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Joseph O. Lane (1924-2002)

Joseph O. Lane, who was born Dec. 3, 1924, was best known as the president and fourth-generation owner of Lane Funeral Homes,Inc. Under this role, he received many awards, including Ohio Funeral Directors Association 50-year Service Award in 2002 and the Pursuit of Excellence Award from the National Funeral Directors Association in 1981.

The son of Joseph B. and Hallie Cline Lane, he was also the president of Lane LifeTrans Paramedic Ambulance and the Lane Monument Company. He served on the board of directors of the Farmers National Bank of Canfield for 34 years.

lane1.jpgLane was a 1942 graduate of Mineral Ridge High School, where he was salutatorian of his class. He received his bachelor's degree from the College of Wooster in 1949 and his mortuary science degree from the Cleveland College of Mortuary Science in 1950, where he was class president. During high school and college, he was a three-sport letterman playing basketball, football and baseball. He also served his country in the U.S. Army during WWII, playing basketball for the 102th Infantry Division team and was named All-League Member of the 406th Infantry football team.

Over the years, he consistently sponsored sports teams of all ages for football, baseball, softball, track and bowling. He was the Ohio Kiwanis District singles bowling champion in 1968 and 1972. He was inducted into the Mahoning Valley Bowling Hall of Fame in 1988. Lane was also inducted into the Austintown Girl's Softball Hall of Fame and Mahoning Valley Bowling Sponsor's Hall of Fame. In 2002, he received the Curbstone Coach's Lifetime Achievement Award. Lane was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Mineral Ridge for 63 years, where he served as Deacon and was a Life Elder, Austintown Growth Foundation, Austintown Historical Society, the Austintown Township Hall of Fame in 1983, the Niles Historical Society, the Aut Mori Grotto, St. Johns Commandery No. 020 Knights Templar, the Order of White Shrine of Jerusalem, the Youngstown Shrine Club, St. David's Society of Youngstown, the Independent Order of Oddfellows, the Knights of Pythias, American Legion, Canfield Harness Horse Association, Ohio Funeral Directors Association and the National Funeral Directors Association and was a life member of the VFW Post No. 4192 in Mineral Ridge.

Lane served as past president of the Tri-County Funeral Directors Association, and he organized and was the first president of the Mineral Ridge Volunteer Fire Department. He was also a 32nd degree Mason. He was a highly decorated WWII U.S. Army combat veteran receiving a battlefield commission at age 19 in Aptweiler, Germany. He was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and Purple Heart with Cluster while serving with Company K of the 406th Regiment, 102nd Infantry Division. He was discharged as a first lieutenant in 1946. He was a member of the National Order of Battlefield Commissions and received a diploma award from the French authorities relating to the liberation of France during WWII.

lane2.jpgLane was past Lt. Gov. and president of the Austintown Kiwanis Club, where he also served as Ohio district chairman. In 1997, he received the George F. Hixon Award as an outstanding Kiwanian. He was the International Interclub Chairman for 50 years and was honored by the city of Orillia, Ontario, Canada for his dedication to continued interaction between the Kiwanis Club of Austintown and the Kiwanis Club of Orillia.

In 2000, he made a gift to Weathersfield Township Schools to launch the construction of the Joe Lane Sports Complex, a 2,500 seat stadium and field, which was dedicated in 2001. Lane served as toastmaster at many functions throughout the Mahoning Valley.

He died Saturday, June 22, 2002, at his residence from congestive heart failure following a fivemonth illness. Lane's devotion to family and friends and his commitment to the community will be greatly missed.