MONTPELIER, Ohio — Ralph J. Dominique, Jr., a retired retail store manager and bus driver who served briefly as Montpelier mayor, died Saturday in the Community Hospitals and Wellness Center in Bryan. He was 73.
His wife, Mary Ann, said he died from a heart attack. He been in poor health in recent years, she added.
Mr. Dominique was a bus driver for 32 years for Montpelier Exempted Schools.
"I think he enjoyed being with the kids and doing something for the kids," his wife said. "Whatever child got on the bus, he was very pleasant to them. He tried to make their day start with a smile."
Mrs. Dominique said her husband retired from driving when doctors told him he had diabetes.
"For the safety of the kids, he gave up driving," she said.
His family said he was elected to village council in the 1980s and served three terms. He also did a short stint as mayor when the person who was serving in the position became ill.
Mr. Dominique grew up near Wauseon. He was in the Boy Scouts, earning the Eagle Scout rank. He graduated in 1956 from Wauseon High School, where he played football and baseball.
After high school, he met the former Mary Ann Berry who worked as a baby-sitter for his nieces and nephews. They were married Dec. 1, 1957.
Mr. Dominique was a store manager, initially at the Charles Co. in Wauseon. He went on to manage a five-and-dime owned by the Hurst Co. in Montpelier and in the stores that followed in the same building space, including the Variety Store, Montpelier Discount Drugs, and Radio Shack.
He also was a high school football referee for more than 45 years.
Mr. Dominique was ordained a deacon in the Toledo Catholic Diocese on May 22, 1976. As a deacon, he performed marriages, baptized children, helped at the altar during Mass, and offered spiritual care. He served at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Montpelier and St. Joseph Catholic Church in Blakeslee.
It was because of this role in his church the family decided to have visitation in Sacred Heart Church.
"I figured his life was the church. He did many things for the people of the parish. I thought it was very appropriate to have visitation in the church," Mrs. Dominique said.
He belonged to the Montpelier Rotary and held offices in the Paul Harris Fellowship. He also was a member of the Montpelier Ministerial Association.
Surviving are his wife, Mary Ann; sons Dennis Dominique, the Rev. Todd M. Dominique, and David Dominique; daughter Michelle Etzler; brother James Dominique; eight grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday in Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where a vigil service will be held at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the church by his son, Father Dominique.
The family requests tributes to Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
— Mark Reiter