James Joseph Aylward
James Joseph Aylward
  • December 4, 1949 - August 17, 2017
  • Ravenna, Ohio

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James J. Aylward, born December 4, 1949, in Akron, Ohio, passed away on August 17, 2017 . Jim was preceded in death by his father, Edward E. Aylward, and his mother, Kathryn L (Joseph) Lux, and his son, Michael W. Aylward.

He is survived by his wife, Laura, daughter, Jennifer C. (JohnMark) Blakley and sister, Constance Aylward. He is also survived by his father- and mother-in-law, Eugene and Judy Scott, his sister-in-law Holly (Bruce) Saxe, and step mother Geri Aylward, as well as his aunt Dorothy Aylward, and his many Aylward cousins.

Jim graduated from Archbishop Hoban High School in 1967, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Labor Economics in 1977 and a Juris Doctor degree in 1981 from the University of Akron. Jim found great professional reward in his years of practice in the public sector as Chief of the Criminal Division at the Portage County Prosecutor's Office, as the Portage County Public Defender, as especially in his over twenty years as Chief Magistrate of the Portage County Juvenile and Probate Courts. He retired from the courts in 2015.

Jim truly valued his relationship and friendship with his Dad who was truly the nicest guy in the world who never had a bad word to say about anyone. He always provided support and encouragement and in a quiet way set the example for life's most important lessons: always do the right thing and do what you can to help others because there are always people in need.

Those lessons inspired him as a volunteer board member for a number of local non-profit organizations which included the Boys and Girls Club, Townhall II, and Leadership Portage County, as well as public entities which included the Kent Civil Service Commission, the Kent Charter Review Commission and the Kent Planning Commission and later the Portage County Regional Planning Commission. Jim also served for over ten years as a Helpline volunteer at Townhall II.

Professionally, he served as a board member of the Ohio Association of Magistrate and its Ethics Chair for over ten years. He was also a past President of the Portage County Bar Association.

None of these matched his more than twenty years on the board of Family & Community Services and the opportunity to work with the incredibly inspired and dedicated staff there, most especially the truest of friends and visionary leaders, Mark Frisone. The range and volume of services that F&CS provides to the community is awesome.

Jim was an amateur radio operator, call sign KC8PD, and his favorite aspect of the hobby was providing public service and emergency communications. He led the Communications Unit of the Portage County Emergency Management Agency and was a member of the EMA's Incident Management Assistance Team. He coordinated radio communications support for a variety of local events including the Cleveland Marathon. He volunteered with the Amateur Radio Emergency Service serving the Red Cross in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, after Hurricane Katrina.

He was one of the founding members of the Portage County Amateur Radio Service and was its original vice-president and then president, each a three year term, and took great pride in the growth and success of the club and the fun that it provided for ham radio operators in Northeast Ohio.

These past few years have been a constantly changing set of challenges and they simply could not have been met without the unflagging support of Laura, my best friend, life partner and true love. This was so not the way things were supposed to turn out. But the fight was worth it for every minute that I had with her. It is too late to worry about the "what could've been." Instead we will value the "what we had". and it was wonderful.

Per Jim's wishes, cremation has taken place. To honor and rejoice in his life, a Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, October 1, 2017, from 4:00 - 6:00 PM with a time of remembrance at 5:00 PM at the Wood-Kortright-Borkoski Funeral Home, 703 E. Main St., Ravenna, Ohio 44266. Casual attire suggested.

Should you desire, donations can be made in Jim's memory to Family & Community Services, 705 Oakwood Street, Ravenna, Ohio 44226. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.wood-kortright-borkoski.com.