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Published: Tuesday, 2/24/2009

Rossford councilman a real estate firm partner

Richard A. Rick Kovach, 52, a veteran Rossford city councilman and former police officer, died Saturday in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

His daughter, Stephanie Kovach, said the death was sudden and the family is awaiting results of an autopsy.

Mr. Kovach was in his third consecutive term on Rossford council, having been first elected in the fall of 1997. He was chairman of council s economic development committee and was on its public works and judiciary, building, and insurance committees.

Rick was one of those who was always looking out for the common person in town, Mayor Bill Verbosky, Jr., said.

Council members political affiliations are not listed on the ballot, but Mr. Kovach was known for taking a conservative tack on financial issues and was not afraid to find himself occasionally in the dissenting minority on votes that could raise taxes.

Councilman Greg Marquette said Mr. Kovach took his responsibilities seriously. He was one who always did his homework. He always had facts and figures, and was always very much prepared, Mr. Marquette said.

Mr. Kovach was a lifelong Rossford resident and the third in his family to serve on council; his uncle on his mother s side, Kenneth Gwozdz, Sr., was a longtime councilman and past city administrator. A grandfather, the late Valerian Gwozdz, also served on council.

Outside council chambers, Mr. Kovach was a managing partner of Ross Harbor Properties, a residential real-estate and property rental business, his daughter said.

He was formerly a Rossford police officer, serving 10 years beginning in the early 1980s as a patrolman and in the detective bureau. Miss Kovach said her father eventually switched careers for a change of pace.

Born Jan. 24, 1957, to Gene and Joyce Kovach, Mr. Kovach played varsity football, basketball, and baseball at Rossford High School and graduated in 1975. He went on to a law enforcement training program at Owens Community College, and spent two to three years as a patrolman in Whitehouse before starting duty in his hometown.

The year before his first run for council, Mr. Kovach made headlines when he filed suit against city officials over their failure to certify citizen petitions against increases in Rossford water and sewer rates to the Wood County board of elections.

He and his supporters withdrew their lawsuit after the council rolled back water and sewer rates by 5 percent.

Mr. Kovach appeared ready to seek a fourth term on city council this fall, his daughter said.

I don t think that he felt he was done, she said.

Surviving are his daughter, Stephanie Kovach; mother, Joyce Kovach, and brother, Gary Kovach.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. Thursday in the Sujkowski Funeral Home, Rossford. The funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday in All Saints Catholic Church, Rossford, with visitation an hour before the service.

The family suggests tributes to the church.

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