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Wanake Obituaries & Memorials

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Rev. J. David Pratt

As director-manager of Camp Wanake in 1979-82, Rev. J. David Pratt made a significant, positive impact on the camp’s long-term legacy, and he profoundly influenced those who served under his leadership.  The news of David’s death on May 20, 2022 saddened the hearts of all who knew him. 

David arrived at Camp Wanake in early 1979 with experience, energy, and a commitment to instilling excellence in all programs and ministries.  He raised up leaders, set high expectations, and delegated responsibilities.  While working under David, several summer staff members discerned and answered the call to full-time, ordained ministry.  “He was wise and often developed my skills while I wasn’t even aware of it,” Rev. Dr. Steve Bailey (summer staff 1980-82) observed recently.  “Everything important about ministry I first learned as a camp counselor.”  David was remarkably loyal to his former staff, visiting them across the country and even overseas when his travel brought him near, even after the passage of years.    

David was an innovator.  Drawing from his experiences as a camp director in Virginia, he applied fresh ideas to programs, spiritual development, activities and games, stories and songs, and even menu options.  He introduced overnight backpack trips in the Outpost program, launched a bicycle camp, and established off-season adult excursions to the Grand Canyon and the Caribbean.  On a personal crusade to advance nutrition, David eliminated junk and highly processed food from the kitchen supply line.  In hope of enabling more campfires to happen after dark without disrupting traditional bedtimes, he experimented one summer with suspending daylight savings time at camp, explaining with a smile that “special things”—meaning touches by the Holy Spirit—were more likely to happen around a campfire if the sun had set. While always the innovator, David took care to honor and extend Camp Wanake’s time-tested foundation of practicing small-group ministry and teaching kids about the love of Jesus through experiential living.  David affirmed the solid foundation laid before his arrival, giving it a fresh look and a new dose of enthusiasm. 

David was a remarkable “people person,” treating everyone with love and respect.  He took the time to listen, and he practiced empathy.  He was always ready to smile, and, while he never lost his temper, he could effectively apply a scowl when circumstances called for one. David found opportunity to lift up those in low places, to encourage everyone to demonstrate love in every possible instance, to bring the Gospel to life.  He taught and role-modeled intentional relationships, hospitality, and authentic faith. 

I was privileged to know David well over many years of relationship.  I first met him when I returned to Camp Wanake in the Spring of 1979 for my second summer on staff. Over the four summers I worked for him as counselor, Outpost director, and assistant director, I came to admire David’s values, theology, leadership, and good heartedness.  He taught me administrative skills that served me well during my own professional career.  When my wife Cathy and I married in 1982, we asked David to preside over the ceremony—and we were not the only camp couple he served in this capacity.  Through David’s pastoral counseling, we learned a lot about building a stable, mutually-supportive, Christ-centered marriage. 

When David accepted the directorship of Camp Highroad in Virginia in early 1983, we were naturally disappointed but also happy for him that he was moving “back home.”  As it turned out, Cathy and I caught up with David when my own career took us to northern Virginia for two years in the late 1980s.  On the evening we arrived in a U-Haul truck, with a newborn baby, and after a multi-day journey of a thousand miles through six states, David met us at the door of our rental condo to help me unload our furniture and belongings.  In the months that followed, he invited us to break bread in his home, and he took me fishing on the Shenandoah River and deer hunting at Camp Highroad.  He also recruited me to work weekends at Camp Highroad as a guide on the high ropes adventure course.  At Camp Highroad, I saw strong evidence that David continued to practice excellence in the role of camp director and pastor. 

John David Pratt was born in Athens, Tennessee on October 12, 1941 and was called to the ministry while attending summer camp in his youth.  He earned a B.A. in history at Tennessee Wesleyan College and an M.Div. at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, and he was ordained in the Tennessee Holston Conference of the Methodist Church in 1965.  After transferring to the Virginia Conference for family reasons, David was appointed director of Camp Overlook in the Harrisonburg and Winchester Districts in 1971.  After his service at Camp Wanake in 1979-82, David directed Camp Highroad in the Alexandria and Arlington Districts of Northern Virginia and briefly pastored at Lincolnia United Methodist Church in Alexandria before his retirement from the full-time ministry in 2000.   

David is survived by his only child, son Edward (Susan) Pratt, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. 

David was remembered in a Celebration of Life service at Camp Highroad on September 10, 2022, the Rev. Tim Tate officiating, and was laid to rest in Camp Highroad’s EcoEternity Forest.      

Respectfully submitted,

Dr. Peter L. Hahn (summer staff 1978-83)


Kathyrn (Kathy) Zagray

April 4, 1942 – December 4, 2021. Kathryn slipped into heaven after suffering for 5 1/2 years with vascular dementia. Her condition was exacerbated due to the isolation and restrictions placed on her during the lockdown. Nevertheless, she lived as full a life as possible during these past couple years.

 Kathy was preceded in death by her husband, Paul W. Zagray; both of her parents, Glenn and Kathryn Dailey; and her five older siblings (and spouses): Hazel Zarich, Geraldine (Fred) Butcher, Glenn Dailey, Elizabeth (Rich) Meeks, Dora (Don) Saintenoy.

 Kathy is survived by her daughter, Patricia (Wayne) Scott and their four daughters, Abigail (David Witsaman) Scott, Elizabeth (Scott) Shipkowski, Lydia and Esther Scott. The Scott family sacrificed greatly to care for their mother/grandmother for these past years. Her end-of-life was truly enhanced by their loving care for her.

Additionally, Kathy is survived by two sons, Peter (Debra) Zagray and Kevin (Kim) Zagray and their children, Brittany (Aaron) Ford, Brooke (Daniel Quintano) Zagray, Jensen, Joshua, and Jayce Zagray. Kathy was also survived by her sister-in-law, Ora Dailey and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends.

 Kathy trained as an x-ray technician but put that aside when she became a mom. After years of motherhood, she became a devoted and skilled secretary for various churches and organizations: the United Methodist Conference, Calvary UMC, Central Presbyterian, Canton Community Christmas. She was a member of Simpson UMC and attended Eden Church of the Brethren.

 Kathy leaves a legacy in the hearts of so many women due to her faithful involvement in their lives through Girl Scouting. Not only was she a scout herself, she was a leader of three different troops over the decades. Everyone knows of Kathy’s love for Girl Scouting and her love of the outdoors. When she couldn’t be outdoors, either camping or gardening, you could find her being creative with crafts and piecing quilts.

Our sincere gratitude to JRC Adult Day Care for the fun and engaging times she had with them. They provide a needed outlet for her energy. A huge thank you to Aultman Hospice and the compassionate nurses that cared for Kathy. Even more, her primary care nurse, who, it turns out, also cared for her husband, Paul in his last days 28 years ago.

 If you want to remember Kathy with a donation, please do so to Camp Wanake, 9463 Manchester Ave SW, Beach City, OH 44608. Camp Wanake held a special place in her heart. She spent time at Wanake as a youth and her family, to this day, makes lasting memories there. You may also make donations to Aultman Hospice, 2821 Woodlawn Ave. NW, Canton, OH 44708.

 Funeral service will be Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021 at 11:00 am in Eden Church of the Brethren with Pastor Wayne Scott officiating. Interment in Henry Warstler Cemetery. Friends may call one hour prior to the service on Thursday at the church from 10:00 – 11:00 am.


Donald (Don) Curie

February 11, 1939-March 12, 2022

A new star joined the evening sky shortly after sunset on March 12, 2022, as Donald Frederick Curie moved from this world to the next. Peacefully, with his beloved wife, Emily, and loved ones at his side he slipped away from a period of declining health that had stolen his body but never crushed his spirit, his mind or his joy for life. He wrote letters, welcomed visitors and told stories to the end. A member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Wooster, his faith allowed him calm acceptance and the peace of having no regrets.

Born on February 11, 1939, in Orrville, to Frederick and Mary (Bengelsdorf) Curie, Don lived the joys of small town boyhood. He delivered newspapers, performed magic acts and stood as officiant at neighborhood animal funerals. Don found his special place in front of the crowd and went on to spend much of his life there in one role or another.

After graduating from Orrville High in 1957, Don earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Science at Manchester College in Indiana before returning to Orrville to begin his life’s work as a teacher.  He met Emily Smith as they both began teaching at Orrville Junior High. Each was fascinated with the other. They were married on August 16, 1969, and spent 30 years sharing a ride to school.

At the helm of his 7th grade Life Science classroom, Don became a story told over and over by thousands of students. A man who never outgrew the boundless wonderment of childhood, he delighted students with critters and creatures. His specialty was bats, and he earned a reputation as a champion and savior for the misunderstood mammals. “Batman” spent decades on call for rescue operations with local law enforcement, handling the creatures as others might a stray kitten.  That same ethos extended to the oddballs and misfits in his classroom. Don said that his greatest joy as a teacher was seeing the moment when students, “Moved beyond the basics to make discoveries on their own.” He retired after 32 years in the profession.

In the summertime, Don and Emily shared great joy in entertaining nieces and nephews at their place in the country, camping out and participating in all the cooking-including Batcave pizza.

Parallel to and contiguous with his teaching career was Don’s passionate avocation of acting. Whether playing Ebenezer Scrooge, Fagan in Oliver or Albert Einstein in a one-man show the spotlight never dimmed for Don. He starred in dozens of local and regional productions over the years, gaining the love and respect of fellow actors and crew members, and the adoration of audiences all over Northeast Ohio.  Performing with The Magical Theatre Co., Akron Children’s Theater and the Wadsworth Footlighters among others, Don was also charter member of the Wayne County Performing Arts Council. Deeply interested in local history he was also a founding member of the Orrville Railroad Heritage Committee.

Preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, Wilbur Glenn “Jimmy”, David Bruce, and John Franklin Curie. Don is survived by Emily, his wife of 52 years, and sisters-in-law, Jane (Richard) Mathys, Bonnie (Don) Lee and Norma (Harold) Stockman along with many nieces, nephews and cousins. He also leaves behind an entire generation of former students, some who came to know him as a dear friend, inspiration and unintentional mentor on how to live a joyed-filled, wonderful and totally unique life by being exactly the person you wish to be.


Judith (Judy) Mayer

February 11, 1939-March 12, 2022

A new star joined the evening sky shortly after sunset on March 12, 2022, as Donald Frederick Curie moved from this world to the next. Peacefully, with his beloved wife, Emily, and loved ones at his side he slipped away from a period of declining health that had stolen his body but never crushed his spirit, his mind or his joy for life. He wrote letters, welcomed visitors and told stories to the end. A member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Wooster, his faith allowed him calm acceptance and the peace of having no regrets.

Born on February 11, 1939, in Orrville, to Frederick and Mary (Bengelsdorf) Curie, Don lived the joys of small town boyhood. He delivered newspapers, performed magic acts and stood as officiant at neighborhood animal funerals. Don found his special place in front of the crowd and went on to spend much of his life there in one role or another.

After graduating from Orrville High in 1957, Don earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Science at Manchester College in Indiana before returning to Orrville to begin his life’s work as a teacher.  He met Emily Smith as they both began teaching at Orrville Junior High. Each was fascinated with the other. They were married on August 16, 1969, and spent 30 years sharing a ride to school.

At the helm of his 7th grade Life Science classroom, Don became a story told over and over by thousands of students. A man who never outgrew the boundless wonderment of childhood, he delighted students with critters and creatures. His specialty was bats, and he earned a reputation as a champion and savior for the misunderstood mammals. “Batman” spent decades on call for rescue operations with local law enforcement, handling the creatures as others might a stray kitten.  That same ethos extended to the oddballs and misfits in his classroom. Don said that his greatest joy as a teacher was seeing the moment when students, “Moved beyond the basics to make discoveries on their own.” He retired after 32 years in the profession.

In the summertime, Don and Emily shared great joy in entertaining nieces and nephews at their place in the country, camping out and participating in all the cooking-including Batcave pizza.

Parallel to and contiguous with his teaching career was Don’s passionate avocation of acting. Whether playing Ebenezer Scrooge, Fagan in Oliver or Albert Einstein in a one-man show the spotlight never dimmed for Don. He starred in dozens of local and regional productions over the years, gaining the love and respect of fellow actors and crew members, and the adoration of audiences all over Northeast Ohio.  Performing with The Magical Theatre Co., Akron Children’s Theater and the Wadsworth Footlighters among others, Don was also charter member of the Wayne County Performing Arts Council. Deeply interested in local history he was also a founding member of the Orrville Railroad Heritage Committee.

Preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, Wilbur Glenn “Jimmy”, David Bruce, and John Franklin Curie. Don is survived by Emily, his wife of 52 years, and sisters-in-law, Jane (Richard) Mathys, Bonnie (Don) Lee and Norma (Harold) Stockman along with many nieces, nephews and cousins. He also leaves behind an entire generation of former students, some who came to know him as a dear friend, inspiration and unintentional mentor on how to live a joyed-filled, wonderful and totally unique life by being exactly the person you wish to be.


Donald (Don) Glessner

February 11, 1939-March 12, 2022

A new star joined the evening sky shortly after sunset on March 12, 2022, as Donald Frederick Curie moved from this world to the next. Peacefully, with his beloved wife, Emily, and loved ones at his side he slipped away from a period of declining health that had stolen his body but never crushed his spirit, his mind or his joy for life. He wrote letters, welcomed visitors and told stories to the end. A member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Wooster, his faith allowed him calm acceptance and the peace of having no regrets.

Born on February 11, 1939, in Orrville, to Frederick and Mary (Bengelsdorf) Curie, Don lived the joys of small town boyhood. He delivered newspapers, performed magic acts and stood as officiant at neighborhood animal funerals. Don found his special place in front of the crowd and went on to spend much of his life there in one role or another.

After graduating from Orrville High in 1957, Don earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Science at Manchester College in Indiana before returning to Orrville to begin his life’s work as a teacher.  He met Emily Smith as they both began teaching at Orrville Junior High. Each was fascinated with the other. They were married on August 16, 1969, and spent 30 years sharing a ride to school.

At the helm of his 7th grade Life Science classroom, Don became a story told over and over by thousands of students. A man who never outgrew the boundless wonderment of childhood, he delighted students with critters and creatures. His specialty was bats, and he earned a reputation as a champion and savior for the misunderstood mammals. “Batman” spent decades on call for rescue operations with local law enforcement, handling the creatures as others might a stray kitten.  That same ethos extended to the oddballs and misfits in his classroom. Don said that his greatest joy as a teacher was seeing the moment when students, “Moved beyond the basics to make discoveries on their own.” He retired after 32 years in the profession.

In the summertime, Don and Emily shared great joy in entertaining nieces and nephews at their place in the country, camping out and participating in all the cooking-including Batcave pizza.

Parallel to and contiguous with his teaching career was Don’s passionate avocation of acting. Whether playing Ebenezer Scrooge, Fagan in Oliver or Albert Einstein in a one-man show the spotlight never dimmed for Don. He starred in dozens of local and regional productions over the years, gaining the love and respect of fellow actors and crew members, and the adoration of audiences all over Northeast Ohio.  Performing with The Magical Theatre Co., Akron Children’s Theater and the Wadsworth Footlighters among others, Don was also charter member of the Wayne County Performing Arts Council. Deeply interested in local history he was also a founding member of the Orrville Railroad Heritage Committee.

Preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, Wilbur Glenn “Jimmy”, David Bruce, and John Franklin Curie. Don is survived by Emily, his wife of 52 years, and sisters-in-law, Jane (Richard) Mathys, Bonnie (Don) Lee and Norma (Harold) Stockman along with many nieces, nephews and cousins. He also leaves behind an entire generation of former students, some who came to know him as a dear friend, inspiration and unintentional mentor on how to live a joyed-filled, wonderful and totally unique life by being exactly the person you wish to be.


Fred Schmidt Jr.

February 11, 1939-March 12, 2022

A new star joined the evening sky shortly after sunset on March 12, 2022, as Donald Frederick Curie moved from this world to the next. Peacefully, with his beloved wife, Emily, and loved ones at his side he slipped away from a period of declining health that had stolen his body but never crushed his spirit, his mind or his joy for life. He wrote letters, welcomed visitors and told stories to the end. A member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Wooster, his faith allowed him calm acceptance and the peace of having no regrets.

Born on February 11, 1939, in Orrville, to Frederick and Mary (Bengelsdorf) Curie, Don lived the joys of small town boyhood. He delivered newspapers, performed magic acts and stood as officiant at neighborhood animal funerals. Don found his special place in front of the crowd and went on to spend much of his life there in one role or another.

After graduating from Orrville High in 1957, Don earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Science at Manchester College in Indiana before returning to Orrville to begin his life’s work as a teacher.  He met Emily Smith as they both began teaching at Orrville Junior High. Each was fascinated with the other. They were married on August 16, 1969, and spent 30 years sharing a ride to school.

At the helm of his 7th grade Life Science classroom, Don became a story told over and over by thousands of students. A man who never outgrew the boundless wonderment of childhood, he delighted students with critters and creatures. His specialty was bats, and he earned a reputation as a champion and savior for the misunderstood mammals. “Batman” spent decades on call for rescue operations with local law enforcement, handling the creatures as others might a stray kitten.  That same ethos extended to the oddballs and misfits in his classroom. Don said that his greatest joy as a teacher was seeing the moment when students, “Moved beyond the basics to make discoveries on their own.” He retired after 32 years in the profession.

In the summertime, Don and Emily shared great joy in entertaining nieces and nephews at their place in the country, camping out and participating in all the cooking-including Batcave pizza.

Parallel to and contiguous with his teaching career was Don’s passionate avocation of acting. Whether playing Ebenezer Scrooge, Fagan in Oliver or Albert Einstein in a one-man show the spotlight never dimmed for Don. He starred in dozens of local and regional productions over the years, gaining the love and respect of fellow actors and crew members, and the adoration of audiences all over Northeast Ohio.  Performing with The Magical Theatre Co., Akron Children’s Theater and the Wadsworth Footlighters among others, Don was also charter member of the Wayne County Performing Arts Council. Deeply interested in local history he was also a founding member of the Orrville Railroad Heritage Committee.

Preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, Wilbur Glenn “Jimmy”, David Bruce, and John Franklin Curie. Don is survived by Emily, his wife of 52 years, and sisters-in-law, Jane (Richard) Mathys, Bonnie (Don) Lee and Norma (Harold) Stockman along with many nieces, nephews and cousins. He also leaves behind an entire generation of former students, some who came to know him as a dear friend, inspiration and unintentional mentor on how to live a joyed-filled, wonderful and totally unique life by being exactly the person you wish to be.