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Published: 7/19/2012

Richard E. Scobie, 1927-2012: Retiree led many tours for museum about police

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Richard E. Scobie, a longtime Toledo police officer and accident investigator who was an eager volunteer for the Toledo Police Museum, died Sunday in Lutheran Village at Wolf Creek. He was 84.

He broke his neck in a fall at his South Toledo home about two months ago and did not recover after three surgeries, his son, John, said.

Before that, though, he was on duty several days a week at the Toledo Police Museum almost since it opened last year in Ottawa Park.

"He became our lead volunteer," said Officer Beth Cooley, museum president. "We lost a friend."

Volunteers staff the museum and keep it open, and "he was the one who volunteered the most," she said. A family member told Officer Cooley that volunteering at the museum gave him a sense of purpose. She replied: "You have no idea what he meant to us."

Mr. Scobie led tours and explained the exhibits to visitors and told stories of his days on the police force.

"That's what we want our guys to do -- explain the museum to people," she said. Visitor complimented Mr. Scobie in communications with Officer Cooley.

"He was kind of a gruff old cop exterior, but really a soft heart," she said. "A cop would definitely recognize him as a retired cop."

Mr. Scobie retired in 1980 after 27 years on the police force. As a rookie, he walked a beat downtown. Later he drove a patrol wagon. For much of his career he investigated injury accidents. With his family at home he didn't dwell on the particulars of his day at work.

"Those were grueling times for those involved," his son said. "He didn't say a whole lot unless we asked him. He was very fair with those he had to deal with who needed correction. He was a strong, respected man for the job he was doing. He was very good with the public and those around him."

He had little interest in advancing through the ranks.

"He wanted to stay out there in the action and in the public to take care of what needed to be done," his son said.

Mr. Scobie and his wife spent winters in Florida for about 20 years, and he organized an annual gathering of retired police officers and their wives in Fort Myers. The "Gator Party," as it came to be known, drew upwards of 100 people and included a river dinner cruise, euchre, golf, and camaraderie.

"He was a happy-go-lucky guy," said Dick Parton, a retired Toledo police sergeant and a former president of the Toledo Police Retirees' Association. "Everybody liked Dick. I actually didn't know him that well on the job as I did when we went to Florida."

He was born Oct. 10, 1927, to Mildred and Edmund Scobie and grew up on Longdale Avenue in East Toledo. He was a 1945 graduate of Waite High School. He joined the Navy in 1946 and was based at Key West, Fla. After active duty service he was in the Naval Reserve until 1953.

He worked for the Libbey-Owens-Ford Co. in Rossford before he became a Toledo police officer.

He was a member of Ashland Church, Oregon, where he and his wife volunteered. The family went to church every Sunday, and "that was really helpful [to him] in the release of the daily activities in his job," his son said.

He was a Mason and a past master of the Triad-Barton Smith Lodge, F&AM, and held leadership roles in other Masonic organizations. He was a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason.

Surviving are his wife, Joanne, whom he married Nov. 7, 1949; son, John; daughter, Beth White; nine grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. today at Ashland Church, Oregon. Arrangements were by the Bersticker-Scott Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to the church building fund.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.



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