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William L. "Bill" ShortsMay 27, 1925 ~ June 9, 2017 (age 92)
William L. “Bill” Shorts, Sr., age 92, passed away June 9 in Ft. Myers surrounded by his loving family. Bill was born May 27, 1925 in Sharon, Pennsylvania to Loyal and Maude (Bowden) Shorts. He attended Sharon High School and served in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific during WWII. After the service, he attended Youngstown State University, and graduated from Cleveland College of Mortuary Science in 1950. He worked at a Warren funeral home before moving to Ravenna in 1954 to established the Shorts Funeral Home and Ambulance Service. In 1975 he opened his second funeral home in Streetsboro. Bill quickly became active in the community joining Grace Episcopal Church (serving as Senior Warden several times) and the Ravenna Rotary Club (serving as President 1968-69 and becoming a Paul Harris Fellow). He was also a past board member of the Portage County Society for Crippled Children & Adults, the Ravenna Area Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Portage County, and the Ravenna Jaycees. Always supportive of the youth of the community, Bill was a past board member and Honorary Life Board Member of the Portage County Boys’ Club and helped build their facility. He sponsored many little league baseball teams and helped establish the Ravenna Rams Pee-Wee football program in the 1960s. Also active in veterans’ affairs, Bill was a member of the Portage County Chapter of the Disabled American Veterans, served as Post Commander of Ravenna American Legion #331 and was a member of Ravenna VFW #1055. Bill took an Honors’ Flight to Washington. While operating his ambulance service, Bill was an EMT-A and CPR instructor for the American Red Cross, a member of the Ohio State Patrol Auxiliary, and a member of the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary. He was appointed to serve as Ravenna City Health Commissioner by Mayor David Green in 1957 and held that position until 1976. An avid antique automobile collector, Bill was known for showing his cars at local shows and driving them in many area parades. His 1920 Buick once took first place at the Buick National Show and was sold to a collector in England. He was a member of the Buick Car Club of America, Olds-Reo Car Club of America, and the Antique Car Club of America. Active in Masonic orders, Bill was a member of F&AM Unity #12 in Ravenna, Valley of Canton, Portage County Shrine Club, Tadmore Temple in Akron, Loyal Order of Jesters #80 of Akron, Arabba Shrine of Ft. Myers, Jesters #170, (the K Kops) in Florida. Bill voluntarily provided ambulatory transport for Shriner’s Children’s Hospitals. He was a life member of the Ravenna Elks #1076, Ravenna Eagles, and Ravenna Moose #1234. His professional memberships included the Ohio Funeral Directors Association (50+ year member), Ohio Embalmers Association, and the National Funeral Directors Association. Both of his funeral homes have been recognized for their contributions to the community. In 1979 the Ravenna Jaycees presented him with their Community Improvement Award and in 1980 the Streetsboro Chamber of Commerce named his Streetsboro Chapel ‘Streetsboro’s Outstanding Business.’ In 1984 Bill received the Albert Caris Award from the Ravenna Jaycees and in 2002 he was selected as Grand Marshall for the Ravenna Memorial Day parade. After selling his funeral homes to his son Bill Jr. in 1990, he and his wife, Phyllis enjoyed spending more time at their home in Ft. Myers and traveling around the world. Taking up golf later in life, he became an avid golfer and played as often as possible. In their community of Seven Lakes Golf and Tennis Club, Bill participated in the Men’s Golf League, Men’s Club (having served as president), Salama, and ROMEOs. In 2011 he was name the Men’s Club first Veteran of the Year. He is survived by his wife Phyllis (Thomas) of 68 years, son Bill Jr. (Malia) of Ft. Myers, and daughters Judy Appleyard of Phoenix, and Susan (Dr. Harold) Putt of Oro Valley, Arizona. He also leaves behind five grandchildren, and one great-grandson. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 16 at St. Hilary’s Episcopal Church in Fort Myers with Rev. Charles Cannon officiating. Memorial services to be held at Grace Episcopal Church Friday, September 22 at 11 am with the Rev. Carol Evans officiating. A reception will be held in the fellowship hall following services. Private internment will take place. Memorials may be made to Grace Episcopal Church or donors favorite charity.