By Rick Palsgrove
Former Groveport City Councilman and long time Gahanna-Lincoln High School
teacher, principal, and track coach Ed Rarey passed away on April 19. He was 89.
Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp said he received the news of Rarey’s passing with “a heavy heart.”
“He was a positive influence on my public service over the years,” said Westcamp. “He was a strong proponent of safety and for providing things for the kids of the community. He didn’t like taking credit for things, he just wanted to get things done. A phrase he used was, ‘Lead, follow, or get out of the way.’ He was family. He will be missed. God bless the Rarey family.”
Rarey, born in 1929, was a life-long resident of Groveport. He graduated from Groveport High School in 1948 and lettered in track and football. He attended Otterbein College, earning a bachelor’s degree in education in 1952. While in college, he played center on the football team. After graduation, he taught math and science for five years until he became a principal at Gahanna Lincoln Elementary School where he served until 1990. He also earned a master’s degree in education from Ohio State University. He coached track and field for 62 years and cross country for 30 years. He earned many state and national coaching awards over the years.
Rarey was elected to Groveport Village Council in 1993 and served until March 2017. While on council he was a strong proponent for parks and recreation. He helped to spearhead the purchase of the land for Groveport Park and Cruiser Park. He served on committees supporting the design and construction of the Groveport Recreation/Senior Center and Aquatic Center. He supported the purchase of the once private golf club, The Willows Golf Course. The 18 hole course re-opened as a public course, The Links At Groveport, in 2006. He was an advocate of the city’s sidewalk program and wanted the city of Groveport to be connected to the Metro Parks Trail System, which led to the construction of the Foor Leisure Path. He was instrumental in the city’s new water plant, which became operational in July 2015 and provides water to approximately half of city residents.
“Ed was always a pillar of the community,” said Councilman Scott Lockett. “Everything he did was for the good of the community.”
Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert, who served with Rarey for many years on council, said it was a pleasurable experience to work with Rarey.
“He was a true statesman,” said Hilbert. “He had knowledge and was always willing to share it. It’s the passing of an era.”
Councilman Ed Dildine noted that Rarey was influential in two towns – Groveport and Gahanna.
“That just can’t be matched,” said Dildine. “I wish I knew half the history that Ed knew. It’s a sad day for Groveport.”
Council President Shawn Cleary said Rarey was always willing to help.
“When my dad was ill and in the hospital, Ed made sure my mom was able to go see my dad in the hospital,” said Cleary. “Ed will be missed.”
Councilwoman Becky Hutson said, “Ed was a huge influence on me. He has a special place in my heart.”
Added Councilman Chad Grashel, “Ed always left a situation better than when he found it.”
As a resident, Rarey volunteered his time by serving on the Groveport Heritage and Preservation Society, Cemetery Committee and Groveport Madison High School Alumni Committee. He is a member of the Groveport Madison High School Alumni Hall of Fame and the City of Groveport’s Hall of Honor.