My guess is there are few people in Lima who didn’t know of Vince Koza.
He did the sports report on TV for what seemed like forever. Then he moved over to radio, hosting talk shows on morning and afternoon drive shifts and broadcasting high school sporting events in the evening. He even penned a newspaper column at one time.
But most of all, The Koz — as he was known — stood out because he truly loved this city. Loved the people, the schools, the kids. Loved working downtown.
Vince was a cheerleader when it came to anything Lima, and he wasn’t shy about telling you so.
That’s why so many people were saddened to hear about his death Friday at age 61. We all knew he was ill — he shared that with a community he looked upon as family — and we knew the prognosis wasn’t good. But we really didn’t want to think about a Lima without Vince Koza. The two went together like a Kewpee and a pickle on top.
In a city that loves its sports, Vince Koza became a legend.
Going on four decades, he picked the brains of coaches, celebrated their triumphs and made the athletes he covered feel like they were million dollar superstars.
Few people loved their profession as much as Vince. In that regard, he was a rare breed. Vince didn’t look at his time working in sports as a “job” — it was more of a passion. In so many ways, he was a kid at heart.
The Koz grew up in the Cleveland suburb of Streetsboro and never lost his loyalty to the Browns, Indians and Cavs. Like all Cleveland fans, he was known to proclaim, “Wait until next year.”
He came to Lima in 1980 after graduating from Ohio University. Any thoughts he had of using Lima as a stepping stone in his journalism career ended in the the newsroom of WLIO-TV when a redhead named Holly Geaman caught his eye and stole his heart. It couldn’t have worked out better. They were married 30 years, enjoyed great careers together — both are members of the Associated Press Broadcasters Hall of Fame — and were proud parents of twin daughters, Brittany and Sarah.
Not surprisingly, the years would see Vince become a popular emcee for community events, church groups and service clubs.
Not all cities are blessed to have someone like Vince Koza. He would have corrected you for saying that, though. In his mind, he was the one blessed to be able to call Lima his home.
Fittingly, calling hours for The Koz will be held at the Lima Senior High School gymnasium, where Vince covered so many games. They will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and one hour prior to Thursday’s 10:30 a.m. service at St. Gerard Catholic Church.
ROSES AND THORNS: After four decades of working with children, a Lima woman is walking in the rose garden.
Rose: To Mary Collins, of Lima, who retired after 43 years with the West Ohio Community Action Partnership, formerly known as the Lima Allen Council on Community Affairs. She made the difference in the lives of many young children, beginning there in 1976 as a teaching assistant with Headstart and later becoming an education coordinator and classroom supervisor.
Rose: To Gene Warnecke, who has retired after 32 years of public service, the last 26 as mayor of Glandorf.
Rose: To Mike Williams, who owns the Gilboa Quarry in Putnam County. An estimated 20 to 30 scuba divers from around the United States gathered at the quarry Wednesday for the annual New Year’s Day dive, which has been held every since the quarry’s opening in 1990.
Rose: To Mary Kay Verhoff, of Columbus Grove, who had her idea published for the third straight year in the nationally syndicated comic strip “Pluggers.” Her most recent one came Saturday: “A Plugger has always had a GoFundMe account.
Rose: To Delphos native and Lt. Col. Brian P. Huysman of the United States Marine Corps who assumed command of the Wounded Warrior Battalion (West) at Camp Pendleton, California.
Thorn: A bizarre incident saw Allen County Sheriff Matt Treglia get hit by a bullet from someone bringing in the new year with celebratory gunfire. The bullet fell from the sky just five minutes into 2020. It hit a Lima Police Department vehicle then ricocheted through an open window of the sheriff’s cruiser. It whizzed just inches past the face of Maj. Todd Mohler, who was sitting with Treglia in the vehicle, and struck the sheriff in his bullet-proof vest.
Thorn: The Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office had to warn drivers to be extra cautious on Wuebker Road after several cows got out of their enclosure from a nearby farm.
Thorn: To the culprit who committed a Christmas Day burglary in the 5900 block of Creps Road in Harrod.
PARTING SHOT: If you’re struggling to quit all your bad habits in the new year, remember, no one likes a quitter.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.