Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Plaque at Central Catholic is a tribute to longtime broadcaster


Central Catholic High alumni Jim White, left, and Bill Nachtrab, right, visit before seeing a plaque in honor of the late Frank Venner, a 1944 graduate of Central Catholic. It was dedicated Wednesday.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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Some used walking canes, another a wheelchair. Others slowly shuffled along.

It had been nearly 70 years since “the boys” of 1944 and ’45 had walked the hallways together at Central Catholic High School.

They did so again Wednesday to remember one of their own — Frank Venner — a longtime Toledo broadcaster, who died in August at age 85.

Ten of his former classmates dedicated a memorial plaque in his honor. The plaque will be in the school’s digital media production center.

“He was a super guy,” Ray Murnen said. “He was very well-liked and accomplished so many things during his life — it was amazing.”

Mr. Venner, who graduated from Central Catholic in 1944, began his broadcasting career at WSPD, the local radio and television station whose TV side later became WTVG Channel 13.

During his 40 years at the station, he traveled to Rome to cover the 1960 Summer Olympics as an announcer and broadcast the popular Weather-in-the-Weather show from the former Commodore Perry Hotel.

He also was host for the High School Quiz program for a quarter century, was a co-anchor of the Venner-Ward Report, and was editorial director and news director before his retirement in 1988.

The event in his honor was organized by the “Lunch Bunch,” a group of 1944-45 Central Catholic alumni who have met for lunch every month for 10 years. Mr. Venner was a member of the group.

Wednesday’s visit was a trip down memory lane for the longtime friends. Some recalled being sent to the principal’s office “to see Father (John) Harrington.” Msgr. John L. Harrington was principal of Central Catholic from 1941 to 1968, one of the longest-serving and best-known of the school’s leaders.

Others marveled at the classroom technology.

“We’re just a bunch of guys who get together and reminisce,” Mr. Murnen said.

Added classmate Paul Hood: “Mostly, we just talk about sports. We’re too old to talk about girls and women.”

Contact Federico Martinez at: or 419-724-6154.

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