One day after his 90th birthday, James Hiram Ohlinger was called home. He joins his parents, Francis and Lewis Ohlinger, his siblings, Lewis, Jr. (Betty) Ohlinger, and Phyllis (Dwight) Hottle; his beloved wife, Jane; and daughter, Ann (Tom) Bizzaro, who preceded him in death. He is survived by his sister, Barbara (Carl) Nottingham.
Jim met his bride, Jane, at her family grocery store on Eastwood Avenue, and acted promptly when she told him to take her away from there. They married a short time later and together they raise four children, Ann, Peggy (Ed) Callihan, Mark (Judy) Ohlinger, and Jim (Wanda) Ohlinger.
He leaves behind 10 grandchildren, all of whom clamored to sit next to him at the dinner table because he didn’t make them eat their vegetables, and 17 great grandchildren.
Jim and Jane spent 66 happy years together. They were a self-taught, DIY power couple before HGTV made it popular. She was the artist and designer, who could make anything out of fabric, while he was the contractor who could build or fix anything.
He was a master woodworker, and his family took full advantage. He furnished more than one kitchen with custom cabinets, and was known to do electrical, plumbing, tiling, and flooring—really, anything anyone needed. There was no project too big, and it didn’t matter if he knew how to do it when he started—by the end he figured it out. His sons recall that he seemed to insist on replacing roofs in August and reinsulating attics in July, when temperatures soared.
Jim and Jane’s homes were showpieces, both inside and out. They spent hours together landscaping their yards into beautiful spaces for children, and later grandchildren, to run and play.
Jim’s talents extended to cars as well. He and Mark built Annie a Bradley GT that Mark still has. Annie drove that car through her pregnancy with her oldest, when her husband gently insisted it was time to say goodbye to the beloved two-seater.
They were amazing cooks. Every year they hosted the holidays, there seemed to be more and more people. Some of their recipes live on at Cheese ’n Crackers, a business they started, now owned by their daughter Peggy.
Jim worked at Tipper Tie for 25 years before he retired. After he retired, Jim could be found delivering orders or sharing a meal at Cheese ’n Crackers. He visited nearly every day.
Jim was devoted to his family. His grandchildren remember fondly spending time in the summers at their home in North Carolina, trips to the beach, and drives that felt more like flying. But, perhaps more than anything, he was known for his great big hugs.
Second only to his family was his commitment to the Masons and Shriners, Jim was an active member of the Masons, serving many roles over his 50 years of service. He was extremely proud of his work with the Tadmor Shrine, in Akron, Ohio, especially the Circus and the Valley of Akron, Center for Dyslexia.
To the very end, Jim remained a protective parent and grandparent, walking his visitors to the door and making sure they got home OK. He surely passed on what his mother called his orneriness to his kids and grandkids, but now we call it focused determination.
A private service was held on Saturday April 25, 2020.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Canton Center of Dyslexia, https://www.childrensdyslexiacenters.org/donate or 836 Market Ave. N Canton, Ohio 44702. The family will announce arrangements at some time in the future.
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