Cleveland, “Officer Randy” H. – 1973

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r-clevelandMARION: Randy “Officer Randy” H. Cleveland, age 60, of Marion passed away on Saturday, November 28, 2015, at 4:44 AM in the Riverside Methodist Hospital, Columbus.

He was born on April 18, 1955 in Delaware, Ohio to the late Sandra and James Cleveland. He graduated from Pleasant High School in 1973. Randy joined the Marion Police Department in 1975 where he met his wife; Kathy Baker Cleveland and they were married on September 23, 1978.

“Officer Randy” as he is known to all, began his passion of teaching children at Safety City in 1996. He also served as the coordinator of the annual Cops-N-Kids Christmas shopping trips every year. He retired from the Marion City Police Department in 2003 but continued directing Safety City until his death.

He is survived by his loving wife and children, daughter; Kasey Cleveland, his son; JR (Kortney) Cleveland, and “Pa’s Boys”; Kaser and Kutler Cleveland who were the light of his life; he is also survived by his favorite sister; Kristi (Pat) Benson. He was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents; Frank and June Huber and Ernest and Sylvia Cleveland.

Calling hours will be held in the John C. Boler Center, 590 Forest Lawn Dr., Marion on Wednesday, December 2, 2015, from 4:00 – 8:00 PM. The funeral service will be held on Thursday at 10:00 AM in the Boler Center with burial to follow in the Marion Cemetery. Police Chaplin Jeff Williams will conduct the funeral service.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to Safety City or to the Brandy Winfield Memorial Fund, another of his passions.


Safety City officer dies

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MARION – The police officer closely associated with the Safety City program has died.

Randy Cleveland, who was best known for working with Marion area youngsters for many years, teaching them safety tips, died Saturday morning, according to his son, JR Cleveland.

“This morning due to complications from a surgery last week dad has passed away,” JR posted on his Facebook page.

Others around the community soon took to social media to express their feelings on Cleveland’s passing.

“Marion lost a true hero this morning,” wrote Marion Police Department Lt. Matt Bayles.

Bayles said Cleveland was a natural fit for his role.

“He loved kids and they loved him. Who knows how many lives he may have saved over the years by teaching kids the rules for traffic safety, 911 use … not to mention the smoke detectors that he passed out to all of them for their houses.”

Marion County Commissioner Dan Russell also had kind words for the veteran officer.

“May Officer Cleveland rest in peace; a good man who touched the lives of many,” Russell said.

The Pleasant High School graduate worked as director for Safety City since 1996. The program was established in 1981.

Cleveland also helped organize the annual Shop With A Cop event before Christmas. The youngsters participating are chosen by local schools as ones who need a little extra help around the holidays. They are paired up with a member of local law enforcement to buy toys, clothes, shoes and other items.

Last year Cleveland said he considered it “the greatest single day I have every year. We’re doing something positive and are making a bunch of people happy that didn’t think they were going to be happy for the holidays.”

Carmen Augenstein Friend said, “Shop with a cop won’t be the same this year without you. You will be dearly missed.”

“He was so special and helped so many children in our community. Who knows how many lives he saved over the years as a result of the dedication he had to the safety city program,” said Laura Moffitt Murphy.

Before going into a career in law enforcement, Cleveland played football for the Spartans under head coach Don Kay. He was a member of the 1972 state championship team.

“He was our neighbor and he was a big brother to our children, Eric and Andrea,” said Larry Holman, who was an assistant coach on that squad.

“He was a tremendous and talented athlete with exceptional speed, and an integral part of that state championship team,” Holman said.

“As a young guy he had a strong desire to be the kind of person to help other people; always willing to help in the neighborhood and on the football team. Randy had a heart for giving back. He always had a smile on his face and was upbeat.”

The Cleveland family appreciated the outpouring it received this weekend.

“All the love and support from friends and family has been so overwhelming and we cannot thank you enough. He was a great man, and will be missed by many. Hard to imagine many people who was able to touch more lives … as a patrolman for the Marion City Police Department and especially doing his dream job in running Safety City,” JR wrote.

aconchel@gannett.com

740-375-5107

Twitter: @anthonyconchel

 

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