He will be missed. I feel for the boys, I feel for the family. I guess the good Lord wanted him.”

Coach
Kiss had been active in the Jerusalem Township Recreation Department. He also served as the head football coach at Fassett Junior High School.

Clay Athletic Director Mark Beach could barely muster the words to describe the loss he felt.

“It is a pretty sad day for our football family,” Beach said. “He was a big, huge part of our program and our lives. He will be sorely missed. We are stunned. This is such a shock.”

Beach said Kiss’s son Joe is currently serving as the head coach for boys lacrosse. Joey also coaches freshman football and eighth-grade basketball. His brother Jonah, who will be a junior at Clay, is a member of the varsity football, basketball and baseball teams.

“It hurts, it just really hurts,” Beach said. “We lost a family member - an athletic family member. Our hearts go out to Joe’s family, wife and kids. He was young and this was not expected. He served as the master of ceremonies for the athletic boosters’ reverse raffle. He did so much for the community and his family. We have a huge void now.”

P.J. Kapfhammer, a former school board president and longtime friend, was stunned by the news.

“He was a great guy. This is a huge loss to the community,” Kapfhammer said. “He did a lot for Jerusalem Township. He was a great father, a great guy. I have known him for a very long time. He cared for the township, his wife, his boys. He did a lot for a lot of people.”

Fiscal responsibility
Kiss was elected township trustee in 2007. He ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility and transparency.

An independent, Kiss had come out swinging at the board of trustees and fiscal officer at the time, saying they did not have enough financial experience to run the township effectively.

“Restoring fiscal responsibility and leadership to the township is the biggest issue we have,” Kiss said at the time. “We need someone with no personal agenda and no ego problems, who has good, sound business management ability, and who can make sound decisions for all of us, not just a few of us.”

Kiss and another candidate, Terry J. Reiff, had campaigned for the seat of former Jerusalem Township Trustee Floyd Teft, who did not run for re-election.

Kiss won with 538 votes, or 51.63 percent, against Reiff’s 504 votes, or 48.37 percent.

Kiss, who had no prior experience in public office, had attributed his win to steady campaigning.

“Basically just hard work and great support from people out here to come and vote for me,” said Kiss. “Obviously, they voted for some change.”

News Editor Kelly J. Kaczala contributed to this report.

 

 

 

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