Friday, August 3, 2012

Dover's Tom Kane: A gem among us

From my back porch, I could see Tom Kane regularly tend to his beloved backyard, which lies across the creek a couple hundred feet or so away.

A few years ago, Mr. Kane’s backyard looked into farmland, which I’m sure pleased him a lot more than the collection of little boxes that sits on that property now.

But no matter. At the first sign of spring and in the twilight of his life, Mr. Kane, along with his wife, Virginia, grabbed their rakes and shovels, clearing their yard of winter’s debris and preparing the soil for the planting of flowers and vegetables.

I could see him directing landscapers and carpenters (and probably friends and family members) as he dealt with the issues of melding meadow and garden into city lot. There was grass to cut, bushes to trim and arbors to build.

That was Tom Kane – always doing, always working.

Mr. Kane, 92, of Dover died July 3 after a lifetime of achievement and giving that deserves at least some mention beyond his obituary. I think Mr. Kane’s body of work, along with his ability to change directions, is inspirational and textbook material.

He could have written “How to Reinvent Yourself.”

Think it’s too late to change careers? Think again. Look to Tom Kane.

Mr. Kane was born in 1920 in Elyria. He attended Hudson Academy and then earned his Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Antioch College in Yellow Springs.
From 1943 to 1946, he served as an engineering officer in the Army’s Southern Training Command and the European Theater.

After the war, he joined his father as partner in Black Bird Coal Mines, a position he held until 1956 when he became president of Better Value Homes, constructing homes and commercial buildings until 1958. He also served as president of Dover Cable Television from 1954-56.
After his homebuilding and TV cable career, he enrolled in Muskingum College, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and mathematics. Then he enrolled at Ohio State, earning a master’s degree in guidance and counseling.

In 1960 he launched yet another reinvention of himself, becoming a teacher at Dover High and ultimately undertaking a guidance counselor role at the school. He retired from education in 1978, but then joined Personal and Family Counseling as a therapist. He worked there until 1983.

According to his obituary, Mr. Kane “was a man of strong religious and spiritual beliefs. With his faith he found a perfect union between science and Christianity. He believed that science is the search for relationships between matter and energy in the physical world we live in. Faith helps us see our relationship to other people and to the power beyond ours.

“Just as God moved over the earth and began creation from darkness of chaos, we are challenged to continue to create and improve upon His creation. This credo was the basis of his unwavering sense of civic responsibility at all levels of involvement – community, national and global.”

Mr. Kane was an active member of Dover’s First United Methodist Church, serving as an adult Sunday school teacher, chairing numerous financial drives and leading the church when it moved to its present site on N. Wooster Ave.

He was active in numerous community organizations, including the Tuscarawas County Council for Church and Community, Stark Wilderness Center, Family and Children First Council of Tuscarawas County, and the Dover Kiwanis Club.

And, of course, he was the recipient of many awards and recognitions.

Not mentioned in his obituary was the fact that he authored more than a few letters to the editor on various issues of the day. While I can’t recall specific details of those letters, I can tell you that Mr. Kane thought it was very important that we take care of the planet we inhabit and the children we bring onto it.

One would have to believe that God is pretty impressed with Tom Kane’s resume. I know I am.

To read Tom Kane’s obituary, visit

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter (dfarrell_dover)

No comments: