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Portage County Retired Teacher
life-time member
Born: September 20, 1923
Taught for 36 years
24 years in Kindergarten
She still loves the “little ones”.
“I love my kids.”
“I have always loved kids.”
“I always wanted to teach.”



Our next meeting is November 9th,  11:30, at the United Methodist Church, 1435 E. Main St. in Kent, OH 44240.  Park in the back of the building.   

Guest speaker will be author David Stutzman!  Also, officers will be installed!

Program: Paul Stutzman was born in Holmes County, Ohio, in an Amish family. His family left the Amish lifestyle soon after Paul was born and joined a strict Conservative Mennonite church where Paul was raised to fear God and obey all the rules the church demanded. Paul joined another Mennonite church. He married, worked, and raised his family in the same Amish/Mennonite community of his birth.

After Paul lost his wife to cancer, he sensed a tug on his heart—the call of a challenge, the call to pursue a dream. With a mixture of dread and determination, he left his job, traveled to Georgia, and took his first steps on the 2,176-mile Appalachian Trail. What he learned during the next four and a half months changed his life. After completing his trek, Paul wrote Hiking Through: One Man’s Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail.

In the summer of 2010, he again heeded the call to adventure and pedaled his bicycle 5,000 miles across America. He began his ride at the northwest corner of Washington State and pedaled to Key West, Florida. On his journey across America, he encountered people in all circumstances, from homelessness to rich abundance. The people he met touched his life profoundly. Those encounters were recorded in his book Biking Across America: My Coast-to-Coast Adventure and the People I Met Along the Way.

Two more adventures were detailed in Stuck in the Weeds, his book about a kayak adventure on the Mississippi River and, later, his hike across Spain on a famous Catholic pilgrimage trail known as the Camino de Santiago. The two adventures have since been published as separate volumes, Mississippi Misadventure and Pilgrims: On the Camino de Santiago.

His most recent hike was backpacking in Israel, following the “Jesus trail.” The story was published first as The 13th Disciple and recently under the title Hiking Israel.

Paul has also authored three books of Amish fiction, a series entitled The Wandering Home series. The books follow the journey of a young Amish boy growing up in a culture he is not sure he wants to embrace. A young Amish girl named Annie wins his heart, and life is great—for a time. Entwined with their love story is the allegory of two Monarch butterflies, worms who have been transformed into amazing creatures specially chosen to carry out the miracle of the fourth generation. They, too, must undertake a long journey before they finally find home.

Love stories are also the theme of Paul’s book Don’t Wait Too Long, his very personal account of two loves in his life. A sequel to the heartbreak of one of those love stories is The Miracle Journey: Guideposts to Restoration After Heartbreak and Loss. Both volumes rest on faith as the foundation of life.

His latest challenge (in 2021) was the adventure of writing a children’s book, The Cloud Factory. A second Cloud Factory book is in the works, along with an adventure novel and a devotional for men.

In addition to writing, Paul speaks to groups about his hiking and biking experiences and the lessons learned during these adventures. He resides in Berlin, Ohio, and can be contacted through his website at or on Facebook at by Helena Parry


Christmas Program:  December 14th, 11:30 a.m.

Tamla Cole

Tamla Cole

Tamla D. Cole from STRS will be speaking to us about the healthcare changes at STRS.

Tamla Cole is the Assistant Director of Member Engagement and Outreach at STRS Ohio. Her primary responsibility is the development and implementation of retirement education programs for the STRS Ohio membership. Serving now for over 23 years, she understands that retirement readiness is a process that begins at the onset of employment. Tamla’s department provides educational opportunities for members throughout every stage of their careers including post-retirement.

Tamla earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Capital University and a Master of Healthcare Administration degree from Franklin University. She currently resides in Columbus, Ohio.


Entertainment:  Chris & Lisa DeMarco


Scholarship Winners

Scholarship Winners – Pictures by Maureen Haska


PCRTA Grant Winners Fall 2022

PCRTA Grant Winners Fall 2022

Pictured to the left is Taylor Gosseck from Field Middle School. Pictured on the right, from left to right is Laurie Scholfield-Carter, Karen Sunderhaft, Jen Bindus, Jen Yonally, Jim Montaquila, and Nick Kukarola.


Teacher Grant Committee Update by Jim Montaquila

Members of the Teacher Grant Committee met on Friday, November 11, to make selections for this year. Members of the committee included Darlene Fetterhoff, Dave Gynn, Maureen Haska, Jim Montaquila, and Ron Snowberger.

Although the Executive Board authorized up to eight $500 grants, the committee chose five this year. Four of the five grants that were selected came from the Aurora school district and the fifth grant winner was from Field. All of the grant winners have been invited to the May luncheon. Presentations of the grant money were made at the January 4th Field school board meeting and the January 23rd Aurora board meeting.

Below is a listing of the Teacher Grant recipients and their projects :

(Pictures by Maureen Haska)

ORTA has changed its name with the Secretary of State. As discussed and approved at the Fall ORTA board meeting, ORTA altered its name from the Ohio Retired Teachers Association to the Ohio Retirement for Teachers Association. We will still be known as ORTA. This change is an effort to be more inclusive with respect to active teachers. Active (contributing) teachers may join ORTA for $10 per year. We hope that this will help with membership and bring younger people into our organization.



Scholarship Committee UpdateSubmitted by Jim Montaquila

With the start of the new year, applications for the PCRTA Future Teacher Scholarships were delivered to all of the high school principals and guidance counselors by Jim Montaquila and Kay Wise. This year the scholarship amounts have been approved by the Executive Board to be $2500. The deadline for submitting applications for consideration will be Friday, April 28.

To promote the scholarship program, Kay Wise and Jim Montaquila attended a scholarship night at Ravenna High School on Thursday evening, November 10. Jim also made a presentation to the seniors of Rootstown High School on Friday, January 13.



1.  Attend meetings and social events; volunteer to proctor; donate to community service projects.

2.  Consider joining our PCRTA Leadership Team.  

3.  Recruit new members or encourage former members to return. 

4.Stay up-to-date with the following web pages: 

PCRTA website at;

ORTA website at;

and STRS website at

5.  Stay up-to-date with the following Facebook pages:


ORTA at;

STRS at 

and the STRS Ohio Watchdogs Facebook page at


Pictures from November and December.  Please click on each to view a larger picture and see more information.

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Guest speaker will be Brad Cromes, Portage

Brad Cromes, Portage County Treasurer

Brad Cromes, Portage County Treasurer

County Treasurer!

Program: Brad Cromes assumed his duties as Portage County Treasurer in February 2015 and was elected by Portage County voters to full terms in 2016 and 2020. Since taking office, Brad has sought to manage his office efficiently and transparently and to identify innovative ways to connect Portage County residents to the information they need to make sound financial choices.

Brad was the first in his family to attend college, graduating with a B.A. in political science from Hiram College, an M.A. in public policy and management from The Ohio State University John Glenn College of Public Affairs, and a J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. He earned recognition as a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM)® from the Association of Government Accountants® in 2016, and was named the Glenn College’s Young Alumni Achievement Award winner in 2019. He completed Glenn College’s Public Leadership Academy program in 2022.

Brad is the Board Treasurer of the Community Action Council of Portage County, a member and Past-President of the Ravenna Kiwanis Club, and a former Chair of the Board of Trustees of the United Way of Portage County. He is an active member of the Portage County, Ohio, and American Bar Associations and is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent.

When time allows, Brad enjoys taking advantage of Portage County’s terrific parks, helping to lead his sons’ Cub Scout Pack, and cheering on the Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Guardians, and Ohio State Buckeyes. He lives in Ravenna with his wife Lindsey and their two sons.

Submitted by Helena Perry

Community Service Project: Center in Ravenna. Back-to-School items are needed.

Stan Hywett

Stan Hywett

The speaker for the July 13th luncheon program was John Tedesco. Born in southwestern Pennsylvania in 1948, John later moved to Cleveland where he attended Wilbur Wright Middle School and then John Marshall High School. He graduated from Kent State University in 1970 with a degree from the College of Education in the Behavioral Disorders Program. In 1984 John earned a graduate degree in Early Childhood Education at KSU. From 1970 to 2000 John taught in the Rootstown Local School District in a variety of special education areas.

In 2006 John began volunteering at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens as a substitute secretarial aide, Public Programs aide, Photography Wedding Escort, and Wedding Assistant. He was hired as an Event Coordinator/Wedding Specialist in 2008. He retired in 2021.

In his program, “Highlights of Wedding Ceremonies at Stan Hywet Hall and Garden”, John shared some of the most memorable experiences of his Event Coordinator/Wedding Specialist days at Stan Hywet.

John Tadesco

John Tadesco – Pictures by Maureen Haska

Community Service Project for July: Miller House

PCRTA is inviting you to the Big Band USO Show on June 3!

If you plan to attend this event, you are responsible for purchasing  your own tickets.  You can call the American Legion at 330-673-9743 or tickets will be available at the door. 

We hope to see you there for a music-filled evening that will bring back memories!

Big Band USO

Big Band USO

Our next meeting is March 9th, 11:30, at the United Methodist Church, 1435 E. Main St. in Kent, OH 44240.  Park in the light-1551386_1280back of the building.   

The luncheon program on March 9th is twofold. One segment of the program will be a Celebration of Life. Those to be remembered are John FultzNancy Granville,  John KissTerri Sargi, and Nancy Wertz. The presentation was created by Karen Balog.
The second segment is a presentation by Jim Cain from Columbus who will be leading the AMBA/PCRTA Benefits discussion. AMBA provides endorsed group discounted benefits that ‘button up’ the gaps in present-day Medicare. AMBA is focused on growing PCRTA and PERI State Membership in 2023-24. Jim will be joined by Rob & Belinda Boucher, AMBA Sr. Advisors who live in Stow, OH. Rob and Belinda will be available to our members locally.

A graduate of Butler University (Indianapolis, IN), Jim began his career as a Paramedic in Chicago, IL serving local hospitals, ERs, Nursing Homes, and post-acute rehabilitation centers. Jim has served the Senior market for 32 years. He has been with AMBA, serving Ohio’s Retirees, for the last 10 years. Should anyone have any questions or wish to schedule a time to meet with our AMBA Advisors, Jim can be reached at (614) 946-4868 /

Please bring items for the Portage County APL as our service activity for March. Items you can donate include but are not limited to cat food, cat treats, cat litter, dog food, dog treats, kennel/cage supplies, shelter supplies, and office supplies. To find out more about “How You Can Help”, visit the APL website at

01/05/239:30:00 a.m.Executive Board Meeting (Kent Free Library) 
01/25/23February Newsletter Deadline 
03/02/239:30 a.m.Executive Board Meeting (Kent Free Library) 
03/09/2311:30 a.m.Luncheon Meeting 
Program: “In Memory”  and Jim Cain from AMBA
03/25/23April Newsletter Deadline 
05/04/239:30 a.m.Executive Board Meeting (Kent Free Library) 
05/11/2311:30 a.m.Luncheon Meeting 
Program: Scholarship/Grant Recipients 
05/25/23June Newsletter Deadline 
07/06/239:30 a.m.Executive Board Meeting (Kent Free Library) 
07/13/2311:30 a.m.Luncheon Meeting
Program: John Tadesco of Rootstown

“The ups and downs of a wedding planner at the Big House.”

07/25/23August Newsletter Deadline 
09/07/239:30 a.m.Executive Board Meeting (Kent Free Library) 
09/14/2311:30 a.m.Program: Brad Chromes 
09/24/23October Newsletter Deadline 
11/02/239:30 a.m.Executive Board Meeting (Kent Free Library) 
11/092311:30 a.m.Luncheon Meeting & Installation of Officers
Program: Stutzman, author 
12/14/2311:30 a.m. Luncheon – Christmas Party
Program: TBD 

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