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Published: Friday, 1/23/2004

Tiffin U. prof active in politics, theater

TIFFIN - Dr. Timothy E. Rook, a former Seneca County commissioner, an associate professor at Tiffin University, and a member of the county Board of Elections, was found dead Tuesday in his home here. He was 54.

The cause of death was not known pending autopsy results, said Dr. Donald Shanabrook, Seneca County coroner.

Dr. Rook retired in 2000 from the university, where he had taught English and communications courses since 1983.

“He developed a film class there because he was such a film buff,” said Sheryl Rook, his former wife. “He just really liked the subjects he taught, and he really loved the students. He was quite firm with them. He was a tough grader. That was pretty well-known on campus. You had to be really proud that you got an A from Dr. Rook.”

He was a Democrat and had a longtime interest in politics. He was a college freshman when he was elected to the board of education in the Plymouth-Shiloh Local School District, where he d been a student.

Dr. Rook became a Seneca County commissioner after defeating longtime Republican commissioner C. LeVerne Wertz in 1988.

“He knew inside that he could make a difference,” Ms. Rook said. “He was very charismatic. That always comes up when people talk about him. He was quite the activist.”

Dr. Rook ran successfully for re-election, but lost in his bid for a third term.

He was a member for more than five years of the county board of elections.

Dr. Rook grew up in Shiloh, Ohio, and received a bachelor s degree from Heidelberg College. He received a master s degree and a doctorate in communications from Bowling Green State University.

He was long active in local theater groups, including the Ritz Players, as an actor and director. He appeared recently in Inherit the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird.

“He presented the characters so well that you believed in him and you believed he was that character,” Ms. Rook said.

Surviving are his daughter, Heather Rook; mother, Joan Rook, and brothers, Tom and Ted Rook.

Memorial services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the Hoffman-Gottfried Mortuary, Tiffin, with visitation from 4 to 8 tonight. The family suggests tributes to the Seneca County Board of Elections or to a charity of the donor s choice.

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