Charles Kozina, a leader in his community — Ross Township, then Northwood — who organized a fire force, became its chief, and was elected to multiple council terms on council, died Friday in Parkcliffe Community at Northwood. He was 92.
“It’s amazing. He’s been been involved in everything,” Northwood Mayor Mark Stoner said.
Mr. Kozina was in failing health with pneumonia and dementia, his son Ronald said.
He retired in the late 1980s as an assistant foreman in the composing department of The Blade.
Mr. Kozina served two, two-year council terms in the early 1960s as Ross Township along the northern edge of Wood County was incorporated and became the village of Northwood. With population growth came a change in status for the municipality, and Mr. Kozina returned to office as a member of Northwood City Council, elected to four-year terms in 1991, 1995, and 1999.
“He always had a concern with where the village and then the city was going,” said his son Randy, a member of city council for nearly eight years. “He enjoyed having a part in crafting that. He enjoyed serving the people.”
He took a particular interest in infrastructure — streets and sidewalks; water lines and sewer lines — and with his long involvement, he knew the community’s needs better than many.
“He kept them on their toes down at Wood County [government],” son Ronald said.
As he ran for re-election in 1995, he pointed to street improvements; replacement of sanitary sewers, and water and sewer rate reductions.
“There is a plan for the future of Northwood, more than there has been in the past,” he told The Blade in 1995.
Mr. Kozina freely offered his advice, support, and opinions to new members of council, as Mayor Stoner was in the 1990s.
“You definitely knew where Charlie stood,” Mayor Stoner said. “He was opinionated. He was straightforward. He let you know what he thought, and if you were wrong, he let you know that, too. Charlie, even if he didn’t agree with you, he always had a kind of smile on his face.”
Mr. Kozina in the early 1950s helped organize Ross Township’s fire station No. 1 — across the street from the house he’d built — and was its chief. It wasn’t that he aspired to be a firefighter, he told The Blade in 1960. He just knew that the township needed a new fire station and residents to run it.
“They started from scratch,” son Ronald said. “They made the first fire truck for hauling water.”
In 1986, Mr. Kozina was presented a fire chief’s badge and a plaque in tribute to his service.
He was born Dec. 9, 1920, in Rossford to Maria and Steven Kozina and attended Rossford High School. He was an Army veteran of World War II and served in the coast artillery at Camp Lockett and Fort MacArthur in California.
He began his printer’s apprenticeship in 1939, but he first took an interest in the trade while taking courses as a Boys’ Club of Toledo member. Later, he was chosen to represent the craft in a trip to Washington. “The highlight for me was the trip through the Bureau of Printing and Engraving,” he told The Blade in 1960.
He worked at Spitzer Box Co.; Paramount Printing Co.; Art Type, and Modern Printing before he began his career at The Blade in 1953. He was a printer and was able to maintain his International Typographical Union membership when he became an assistant foreman, said son Ron, who became a printer.
Mr. Kozina was a member of Odd Fellows.
Surviving are his wife, Ruth Kozina, whom he married Sept. 16, 1943; sons, Ronald and Randy Kozina; daughter, Karen Kozina, and four grandchildren.
Services will be private. Arrangements are by the Freck Funeral Chapel, Oregon.
The family suggests tributes to First Presbyterian Church of Clay Center or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.
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