If heaven has a tomato patch, Robert Booth might be harvesting in it.
Booth died Tuesday at age 89.
His obituary, which was published in Thursday's Advertiser-Tribune, lists a multitude of projects and organizations in which he and his wife, Janet, were active.
She said two of Booth's former students grow staked tomatoes north of Tiffin. Because they only ship unripened fruit, they invited Booth to harvest any red tomatoes.
Janet said they enjoyed some of the fruit and gave the rest away.
"He would go in and pick them and take them to the Commission on Aging, and neighbors and church and McDonald's. All his friends at McDonald's got tomatoes all the time," she said. "This year, he was able to go two times, and then he just didn't have the strength to do any more."
"We've been married 59 years, and I told him he should live long enough to celebrate my birthday, which is the end of September, but he didn't make that," she said.
Booth had been in failing health for about a year. In his last week, he could no longer get himself out of bed and his wife had him transported to Mercy Tiffin Hospital, where he died.
Janet said she and her husband met on a blind date over Thanksgiving weekend 1948. At the time, Booth was principal at Thompson School in northern Seneca County. They double-dated with two other educators.
"We were all teachers ... I was teaching in Lakewood, but I had come home for the holiday. I lived in Bettsville, and my parents owned a grocery store, so I usually came home and worked at the store whenever I had the chance," Janet said.
They were married in 1951.
Booth had several careers, including Tiffin mayor, educator, coach and postmaster.
His wife said she remembered helping to take mail to Mansfield during the 1978 blizzard.
"I canremember that because when we came back into Tiffin and came around some of those curves out on SR 100, the snow was piled higher than our car. That was something," she said.
She said politics always was part of Booth's life.
He was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in Atlantic City and Chicago and attended inaugurations for two presidents.
Fellow Democrat Marguerite Bernard said she knew Booth most of her life as a friend to her late brother.
She described him as "always smiling" and said friends called him "Boothy."
"During campaigns, he would drive his station wagon with political stickers all over the car," Bernard said.
"Every time we had a Democratic meeting, we would use Bob's hat to pass the hat. Last time, Bob wasn't there, so we had to use a substitute."
Bernard said Booth was very interested in his family and the city of Tiffin.
"Very nice man, well-respected and a good, good friend ... He touched many, many lives," she said.
Former Tiffin mayor, Bernie Hohman met "Mr. Booth" as the teacher of his senior high school government class at Hopewell- Loudon.
He remembered Booth's handling of a situation during testing.
"This guy was cheating. He had his book open trying to look up the answers.The book was lying on the floor, and Mr. Booth saw that ... and said, 'Can you see that book all right?' ... The whole class knew he was cheating," Hohman said.
When graduation approached, Hohman said Booth asked him where he was going to college. Robert had graduated from Heidelberg and seemed pleased Hohman would be going there to "get some experience."
"He did campaigning for people," Hohman said. "Hecampaigned for me when I was running for mayor. He put signs outand kept track of them and would volunteer going door to door.
"Everybody knew Bob Booth."
Republican Percy Lilly remembered Booth as "a big Democratic force in the community for a long time."
They also knew one another from Heidelberg athletic contests and alumni gatherings.
"I started at Heidelberg in 1956. He is a great Heidelberg supporter and attended all the events that were possible after graduation," Lilly said. "He was a stalwart Democrat ... but we got along well. I enjoyed him very much. He was just a nice guy, a first-class person."
Tiffin Mayor Jim Boroff said he and Booth "never got involved much in talking about the nitty gritty of being the mayor."
Booth invited Boroff to speak a few times at meetings of the Retired Federal Employees. Boroff said Robert and Janet regularly attended the annual Christmas party at the water pollution control center, which Booth was responsible for building.
"He was veryproud of that. ... He was always very positive and very upbeat on Tiffin and the people in Tiffin," Boroff said. "When I would see him around town -of course he was a Democrat and I'm a Republican -but he would always give me the thumbs up."
"He was just always very supportive of both Bonnie and me for what we were doing in the community," Boroff said. "I think what was remarkable about him was, almost 'til the very end, he was doing community work and volunteering."