Washington Court House native John Schlichter, a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives and former Fayette County Commissioner, died suddenly and unexpectedly at his home Thursday.
Schlichter was 62-years-old, and the cause of his death was unknown as of Friday afternoon. News of his death began circulating on social media Thursday night.
State Senator Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House), also a former Fayette County Commissioner, posted on his Facebook page the following:
“Heaven’s choir is singing louder tonight as John Schlichter’s big booming voice joined the chorus. I am thankful for his friendship, inspiration and support throughout the years.
Our family has laughed, cried and remembered big John tonight. He and (his wife) Debbie were an integral part of our kids lives. From sneaking 2 year old Hannah butter at restaurants, throwing Todd in the air or giving a young Sarah a paper shredder, he loved kids and they loved him.
John’s life was not always easy or fair but he tackled both the good and bad with joy, faith and commitment. He was a friend to so many and made a positive difference in this world. I learned to dream big and then work to make the dream happen from John. His absolute love for Debbie and his family was his rock. He was my dear friend and will be missed.
Praying for Debbie and the Schlichter family. May God bless them.”
Prior to his death, Schlichter was serving as director of the Ohio Oil Gas Energy Education Program. The program posted on its Facebook page the following: “We are incredibly saddened by the sudden, tragic passing of our executive director, John Schlichter. In the short time John led our organization, he was caring, affable, and quickly earned the respect of our staff, board, and the natural gas and oil producers we represent, as a selfless leader focused on moving our organization forward. John’s loss is heartbreaking and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Debbie, and their family as they mourn his loss in this challenging time.”
Schlichter was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, serving the 85th district, from 2002 to 2008, and had also served as deputy director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. He was a Fayette County Commissioner from 1999-2002; served on the Southern State Community College Board of Trustees and as a legislative aide for State Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Peterson. He had been a member of the Miami Trace Board Education.
Fayette County Commissioner Tony Anderson spoke about his friend Schlichter on Friday.
“I never asked John Schlichter for assistance that he denied me. If it was political in nature, if he wasn’t sure, he would find out. From a farm neighbor standpoint, he would help at his own sacrifice to assist. His request of me as a neighbor was never unreasonable, and I was happy to help if there was a possibility. From a family standpoint he was very proud and justifiably so. Regardless of the difficulty, John was never a victim and there was nothing he wouldn’t jump into to get a consensus if not a complete agreement. I’ll miss him,” said Anderson.
Fayette County Commissioner Dan Dean also spoke about his friend Schlichter on Friday.
“I knew John from back before (he served in office). He and I graduated high school together — he at Miami Trace, I at Washington Court House. In 1975 we both attended Buckeye Boys State at Ohio University in the summer of that year. He played football for Miami Trace, I played football for Washington Court House. So, in that instance, we were kind of ‘frenemies.’
“He was a very good lineman. You did not want to get hit by him, he’d run you over. He was very good in his own right. He was a very good person. I know he was a good commissioner. The building we are in now (the County Administration Building) was his idea. That was when the county developed the building, and we moved some of the offices out of the courthouse so it could be mainly just a courthouse. So, we’re still living the benefits of his work.
“John, he did a lot of charitable things as well. He’ll be greatly missed. It hits close-to-home for me, because he’s my age. It makes you think. I am very sorry for his family and for his loss. He will be missed,” said Dean.
While in Fayette County, Schlichter was part of Schlichter Farms. He was a member of the Good Hope United Methodist Church, the Fayette County Pork Producers Association and had been a 4-H advisor.
He was born June 10, 1958, in Washington Court House to John Max and Mila Kay Weatherly Schlichter. He was a 1976 graduate of Miami Trace High School and attended Otterbein University. He lived most of his life in Fayette County before moving to Delaware in 2018.
Cremation took place. A celebration of life will be held when COVID-19 safety conditions permit.
Burial of the cremains will be at a later date in the Madison Mills Cemetery.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Kirkpatrick Funeral Home in Washington Court House.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Fayette County Commission on Aging, 1179 South Elm Street, Washington Court House, Ohio 43160.
See Schlichter’s full obituary inside.