John F. “Jack” Kuffner served in the U.S. Navy from 1946 to 1948. But it’s Kuffner’s service after the service that landed him among the 15 Ohioans in the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
Kuffner, who was a resident of St. Marys, died Feb. 28, 2013, at 84. He served as the assistant prosecuting attorney for Auglaize County for 24 years, prosecuting attorney from 1967 to ‘68 and was a judge in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court, during which time he received the Ohio Supreme Court Award for “Superior Judicial Service.”
The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame was established in 1992 by Gov. George Voinovich to recognize the postmilitary achievements of veterans, according to the hall of fame website.
“The Hall of Fame Executive Committee, comprised entirely of veterans, serves as advisors for the Hall of Fame and selects no more than 20 inductees annually from nominations provided by all citizens of Ohio. Men and women chosen for induction into the Hall come from all eras, all branches of service and all walks of life. The members of the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame are honored in a permanent display on the second floor of the Riffe Center in downtown Columbus.”
The Class of 2013 will be inducted in a ceremony at 11 a.m.Thursday at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Columbus.
Besides his career in law, Kuffner, who graduated from Memorial High School in 1946, was deeply involved in his community. In the 1950s, he served on the St. Marys Board of Health and the Western Auglaize County Red Cross board. Among his many other achievements, he served on the St. Marys United Way Fund Board, was a member of the Auglaize County Democratic Executive Committee, a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9289 and American Legion Post 323. Kuffner was a charter member of the St. Marys Kiwanis Club and was active in the Masons.
At the time of his death, he was serving as a member of the Auglaize County Veterans Service Commission. Kuffner and his wife, Alma, donated their woodland to the Heritage Trails Park District.
Among the 428 veterans in the hall of fame is another former Auglaize County resident — astronaut Neil A. Armstrong. The hall also includes six former presidents — William Henry Harrison, Benjamin Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield and William McKinley — and several Civil War generals, including William Tecumseh Sherman, Phil Sheridan and George Armstrong Custer. Football coaches Paul Brown and Woody Hayes are members, as are actors Clark Cable and Paul Newman, Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Feller and Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s restaurants.