COPLEY TWP.: Seven yellow roses and two candles lie on a black granite bench at the eastern edge of Copley Circle.
The bench, a permanent memorial to the victims of a mass shooting on Aug. 7, was dedicated at a private ceremony Saturday morning that 15 family members attended.
The names and likenesses of seven who died are engraved on the back of the bench: Russell Johnson , 67; his wife, Gudrun Johnson, 64; their son Bryan Johnson, 44; his daughter, Autumn Johnson, 16; her friend Amelia Shambaugh, 16; Craig Dieter, 51; and his son Scott, 11.
The shooting date is inscribed on the front edge of the seat.
“It is a lovely tribute” to the victims, Copley Township trustee Dale Panovich said.
The bench was a joint effort of Hummel Funeral Homes and Midwest Engraving and Midwest Everlasting Memorials of Wadsworth, which donated money, material and labor.
Kim Joyce, who along with her husband, David Joyce, are 1979 graduates of Copley High School and owners of Midwest Engraving and Midwest Everlasting Memorials, said they got together with Hummel and decided to donate the bench to the community.
“I think it is beautiful,” she said, and the bench is something “the families appreciate.”
The inscription with the laser engravings reads: “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
The website Quotegarden.com said the quote was found on a gravestone in Ireland.
Michael Mancari of Hummel Funeral Homes said the hope for the bench is “to leave a lasting tribute and memorial for the victims. This was an event that impacted the whole community of Copley.”
Postings on the Facebook page “In Loving Memory of Craig and his son Scott” praised the memorial.
One writer called it among the most beautiful and caring things she has seen.
“When I first saw this, I cried,” she wrote.
She said the bench also made her smile when she thought of fun memories.
“I can’t speak for everyone but I think this will help me in the healing process.” She thanked those responsible for the “wonderful memorial.”
Another writer asked for God to continue “to bless and heal their families and friends and the Copley” community.
Michael Hance, 51, also shot his girlfriend, Rebecca Dieter, 49, that day. She survived and was released from the hospital in September.
A Copley police officer shot and killed Hance.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.