Eugene M. ''Gene'' Sofranko, 79, President & CEO of Lorain Glass Co.

Photo of Eugene M. ''Gene''   Sofranko A lifelong passion for his family, his faith, the community and local business were the hallmarks of Eugene M. "Gene" Sofranko, one of Lorain's top citizens and civic leaders for several decades. Mr. Sofranko, 79, died Thursday, July 2, 2009, surrounded by family in his Sheffield Lake home.

Born in Lorain, one of eight children, Mr. Sofranko attended parochial schools here and graduated from St. Mary's High School. He enlisted in the Air Force, attaining the rank of staff sergeant, and served four years during the Korean War, including 30 months in Panama as an air traffic control tower operator.

While in the Air Force, he married his high school sweetheart and beloved soul mate, Betty Kosman. The Sofrankos celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary last month. They have nine children, two sons and seven daughters, 28 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Throughout their married life, they found great joy in each other and enjoyed a full and rich life including many trips with friends and family to Hawaii, Italy, England, Martha's Vineyard, Chicago, New York, Notre Dame football games and Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises. An avid runner, Gene ran "around the world" by logging 26,000 miles over 32 years from 1967-1999.

Sofranko began working at the Lorain Glass Company in 1955, becoming its president and general manager in 1957. Under his leadership, the company grew into one of Lorain's top locally owned businesses and founded a sister firm, Lakeland Glass. Over the past fifty years, Mr. Sofranko was recognized as a dynamo in business and civic work, garnering many top community honors while serving in virtually every civic organization. During his career, he served as president of several organizations including the Greater Lorain Chamber of Commerce, Lorain Sports Hall of Fame, Lorain Lions Club, St. Mary's Holy Name Society and the Lorain International Festival. He was named Outstanding Man of the Year in 1973 by the Lorain Jaycees and honored in recent years with the Fidelitas Award from Lorain Catholic High School. He also served as chairman for the Lorain County March of Dimes campaign in the early sixties. Sofranko was active on many corporate boards including Lorain National Bank, St. Joseph's Hospital, where he served as chairman of the Board of Trustees and a member of the Parents Council of St. Mary's College (IN).

A man of deep faith who was rarely without his rosary, Mr. Sofranko was a lifelong parishioner and key contributor to St. Mary's Church in Lorain. He was a lecter and on the parish finance council. His life will be celebrated at St. Mary's on Tuesday, July 7 with in church visitation from 9:00 am - 10:00 am followed by the funeral mass beginning at 10:00 am. Private family burial will be held in Calvary Cemetery in Lorain. Visitation will be held at Gluvna-Shimo-Hromada Funeral Chapel, 3224 Broadway Avenue, Lorain, on Monday July 6, from 3-9 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations to the St. Mary's Food Pantry, 307 7th St, Lorain, OH 44052, would be deeply appreciated.

He is survived by his devoted wife, Betty (nee Kosman), loving children Christopher of Sheffield Lake, Kevin (Laurie) of Avon Lake, Karen (Michael) Ploszek of St. Charles (IL), Ann (Fritz) Shadley of Cincinnati, Sue (Scott) Pedersen of Barrington (IL), Betsy (Joseph) Tedesco of Downers Grove (IL), Pat (Michael) Smith of Lakewood, Jean (Mark) Reinhold of Lakewood, Sallie (Rob) Hoelscher of Westlake; 28 grandchildren, one great grandchild and brothers Paul, Ray, William, Thomas and sister, Martha Kuncel.

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