John S. Collier

January 30, 1953 ~ March 16, 2024 (age 71) 71 Years Old
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John Collier Obituary

Honorable John S. Collier

January 30, 1953 – March 16, 2024

The Honorable John S. Collier passed away on March 16, 2024 at the age of 71.  He was born January 30, 1953, to John and Virginia (Tawney) Collier of Deshler. 

John attended Deshler High School and was a graduate of Patrick Henry High School’s class of 1971.  He went on to attend Wittenberg University, where on the third day of classes, he met the love of his life Laurie Lesher.  They married on July 12, 1974, in Grove City, Pennsylvania.

In John’s words “the best decision I ever made was asking Laurie to marry me".  They shared 53 years together, living most of those years in Deshler, where they raised their four children.  John was a proud and engaged husband, dad, and “papa”.  He was the consummate caretaker and always had his family at the center of his daily priorities.

Faith was the focus of John’s life and family.  He was an active church leader and member of the Oakdale United Methodist Church.  John valued community spirit as well as a sense of harmony and peace, not only in Deshler but at their summer home in Lakeside Chautauqua.  At Lakeside, he participated in Chautauqua Literary & Scientific Circle discussions, foreign affairs discussions, and enjoyed front porch talks with those who stopped by his cottage.  One of his biggest joys was renovating a 1930’s Lakeside cottage.  His favorite lake activities included walking his dog, fishing off the dock, early morning donut runs and making blueberry pancake breakfasts for eager grand kids. 

John’s other passion was practicing law.  He earned a BA in Economics from Wittenberg in 1975.  While at Wittenberg he was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and a Shifter.  After graduation he served as an assistant city administrator in New Carlisle for a year before completing his J.D at the University of Toledo School of Law in 1979, passing the bar exam that same year.

Over the course of his legal career, he served as a private practice attorney in Bowling Green, Toledo, and Deshler.  This included 25 years as a partner with Gribbell, Sunderman, and Collier in his hometown of Deshler (1981-2006).  At which time he also served as village solicitor for the villages of Deshler, Hamler, Holgate, Malinta and Cygnet.  During his private practice years, he also presided as Municipal Court Judge in Henry County until it became a full time position.  He was appointed to this position by former Governor George Voinovich in 1995 and served until May 2011.  John was instrumental in the renovation and moving of the Municipal Court to its present location.

In May 2011, he was sworn in as Henry County Common Pleas Court Judge, (General and Probate Divisions), where he served until his retirement in September 2021.  As a judge, he held various offices and served on numerous committees.  He was a mentor to young attorneys and was known as a fair, compassionate judge who never let the robe go to his head.  His most significant contribution was serving as president of the Association of Municipal/County Judges of Ohio.

John was also known throughout the community as “Coach Collier.”  He coached Little League, Pony League and ACME baseball to inspire as many youth as possible in his community.  He also donated his time to Patrick Henry JV and Varsity teams helping with practice and tracking pitches from the dugout.  Some of his fondest memories were playing baseball under the tutelage of Coach Garrold Parratt.  John was the first baseman on the District Championship team of 1970, as well as a member of Patrick Henry’s first football team.  John was an assistant varsity baseball coach for Patrick Henry’s state title teams in 2008 and 2009.  He played a pivotal role as one of the founding members of the Garrold Parratt Committee; his contributions included: fundraising, renovations, and the establishment of the baseball complex. As a dedicated Big Red sports fan and volunteer, he ran the clock/scoreboard for Patrick Henry’s football and basketball programs for over a decade.

John was preceded in death by his parents, John P. Collier and Mary Virginia Collier (Tawney) and his son, Mathew S. Collier.  He is survived by his wife, Laurie; daughters, Lynsey Davis (Matt) of Sarasota, Florida; Lauren Collier-Meienburg (Scott) and Katelyn Collier (William Ocheske) of Deshler.  John was blessed by nine grandchildren; Zane & Annika Davis; Jackson, Maddox & Finn Meienburg;  Ainsley Ocheske, Knolyn Collier, Knox & Knightley Collier-Ocheske.  Siblings; Steve (Annette) Collier of Toledo; Connie Collier (Judy Oslin) of Kent; Kim Collier of Seattle, Washington; and brother-in-law, Curt (Jane) Lesher of Ashland. Nieces & Nephews; Dave (Logan) Collier, Adam (Allison) Collier, John Patrick Collier, Emma & Owen Begley-Collier, Andrew (Shilpa) Lesher, Jordan (Corrie) Lesher, Connor Lesher and Anna Lesher. Finally, his loyal labrador retriever Tillie, who stayed by his side until the end.

The family would like to thank the endless stream of individuals in the community for coming into our home with food and sharing stories to make John laugh and smile; Parkinson’s Place of Sarasota for the online community and therapy classes in which he participated for the past two years, Pastors Chris Walter and James Irvin, Hospice of Northwest Ohio and community members Cathy Miller, Christine Grose and Jessica Rivera for their comfort, love, and care given throughout the past few years.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 on Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 220 West Elm Street, Deshler.  A fellowship luncheon will immediately follow in the church hall.  Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 at Feehan-Rodenberger Funeral Home, Deshler and from 10-11 a.m., Wednesday prior to the services at the church.

Donations can be made by check or cash to the Mathew S. Collier Scholarship; Garrold Parratt Baseball Field, Friends of the Deshler Library, or online to Parkinson's Place of Sarasota -

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March 19, 2024

2:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Feehan-Rodenberger Funeral Home
133 East Maple Street
Deshler, OH 43516

March 20, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Immanuel Lutheran Church
220 West Elm Street
Deshler, OH 43516

Funeral Service
March 20, 2024

11:00 AM
Immanuel Lutheran Church
220 West Elm Street
Deshler, OH 43516

Fellowship Luncheon
March 20, 2024

12:00 PM
Immanuel Lutheran Church
220 West Elm Street
Deshler, OH 43516


Mathew S. Collier Memorial Scholarship
611 North Perry Street, Napoleon OH 43545
Tel: 1-419-966-7181

In Care of Henry County Community Foundation

Garrold Parratt Memorial Field
6900 State Route 18, Hamler OH 43524
Tel: 1-419-274-3015

In Care of Patrick Henry Local Schools

Friends of Deshler Library
208 North East Street, Deshler OH 43516
Tel: 1-419-278-3616

In Care of Deshler Edwin Wood Memorial Library

Parkinson's Place of Sarasota
5969 Cattleridge Blvd., #100, Sarasota FL 34232
Tel: 1-941-893-4188


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