- Edward Harstine died Sept. 25 of COVID-19 at the age of 73. His funeral is 11 a.m. Saturday at West Lafayette Baptist Church.
- He served as a teacher and principal for Ridgewood Schools and was GED Coordinator and case manager for Coshocton County Job and Family Services.
- Harstine was also a basketball referee, member West Lafayette UMC and member of the Newcomerstown Elks Lodge.
- Harstine is being remembered for his passion for education and helping others to realize and live up to their potential.
COSHOCTON — Edward Harstine is being remembered by family and colleagues as a local champion of education and encouraging people to live up to their potential. Harstine died on Sept. 25 at the age of 73 of COVID-19.
He was a teacher in the Ridgewood District from 1969 to 1983 and served as a principal at Fresno and Plainfield Elementary schools from 1990 to 1999.
After retirement from the district, he became the GED coordinator and case worker at Coshocton County Job and Family Services for about 10 years. He was also a basketball referee, member of West Lafayette United Methodist Church and member of the Newcomerstown Elks Lodge for 49 years.
Daniel Brenneman, director of Coshocton County JFS, and Ed Zinkon, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act specialist and career counselor, worked alongside Harstine at JFS and were students of his in school.
Zinkon, with a laugh, remembered they didn’t get along when they first met in sixth grade. However, Harstine had a great influence on him over the years as a mentor, colleague and friend. Over the last few years, Harstine went to see Zinkon play music across the area.
“He was a big part of my life, and I’m not sure he really understood what a big part of a lot of people’s lives he was over the years. He touched a lot of people’s daily lives as an educator and some of his other activities,” Zinkon said. “He was just selfless and dedicated to what he did. He was dedicated to helping young people and was very community minded.”
Brenneman first met Harstine by serving as his paperboy. Harstine was then his sixth grade teacher and seventh grade football coach. Later on, they worked together at JFS.
Brenneman remembered a time when Harstine worked with a man to get his CDL to become an over-the-road truck driver. He needed a little money until he got his first paycheck so he could eat and get a shower at truck stops while driving. Brenneman said he came in later and thanked JFS for helping him out. They didn’t. Harstine took money out of his own pocket for the man and never told anyone.
“He wanted people to succeed. With kids, but also in the adult realm, he was passionate about meeting people where they were instead of an unrealistic expectation level. His passion was to take someone at face value where they were and to use the tools we had available to us to work them ahead,” Brenneman said. “He was definitely in it for the right reasons. He wanted to see people succeed.”
His daughter, Jennifer Hahn, said growing up he always pressed the importance of education upon her and her siblings, Travis Harstine and Misty Siddle. Hahn became a teacher and her sister also has a childhood development degree.
Hahn said her dad started teaching in the Ridgewood district prior to graduating college because of a teacher shortage. He graduated from Ridgewood and wanted to help them out when in need. And while he went to Malone University in Canton, returning home was important to him.
Since Harstine’s passing, Hahn said they’ve received an outpouring of support and condolences from the community in person, over the phone and through social media.
“He was very dedicated to our community. He always wanted to be involved in all the sporting events. He always wanted to be there no matter if his grandkids were playing or if it was just a Ridgewood sporting event, he wanted to be there,” Hahn said.
Calling hours for Harstine are from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at West Lafayette Baptist Church. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the church with burial following at Fairfield Cemetery.