Long-serving Commissioner Humphrey bids farewell on Dec. 31

BATAVIA, OH — Ed Humphrey carries a lot of gratitude and satisfaction into his retirement after 31 years as an elected official. Humphrey, 76, serves his last day as a Clermont County commissioner on Dec. 31. He decided not to run for a fourth term to devote more time to family and address health concerns.

“I’ve had my ups and downs in life — and I’m very blessed to be here,” he said. “I love what I do as a commissioner. I would run again, but I want to stay married. I’ve been married 53 years and I want that to continue.”

He beams a smile of appreciation for his marriage, family — and recuperation from two bouts with cancer, a serious traffic accident and a snow skiing mishap.

Ed and Janice Humphrey raised three children: Doug, Gail and Scott. He fondly recalls coaching his daughter’s soccer team and serving as an assistant coach for his son’s soccer team and coaching his knothole baseball squad. He also refereed youth soccer games.

He also worked as a market researcher (retiring from Procter & Gamble in 1994, after 28 years) and devoted time to EMT and fire department work.

If that wasn’t enough, he was in the ski patrol at Perfect North for 30 years, advancing to crew chief. He taught courses, held local to national level positions, and went on enjoyable ski trips to Colorado and Utah.

Humphrey joined the volunteer fire department a year after marriage, eventually taking and passing classes to become an EMT and paramedic. He also advanced to fire chief, and worked evenings and weekends as a firefighter and EMT while continuing his job at P&G. He also served as an EMT and firefighting instructor at  Great Oaks.

“I have had a busy life,” he said. “Not of lot of TV time in those early days.”

He proudly recalls the governor asking him to serve as one of two county representatives on a statewide task force that is developing an emergency services internet protocol, a network for 911 calls. The protocol will allow for backups if a 911 center goes out and connects wireless devices.

Humphrey has taken a number of classes offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to learn more about management of emergency scenes.

His interest in 911 and the Emergency Management Agency carries on to this day. He represented the Board of County Commissioners on the Local Emergency Planning Committee.

Humphrey began his career as an elected official as a Miami Township trustee in 1990.

“Ed and I served together as Miami Township Trustees for 11 years,” said Jean Schmidt, who went on to serve at the state and federal levels. “It was an honor and a privilege to serve with Ed.  His love for our community made Miami Township a great place to live work and raise a family. As county commissioner, Ed extended this dedication to our community to the entire county. We have been blessed by his wisdom, knowledge, experience and patient understanding for 30 years.  He may be leaving this office but he will never stop finding ways to keep our county a great place. His heart will always be here.”

He was appointed to Board of County Commissioners in 2008 and took elective office a year later.

Commissioner David Painter said: “I will forever be grateful to Ed and Janice for the support they gave me as I stepped into my role as a Commissioner in 2017. Ed’s wisdom serving as President of the Board, President of OKI, President of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, OVRDC Member and countless other boards was a benefit to all of the citizens here in our county. His 31 years of experience in local governments made his advice sound and proven. Although Ed always wore a business suit to work, underneath and closest to his heart was the Clermont County flag. Clermont County is a better place today because of Ed.”

“I would like to thank Commissioner Humphrey for his many years of devoted service to the county and our community,” County Commissioner Claire Corcoran said. “I admire him for the countless hours he put in working to make Clermont County a better place.”

At the township level, Humphrey enjoyed overseeing direct services such as fire, zoning and roads. The county commissioner role gave him the satisfaction of helping guide a wide variety of programs, ranging from job and family services, to water and sewer, to 911 dispatch.

“I’m lucky enough to be past president of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio and OKI Regional Council of Governments,” he said.

Putting his passion for transportation into action, he worked his way up the ranks to president of the eight-county OKI regional council of governments.

Humphrey has overcome many health challenges. He underwent “barbaric” surgery, compared to today’s robotics, to remove prostate cancer. He broke seven vertebrae and four ribs in a skiing accident at Perfect North Slopes, and healed without surgery while sleeping on a recliner for weeks. (“That still hurts at times,” he said.)

A major trial came after a low red blood count led to an endoscopy, which showed an ulcer in his stomach. That led to a biopsy and scans showing cancer in his stomach, lower intestine, liver, neck and hip bones — Stage 4 Diffused Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Untreated, he would have died within six months; treated, 50/50 chance of living five years. Seven years have elapsed.

He received six cycles of chemo at the Blood Cancer Unit at Jewish Hospital – one week of continuous chemo, two weeks out, one week in, two weeks out… Despite aggressive treatment, he continued to serve as county commissioner.

The Board of County Commissioners even held a session in a rehab center so he could participate. Staff wheeled him to a table where he joined commissioners Bob Proud and David Uible.

On Dec. 3, 2015, he was involved in a serious traffic accident while traveling to a meeting concerning a proposed bypass. A truck coming the other direction dumped construction debris on his car, resulting in a broken neck, hip, and shoulder. Loveland-Symmes and Miami Township emergency teams responded. Air Care flew him to UC Medical Center, where he was in intensive care for several weeks.

“I’ve seen photos,” he said. “I don’t remember from that day until six weeks after it happened. That’s probably a good thing.”

As the fourth-generation Miamiville resident winds down his long career in public services, he continues to express wholehearted gratitude. He has overcome serious health challenges while continuing to serve the community.

“Here I am, standing up, able to walk,” he said, with a big smile. “I’ve been so blessed.”