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Barberton Public Safety Director Remembered



BARBERTON, OH — Leon Tallmadge Ricks served as the public safety director of Barberton under Mayor Art Bradnick, until retiring in 2007. Ricks passed away on October 25, 2023 at the age of 87. He lived a long, blessed life with his high school sweetheart, Thema.

    Funeral services were held on Saturday, November 4, 2023 at the First Aposlotic Faith Church. Arrangements: Rhoden Funeral Home.

    A dedicated husband and father, he always found time to laugh, tell a story, or impart some words of encouragement to others. Leon was born in Barberton, Ohio to Leona Ricks- who died in childbirth and Tallmadge Ricks- who died four years later. Leon was raised by Dicey and Prince Ricks, his grandparents. Prince lived until 104 years of age, and Leon knew them as his parents.

    In high school, Leon met the love of his life. Thelma lived in his neighborhood where they played softball together. He eventually asked her to prom, even though he couldn't dance. After high school, Leon and Thelma became engaged, while Leon served overseas in Japan for the United States Air Force. On September 27, 2023, they celebrated 65 years together in holy matrimony.

    Besides his military service, Leon served others his entire life. In 1968, Leon joined First Apostolic Faith Church, serving as deacon, trustee, and usher. Leon served the community through his delivery of mail, working for the United States Postal Service for over 30 years, retiring in 1992. He was a reserve police officer.

    After retirement, Leon continued to serve on the local library board, hospital board, the American Red Cross, and was the President of the Kiwanis.  

    Leon is survived by his wife, Thelma, David (Julia) Ricks, Larry (Cathy) Ricks, and Kimberly Ricks; his grandchildren: Justin, Christopher, Tiffany, Jessica, and his great grandchildren.

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