Longtime Fenwick supporter dies on festival weekend

Ed Dobrozsi, who was involved in numerous Middletown organizations, died Sunday. He was 71.

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Ed Dobrozsi, who was involved in numerous Middletown organizations, died Sunday. He was 71.

Ed Dobrozsi, 71, was a natural leader.

A man who dedicated most of his adult life to the Middletown community died on the last day of the John XXIII Festival.

Edward J. “Ed” Dobrozsi died Sunday morning after volunteering all week at the festival. He was 71.

Born and raised in Middletown, he graduated from Fenwick High School in 1967 and attended Miami University. He was inducted into the Fenwick Hall of Achievement in 2010, and two years later the football stadium at John XXIII was named in his honor.

He was involved with Dobrozsi Insurance for more than 50 years and was a member of the Speaker’s Bureau of the Ohio Insurance Institute.

Bill Becker, Middletown’s former police chief, struggled as he talked about his longtime relationship with Dobrozsi.

“He was like a brother to me,” Becker said fighting back tears. “We were together almost every day.”

Becker said he volunteered at the John XXIII Festival until about midnight Saturday, then received a text about 1:30 a.m. from Dobrozsi with the festival’s financial information. A few hours later, Dobrozsi died.

“This community will miss him and all of us will miss him,” Becker said.

John XXIII Principal Dawn Pickerill said after she heard about Dobrozsi’s death there was talk Sunday morning about canceling the last day of the three-day festival. But his family, his wife of 39 years, Nora, and son, Evan, 33, insisted the festival continue because that’s what Dobrozsi would have wanted.

Pickerill said John XXIII “would not be the school it is today” without Dobrozsi’s dedication.

When she was hired as principal in 2013, outgoing Principal Brenda Neu handed her a rolodex and said there’s one card she couldn’t lose. It had Dobrozsi’s phone number.

That number came in handy one year when Pickerill was vacationing in Hilton Head and she received a call from Middletown Division of Police. A windstorm had blown a portable toilet from the school’s athletic fields onto University Boulevard.

“Of course, I called Ed,” she said with a laugh. “He had the biggest servant heart of anyone I ever met. He always asked, ‘What can I get you? What do you need?’ The man never had a bad day.”

He learned the importance of “service to others” during his Catholic education and from his parents, his wife said.

He was a member of Holy Family Parish, served on St. John’s Parish Council and Holy Family Athletic Board and was a member of the John Paul II Council 1610 Knights of Columbus.

His community involvement included St. John XXIII School and the festival, Middletown Safety Council and the Safety Town, the Police Advisory Board, Ohio Balloon Challenge, Light-Up Middletown, the Lions Club and refereeing basketball for many years.

David Pearce, treasurer of the Ohio Challenge, called Dobrozsi “a natural leader and a tireless volunteer” who never asked anyone to complete a task he hadn’t done.

“He was easy to follow because he had a lot of experience and he could solve problems,” Pearce said. “When you were on a committee and Ed was at the table, you knew the event was going to be successful. His handprints are all over Middletown. Ed is everywhere. He was one of those people you love and respect because he wanted to make the community better.”

Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Holy Family Parish-St. John Church, 1405 First Ave., Middletown, with the Rev. John Civille as celebrant. Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Thursday at Wilson-Schramm-Spaulding Funeral Home, 3805 Roosevelt Blvd.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Ed Dobrozsi Memorial Fund at St. John XXIII School, 3806 Manchester Road, Middletown, OH 45042.

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In 2012, the football field at John XXIII in Middletown was named after Ed Dobrozsi, who died Sunday. He was 71. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

In 2012, the football field at John XXIII in Middletown was named after Ed Dobrozsi, who died Sunday. He was 71. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
In 2012, the football field at John XXIII in Middletown was named after Ed Dobrozsi, who died Sunday. He was 71. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

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