JAMES S. PAROBEK
(2/28/29 – 4/4/21)
Longtime Lorain political and civic leader Jim Parobek passed away peacefully on Easter Sunday, surrounded by his loving family. Jim graduated from Lorain High School, Class of 46B, and served for many years as class reunion chairman . He received his B.A. from Ohio University and his law degree from the Ohio State University College of Law. After returning to Lorain to practice law, Jim became one of the youngest elected officials in the history of the city when he was elected Councilman at Large in the 1950’s. In the stellar career that followed, Jim served as Council President, Assistant City Solicitor, and City Prosecutor for over a decade. Jim’s legal career spanned sixty years. Like his parents before him, Andrew Parobek and Elizabeth “Nanny” Parobek, Jim loved the City of Lorain and was one of its biggest cheerleaders throughout his long and active life.
Jim was also involved in a number of civic organizations. Jim was the organizer of the Lorain Toastmaster’s Club and President of the Lorain Jaycees. He was the President of the Lorain Kiwanis Club and founded the Kiwanis-Knights of Columbus dinner, featuring legendary OSU football coach Woody Hayes as its inaugural speaker. Jim was the President of the Lorain County Al Koran Shrine Club for 25 years, raising thousands of dollars for Shriner’s Burns Hospitals and having a lot of fun in the process. Jim was also President of the Shriner’s Presidents Club and was in the Shriner’s hunters and campers units. As Ambassador Emeritus, Jim led the effort to have the Shrine participate in Lorain’s International Festival Parade. In addition to these charitable and civic activities, Jim was a very active leader in the United Methodist Church.
Jim also loved sports. He was the organizer and first President of the Lorain High Boosters Club. In that role, he started the “Danny Award,” named for George Daniel, honoring Lorain’s high school athletes for their academic and athletic achievements. An avid golfer, Jim once scored a hole-in-one on a Par 4 while on an annual golf trip with his sons. He shot 100 on the day and earned a spot in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd. Jim was also a “scratch” grill master, famous for spur-of-the-moment cookouts and parties over the years with his many friends. To him, life was always one big celebration!
More than anything, Jim made family and friends his #1 priority. Jim was married to his remarkable wife, Opal (nee Kitchens), for nearly 65 years. From love at first sight in a local restaurant to travels to all 50 states, Europe, Russia, Egypt, the Holy Land and China, their journey together was one of friendship, happiness and enduring love. Jim was preceded in death by his father, Andrew A. Parobek, and his mother, Elizabeth Parobek (nee Shay). In addition to his wife Opal, Jim is also survived by his five children and their spouses: Drew and his wife Rachel, Lori Ritenauer and her late husband Fred, Jimy and his wife Susan, Brad and his wife Sandy, and Heather George and her husband Joey; his thirteen grandchildren; and his three great-grandchildren.
A private family memorial service was held on April 6, 2021. A celebration of Jim’s wonderful life will be held this coming summer. Contributions in his name may be made to the Lorain Historical Society, 329 W. 10th St., Lorain, OH 44052.
The Schwartz, Spence, Boyer & Cool Home For Funerals, 1124 W. 5th Street, Lorain assisted the family with arrangements.
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Lorain Historical Society
329 West 10th Street, Lorain OH 44052