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Jim Oplinger

January 20, 1930 ~ November 12, 2021 (age 91)

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Jim Oplinger, 91, retired building manager at the Goodyear Technical Center in Akron and longtime Springfield Township resident, died Friday in suburban Columbus where he had lived since 2013.

The thrill of his life was Dolores “Honey” Stump, his sweetheart from the Springfield High School class of 1948. They married in May 1950 and enjoyed more than 71 years together. Jim and Dolores raised two children, Doug, of Green, and Cindy, in Worthington. A third child, Rodney, died in infancy.

At Springfield High, he was president of his junior class, football team wide receiver, and often was at the center of fun and shenanigans – which would continue through life. His high school yearbook called him Mr. Blood and Guts.

He joined the U.S. Army right after high school, served briefly with the occupying forces in Heidelberg, Germany, then returned home due to a hardship at the family business. His parents, Lee and Ella Oplinger, operated a service station, food take-out and World War II-era gathering place at Logtown on East Waterloo Road.

He was an entrepreneur and tinkerer, launching a 1950s-era television repair business while attending electrical engineering classes. Meanwhile, he and Dolores purchased and added onto a tiny Springfield Township home with no indoor plumbing, digging and building and pouring a concrete basement themselves. For 40 years, their homes offered a kitchen-window view of the Goodyear Airdock’s rotating beacon.

Jim joined Goodyear Aircraft as an engineer, serving many years at the Wingfoot Lake Test Operations, where he and others worked in remote locations transmitting and receiving experimental radio and radar signals. The long hours in the cold, waiting for tests to run, were filled with shooting arrows from towers and an occasional unexplained explosion in Wingfoot Lake.

He finished his 35 years at Goodyear as building manager of the company’s celebrated Technical Center. He won some of the company’s highest honors, including a Zero Defects Award for precise radar measurements and the Spirit Award in 1978 as a technical engineer in corporate engineering, where he was cited for his willingness to take on any task and his care for fellow employees. At his retirement party, attended by the company president, he cart-wheeled onto the stage. (At a grandson’s wedding on the beach, he cartwheeled in the sand – in his mid-80s.)

A Boy Scout in his youth, he rejoined Scouting In the 1960s as an assistant scoutmaster in Troop 304, at their church, Clearview United Methodist. Jim was active with the troop for nearly 50 years.

In the 1970s, he ran for Springfield school board by walking the sidelines at football games with a gigantic light-up sign strapped to his back, touching wires together to illuminate “Vote,” “Oplinger,” “School board.” He won. Twice. And served as board president.

He chaperoned marching band events and served as a Band Boosters officer.

Most recently a member of Purple Door United Methodist Church in Grove City, he has been an active Methodist for most of his life, serving as a lay leader and on leadership committees at Clearview and participating in service projects at Lakemore churches.

They were avid campers, enjoying weekend trips to Mohican State Park and floating down the river on a raft crafted from foam radar insulation that Jim salvaged from the discard pile at work. After the children were grown, they couldn’t wait to take grandchildren camping or cross the country multiple times in an RV, or cruise the Caribbean and Alaskan coast.

Forever a fan of football, he spent almost every fall Saturday watching his favorite Ohio State Buckeyes, cheering Hopalong Cassady, Archie Griffin and more at the stadium and from the couch. He was thrilled to have a daughter and five grandchildren attend OSU.

Preceding him in death was a sister, Wanda Hlas, and son in law Tom McCandlish.

Surviving are his wife, Honey, son Doug (Diane) in Akron. Daughter Cindy McCandlish (Tom) in Worthington; granddaughters Danielle Lorenz in Cincinnati, Emma Lindholm in Worthington, Jaclyn Oplinger in Jacksonville, N.C.; grandsons Justin Oplinger in Hilliard and Michael McCandlish in Worthington; and five great grandchildren.

The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at the Eckard Baldwin Funeral Home and Chapel, 760 E Market St, Akron, OH 44305 with Pastor Jeff Gindelsberger officiating. Calling hours will be at the funeral home for one hour prior to the service, from 10 - 11 a.m.. Burial with military honors will be at Hillside Memorial Park in Springfield Township. Memorials may be sent to Grove City Purple Door United Methodist Church, where a memorial service will be held later.

Please share your thoughts and condolences by visiting his Tribute Wall above.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jim Oplinger, please visit our floral store.


November 16, 2021

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Eckard Baldwin Funeral Home
760 E. Market Street
Akron, Ohio 44305

Funeral Service
November 16, 2021

11:00 AM
Eckard Baldwin Funeral Home
760 E. Market Street
Akron, Ohio 44305

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