Ralph Waite, a kind mentor and life long Rotarian, who is best known for a favorite saying, "Community service is the rent we owe for the space we occupy on earth," will leave a lasting legacy in Medina. He will be dearly missed by many.

Waite, the former funeral director of Waite & Son Funeral Home, died Tuesday.

He was 93.

As funeral director, Waite served the Medina area for more than 50 years in a family business he took over from his father.

His list of accolades, honors and contributions are long and include being being past president of the Tri-County Funeral Directors Association, past president of the Medina Rotary Club and past president of Medina school board, according to his obituary.

He was inducted into the Medina City School Hall of Fame in 2002, served as Buckeye Boys State Commissioner from 1968 to 2007 and headed city government for more than 12 years. In 2005, he was president of Buckeye Boys State. He served the Ohio Erie Rotary Youth Exchange Program as both president and chief contact for 25 years.

Waite, a longtime Medina resident, served twice as post commander and is a life member of American Legion Post 202, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5137 and Medina AMVETS Post 1990.

"He was a veteran's veteran," American Legion Post Commander Dave Taylor said. "He put his heart and soul into veterans affairs in Medina for many, many years and he was our most senior member. Even into his upper 80s, he was a member of our honor guard."

Waite, who was born in Medina on April 26, 1926, met his wife, Helen, in high school. Before she died in 2018, the couple had been married for 70 years.

When he graduated high school, Waite began his service in World War II in the European theater with the 99th Infantry and the 924 Field Artillery. After Waite was discharged in 1946, he attended the Cleveland School of Mortuary Science before working at the family business.

Waite’s work extended beyond helping families in the grieving process.

"Ralph was the kind of guy who would give the shirt off his back for you, but he was very keen about doing things the right way," said Taylor. "He held high standards for himself and the legion."

Waite was also a commissioner for the Medina County Veterans Service Commission.

Ed Zackery, director of the Veterans Service Office in Medina County, said he worked with Waite often.

"Ralph was hard to describe really," said Zackery. "A humble person. He wasn't really a boss, more of a friend. He was very committed to the veterans and making sure that this office ran well."

Zackery said Waite had a wealth of knowledge when it came to the city of Medina as well as its veterans.

"He was very active in the veterans community with the American Legion here in Medina, always at the Memorial Day parade making sure things went as best as he could and helping out as much as he could," said Zackery.

Waite, who is best known for a favorite saying, "Community service is the rent we owe for the space we occupy on earth," will leave a lasting legacy in Medina.

"He's going to be missed dearly," Taylor said. "I can't imagine a Medina without Ralph Waite."