Trustee Achievement Award
Ralph “Eddie” Farris
Ralph “Eddie” Farris was born in Columbus, Ohio, on February 12, 1914. He graduated from North High School in 1932. He married his high school sweetheart, Remah J. Monroe, in 1935. They had one son, William Edward Farris born in 1936.
He began his fast pitch softball career in Columbus in the early 1940s, playing in church league and city leagues and quickly won recognition playing for numerous city, state and regional tournament-winning teams that included Bobb Chevrolet, Ferguson State Auditors, and Paul’s Lunch. He was the only catcher in the state to have caught the first three pitchers inducted into the Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame. Those outstanding pitchers were Clyde “Dizzy” Kirkendall, Warren “Fireball” Gerber, and Ralph Solt.
Eddie’s prowess as a team leader did not go unnoticed. In 1949, T.W. Miller talked him into moving his family to Ashland to be player-manager of the Ashland Indians. He was initially employed by Lou Fritz at his new auto dealership as an accountant.
While playing and managing the Ashland Indians, Ashland County Lumber, and Faultless Rubbermen from 1949 to 1965, the teams continued their winning ways and gained statewide recognition.
While there were many highlights during his career, perhaps the most memorable would be in 1964, when the Faultless team became the First Team in the history of the Ohio softball tournament to come out of the loser’s bracket to win the state championship. The team went on to finish as runner-up for the national championship. That year was also the first time an Ohio District Six team won the state title. The team finished the season with a record of 68 wins and 13 losses. In his 37-year career in fastpitch softball, he never played or managed a team with a losing record.
Eddie even applied his coaching talents to basketball, coaching the Faultless Cagers for several years, including winning a Mansfield Jaycee Tourney and finishing as runners-up in the YMCA league one year.
In the early 1950s, Harry Gill Sr. hired him as Office Manager of the National Latex Products Company. In his 13 years at the Latex, he advanced to Comptroller and eventually to Executive Vice President and Secretary.
In the early 60s, T. W. Miller hired Eddie as Credit Manager of Faultless Rubber and in the mid-60s promoted him to Secretary of the new division of Faultless that opened in Spartanburg, South Carolina. After about two years Eddie returned to Ashland and accepted the post of General Manager of King Lanes from W. D. Miller. He assisted the Faultless team as business manager for several years.
Eddie actively supported the business and sports communities by serving as District Six Tournament Director, President of the Boosters Club for two years (eventually serving in all offices), as a Board Member of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce for two years, Ashland Country Club Board of Directors for two years, and Ashland County Industrial Safety Council as Program Chair, Vice Chairman and Chairman.
Eddie was active as a member of the Emmanuel United Brethren Church in Ashland, holding offices as Building Fund Financial Chairman, President of Men’s Club, Assistant Sunday School Superintendent, and Adult Class Sunday School Teacher.
He supported church league softball and basketball teams as well as Hot Stove and American Legion baseball teams. In addition he was a twenty-year member of Masonic Blue Lodge, Columbus and Ashland, Scottish Rite of Columbus, and Shrine in Cleveland.
Among Eddie’s other hobbies were golf and bowling. In 1963, he bowled his series high of 609 in the American Bowling Congress Championships in Buffalo, NY.
He passed away at age 57, in November of 1971, following a six-month battle with cancer. The 1972 Ed Farris Memorial Weekend Tournament was named in his honor. Wife, Remah continued to live in the Ashland-Mansfield area until her death in 1984. Eddie and Remah are survived by one son, William, daughter-in-law, Joyce Leaman Farris, one granddaughter, Nancy J. Farris-Thorpe, her husband, Duane, and two great grandchildren, Britany and Bradley, of Des Moines, Iowa.
Nominator: Jack Purtell