Ralph Kuyoth, a 30-year veteran of the Toledo Police Department who retired in 1995 as a lieutenant, died yesterday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township after a yearlong battle with a malignant brain tumor. He was 65.
Mr. Kuyoth worked on patrol shifts, in the traffic bureau as an accident investigator, and with the vice-metro drug unit.
He also served in the Ohio Army National Guard for 22 years, retiring as a sergeant first class in 1986.
Family and colleagues described him as a model father and police officer: always tough but fair.
"He was firm in his discipline, but he was firm in his support of the people he loved," his son, Paul Kuyoth, said. "He was very much the rock. The storms would come, but he was always steadfast and you could always count on him."
A Toledo native, Mr. Kuyoth graduated from Woodward High School in 1961. He lived in Toledo until after he retired, at which point he moved with his wife, Connie, to Curtice.
He joined the police department in 1965, thinking it was a solid job for someone without a college education. He discovered that police work was perfect for him, his son said.
"He didn't bat an eye if he had to step into a confrontation, but he never sought it out," he said. "It started out as a job, but it quickly turned into a career."
Mr. Kuyoth took classes at the University of Toledo, receiving an associate degree in law enforcement technology in 1973.
Mr. Kuyoth's children said he was a strict father, aided by his loud and deep voice.
"He just had to say your name and you wanted to cry," his daughter Lori Lowe said. "He was very intimidating, and you didn't want to do anything wrong because you feared what he could say. We never wanted to disappoint him."
His voice also served him well as a police officer, his friend and fellow officer Dan Pfeiffer said.
In his spare time, Mr. Kuyoth enjoyed maintaining his yard and garden, which family members said were the tidiest and most beautiful on the block.
He was an avid fisherman and fan of Ohio State football.
Though police department colleagues described Mr. Kuyoth as a consummate professional, he still loved a good prank, Mr. Kuyoth's daughter Chris Pigg said.
And Mr. Kuyoth was talented at telling stories and jokes, particularly during his regular outings with friends from the police department, Mr. Pfeiffer said.
"He'd keep you laughing all night," Mr. Pfeiffer said.
Surviving are his wife, Connie; daughters, Chris Pigg and Lori Lowe; son, Paul; sister, Shirley Yatsko; seven grandchildren, and a step-grandchild.
Visitation will be after 4 p.m. today at the Freck Funeral Chapel, Oregon, where the Rosary will be recited at 7:15 tonight, and Fraternal Order of Police services will be at 7 p.m. tomorrow. Services will begin 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Ignatius Catholic Church.
The family suggests tributes to St. Ignatius Catholic Church or the Hospice of Northwest Ohio.