CANFIELD, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Ronald R. Fankhauser died peacefully at home in Canfield on Sunday, July 10, 2022. 

He was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, on September 6, 1943 to Willard and Elizabeth (Kacina) Fankhauser.

Ron was the eldest of four children and was 15 when his mother died of cancer in 1959. As the oldest child he was proud to assume the role of maintaining the household as his father was dedicated to his career as an electrical engineer with U.S. Steel. He readily admitted that it was challenging to oversee the care of his younger sisters, as well as the household duties. It came as a great relief when his father married Virginia R. Schulz, a widow with three children of her own, who took over that role and for nearly 50 years provided their combined family with loving and wise stewardship. 

Ron attended St. Charles School, Cardinal Mooney High School, The Ohio State University, Youngstown State University and the University of Akron.

Ron was a vocational rehabilitation counselor with the Ohio Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation for over 35 years. Throughout his career he assisted hundreds of clients with various disabilities, helping them to enter productive careers. He enjoyed nothing more than helping others succeed. Following his retirement in 2008, he would often encounter former clients and family members who remained so grateful for his realistic and farsighted guidance.  

Ron had many interests including psychology, art, antiques, jazz, architecture, floral and interior design. He felt deeply and had great empathy and compassion. His life was marked by his generosity to others, as well as by his kind and gentle nature. Ron was well informed, well read and well opinionated. He was a committed liberal, proud union representative and would debate friends, foes and family alike. Ron devoured home design and boating magazines and could read one from front to back in less than an hour which led to increased consumption and clutter. Ron’s love of art, architecture and design was reflected in the homes he owned in the Canfield area that ranged from a 200 year old farmhouse to a midcentury modern ranch. He loved jazz and said that nothing was better than hearing live music in a small room. While living in Los Angeles near the beach in the 1960s, the band The Doors lived across the street but Ron disdained their music in favor of jazz. Ron loved to travel and had fond (or not) memories of trying to find the best schnitzel in Germany, tartufo in Italy or a passable martini anywhere in Europe. He visited art and historic home museums wherever he went. Ron loved film and looked forward to the Cleveland International Film Festival each year. In recent years, he spent many days watching foreign films on his laptop with a martini by his side. In retirement Ron served as a docent at The Butler Institute of American Art. 

In 1976, Ron married Judith Nogee, an artist and businesswoman who shared many of his interests. Regrettably, Judy died of cancer in 1987.

Ron is survived by Terry Cloonan, his partner of 34 years; his brother, Richard Fankhauser (Carolyn); sisters, Judy Walker (Hal), Mary Jane Sciortino (David) and Sandra Jenkins, as well as a great many cousins, nieces and nephews. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, Willard and Elizabeth Fankhauser; stepmother, Virginia R. Schulz Fankhauser; wife, Judith Nogee Fankhauser; brother, Terry Schulz (Loretta); his sister, Virginia Lynne Yost (Daniel) and mother-in-law, Dolores Nogee (George); as well as, by his beloved Clumber spaniel, Chumley.  

Ron left the world a better place for all of us who had the good fortune to be close to him. A celebration of his life will be held at a future date.

Services of Love and Dignity entrusted to the L.E. Black, Phillips & Holden Funeral Home.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ronald Ross Fankhauser, please visit our floral store.

A television tribute will air Monday, July 25 at the following approximate times: 5:17 a.m. on WKBN, 8:39 a.m. on FOX, 5:21 p.m. on WYTV and 6:35 p.m. on MyYTV.