Deputy Mahoning Coroner Joseph Ohr dies at 53

By Bruce Walton


Mahoning County’s forensic pathologist and deputy coroner died Saturday morning from pancreatic cancer, according to Mahoning County Commissioner David Ditzler.

Ditzler said he received a call from the wife of Dr. Joseph Ohr, who died in hospice care with his family at his bedside in his Poland home at 8:50 a.m., just a week after his 53rd birthday.

Coroner Dr. David Kennedy said Dr. Ohr, who performed autopsies in Mahoning County, had been ill for several weeks, and his duties had been assumed by Cuyahoga County authorities since last week. Besides autopsies, Dr. Ohr’s duties included testifying in court, preparing reports and ruling on the causes and manner of a person’s death.

His many colleagues remember him as kind and brilliant, and were still taken aback Saturday night by the sudden turn of events that led to his death.

“His passion and his dedication and his heart that he had for his job and for the community just spilled over to everyone, and I think if you knew Dr. Ohr, you loved Dr. Ohr,” Ditzler said.

“He provided an immeasurable service to the citizens of Mahoning County, and his passing is a tragedy, and he will be greatly missed,” said David Betras, chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party.

“He was an excellent forensic pathologist,” said Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, Trumbull County’s coroner. “He was kind, he was caring and he always put his patients first.”

Mahoning County Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti said the county’s sympathies go out to Ohr’s family, and recalled him as a great asset to the county.

“We will miss him deeply, and whatever the family might need from the commissioners, we’re willing to help,” she said.

Kennedy said the county will continue to send bodies to be autopsied to Cuyahoga County. Officials hope to find a replacement for Ohr as quickly as possible, he said, but noted that forensic pathologists are hard to come by, especially those of Ohr’s caliber.

Ohr was a Boardman native and began working for the county in 2009. He came to Mahoning County from Franklin County, where he was a forensic pathologist. He is survived by his wife Kristen Ohr and their 4-year-old daughter, Maddie.

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