Born May 20, 1939, on the family farm located off Rt. 93 just south of Baltic in Coshocton County in an area he and his friends called “The Glades,” he was the youngest of the children of the late Floyd Sr. and Esta (Goss) Lautenschleger. Because he was so small at birth, his mother kept him in a shoebox for a period of time and kept him warm by placing the box in the family’s oven, prompting a neighbor lady to predict “that little guy will never make it,” which was a story that his sons loved to hear about and repeat.
Rich was a 1957 graduate of Baltic High School and he and his classmates from “The Class of ‘57” maintained a lifelong bond by meeting for lunches and suppers on a regular basis throughout the years. A U.S. Army veteran from 1957-60, he spent a portion of his service in Germany and kept in communication with friends from overseas for many years. He was a member of Zion United Church of Christ at Baltic and served as a trustee for the Halifax Cemetery located at the site of the former Halifax Church.
Rich worked at many locations through the years, including Allied Baltic Rubber Co., General Electric Co. at Coshocton, Huprich Floorcovering at Sugarcreek, Peabody Galion at Winesburg and Stone Container Corp. at Coshocton, where he retired in 2005 after more than 20 years of service.
On June 27, 1964, he married the former Louise Hicks in the United Methodist Church at Fresno. The union produced an immediate large extended family as Rich was the youngest of eight children and Louise is the youngest of 10 children. Rich and Louise spent their entire marriage residing in Baltic, first in an apartment located next to the Steiner Cheese Co. and moving a few years later to their current home.
Rich is survived by his wife Louise and his two sons, Darrin (Maria) of New Philadelphia and Jay (Amanda) of Keene in Coshocton County, and four grandchildren, Mary Cecelia (Macy) Lautenschleger, Zachary Lautenschleger, Richard Allen Lautenschleger and Weston Lautenschleger.
Rich also is survived by two brothers and three sisters, Roland of Ashland, Ky., Jacob (Lois) of Baltic, Kathryn Lautenschleger of Baltic, Erma (Glen) Lorenz of Coshocton, and Mary Lou (Dean) Huprich of Cambridge; two sisters-in-law, Marlene Lautenschleger of Baltic, and Carol Lautenschleger of Strasburg; five brothers-in-law and three sisters-in-law, Forest Hicks of Ragersville, J.W. (Marlene) Hicks of Fresno, Roby (Ruth) Hicks of Fresno, John “Pete” (Margene) Hicks of Sugarcreek, Thomas (Beverly) Hicks of Newcomerstown, Amy Haynes of Fresno, Helen (Daniel) Moody of Coshocton, and Faye (Edward) Honabarger of Bakersville; and 35 nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by two brothers, Floyd Lautenschleger Jr. and Glen Lautenschleger; four sisters-in-law, Donna Jean Lautenschleger, Ernestine Miller, Mary Hicks and Marie Hicks; two brothers-in-law, James Haynes and Roger Miller; and two nephews and a niece.
Rich was known by his family and friends for his easy-going, pleasant personality; enjoying a good laugh, sometimes over a game of cards and a cold beer or two; and his commitment to assist his family and friends. He made it a point to check on the well-being of his mother and sister on a daily basis. He enjoyed taking trips to the Hicks family roots in Boone, N.C.; vacations to the beach at Myrtle Beach, S.C., with Faye and Ed Honabarger; dancing at several locations with Louise, including at the “Rose Room” in downtown New Philadelphia and at family wedding receptions and events; and taking care of his grandchildren and yard.
Services for Rich will be held Tuesday November 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM in Zion United Church of Christ at Baltic with the Rev. Dr. Monte Canfield officiating. Burial will follow in Halifax Cemetery located south of Baltic in Coshocton County. Calling hours will be held Monday from 4 to 8 PM in the Smith-Varns Funeral Home at 1018 W. Main St. Sugarcreek and one hour prior to services at the church on Tuesday. Memorial contributions may be made to Zion United Church of Christ at Baltic or Community Hospice of Tuscarawas, Stark & Carroll County at 716 Commercial Ave. S.W. New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663. For those unable to attend please visit the funeral home’s web site to share a memory and sign the guest register.