Because we were out of town, neither Janet nor I could attend the services for Dr. Glenn Saltzman, a man of so many talents and accomplishments. Glenn’s passing is a loss, for sure to his lovely wife, Ruth, and their family as well as close friends and neighbors, but also for those of us in the community at large.

An unusually gifted communicator with a doctorate in psychology, Glenn was the charter chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences at what is now called Northeast Ohio Medical University and then served as its Director of Basic Medical Sciences before retiring in 1995.

An email from Dr. Robert Blacklow, who headed the medical school when Glenn was there, and his wife, Winifred, had this to say upon learning of Glenn’s passing, "… someone who always had good advice for us in NEOMED. Sensible, bright, cheerful, honest and committed. And Ruth, so wonderful."

He was an incredible teacher and inspired many who entered the field of counseling psychology, including Janet. Shortly after our marriage in 1983, Janet, having worked for a decade facilitating groups in management training in the Bell System, decided to pursue her doctorate in counseling psychology.

"She’s a natural," Glenn would assure me. Janet obtained her doctorate at Kent State nine years and two babies later and Glenn was rooting for us all the way. He had invited us to join a group that played tennis weekly at the Aurora tennis club. The demands of a doctoral program and two youngsters and the fact that Janet and I were out of our competency on the courts brought the tennis chapter to a close.

After that, my relationship with Glenn occurred mainly through Kent Rotary where we were both members, Glenn serving the club as president for a year. From my vantage point of being the publisher of the Record-Courier, I could observe Glenn’s many contributions to the community.

The Kent Rotary Club strives to have strong weekly programs realizing that is what draws people to luncheon meetings and keeps membership rolls strong. Some Rotary Clubs have their program chairs arrange programs for an entire year. Because an entire year can wear out a Rotarian, the Kent Club asks its members to serve as one of 12 program facilitators and to arrange a set of programs for only a month.

Glenn often volunteered to arrange a month and his programs were invariably the best. He would bring in professors from NEOMED who would talk about break-throughs in medicine. With his expertise in psychology, he would have us participate in exercises through which each of us learned a bit more of who we are and why we are the way we are. The last few years, Glenn and Mary Beth Harper, both good readers, teamed up to give Rotarians excellent programs, some regarding books the rest of us wished we had read.

In 2006, Glenn and Ruth spearheaded a tremendous grass roots campaign to pass a levy to enable the Portage County Health Department to do the job they need to do to protect all of us from communicable diseases. The levy did not pass, but the next time on the ballot, it did. If he was not the father of the successful effort, Glenn was surely its grandfather and those of us who reside in Portage County are forever in his debt.

The Cuyahoga River and its future were one of his concerns too. Glenn and a son navigated the entire body of water by canoe, in stages, Glenn publishing a journal of the experience. When I asked him, Glenn said parts of the canoeing were not all that easy or pleasant. The men would run into obstacles and drag their canoe out of the water to get around whatever the blockage happened to be. Despite improvements, the Cuyahoga needs continued vigilance and more cleaning up, he said.

Accomplished and fun, Glenn always had a circle of friends around him.

Some of his many achievements appeared in a well-written obituary. An ROTC scholarship student at Ohio State, Glenn eventually became a captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He was active in his church. He volunteered for the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association and assisted Leadership Portage County. I knew he was an accomplished athlete, a good golfer in recent years, but until the obituary, I had not realized he lettered in soccer at Ohio State for all four of his undergraduate years. He and Ruth had a wonderful marriage of 61 years and Glenn was known to assert that marrying Ruth was his Number 1 achievement.

He took good care of himself and seemed much younger than his 83 years. He exercised regularly and kept his weight down so the shock of his passing of natural causes felt like a body blow. I thought Glenn would go one forever. Grief and bewilderment were emotions felt along with the consolation of realizing what a privilege it has been to know Glenn and to have been one of the countless beneficiaries of the good things he brought to our community.

David E. Dix is a former publisher of the Record-Courier.