Alan Perhot


About 15 years ago, I couldn’t get the tailgate to unlatch and open on my pickup truck. A friend recommended a friend and former classmate of his that owned a shop on Oberlin Avenue and Cooper-Foster. “Good guy, he won’t take you for a ride.” I stopped by and showed the proprietor my issue. He said, “Do you want the cheap fix or the pricier one? I can fix the issue for $15 and you have to push the latch back down, or for $50 it will spring back on its own.” I told him I thought I could deal with pushing the latch back down. He agreed and a new friendship was formed.

There’s a line from the movie “Con Air” that I always smiled at. “…there’s only two men I trust. One of ’em’s me, the other’s not you.” Al was the one you could trust. After the tailgate repair, I started taking my vehicles there for oil changes. Al always gave the vehicles a once-over, and would warn that “You’ll need new brakes soon,” or “Might be time to start thinking about tires.” He never tried to talk you into something like those quickie oil change places would. He gave you a heads-up, and then looked around for deals on the tires, or would order a part for installation the next time I was due for an oil change.

With relatives in North Carolina, we would travel there every summer to visit. Knowing Al pretty well by now, I would schedule a drop-off with the instructions, ‘Go over it, front to back, and make sure it’s capable of getting me to NC and back. And let me know what I owe when you’re done.’ Not “Call if there’s issues or if you find something.” If Al felt it needed addressing, then it did. If he didn’t, I wasn’t worried about it.

One summer he found my shocks were leaking and needed replaced before a trip. I was planning to leave on Monday morning and this was Friday. He worked on them Saturday for a few hours to be able to get me the truck early Monday to leave.

When my kids were old enough to drive, their vehicles went to Al. He would change the oil and let me know I could pay him the next time I could stop in. He always like to play the crotchety old crank, giving me a hard time about things when I stopped by. Deep down was a guy that loved his daughters and his grandchildren. He’d talk about his trips to Massachusetts for visits and about his granddaughter in North Ridgeville. He’d always show my daughter photos and talk about how they loved when he came over.

A while ago, I asked if I could get him a bottle of something for Christmas. Whiskey? Scotch? Rum? Nope, Bud Light. Come on, let me get you something good. Nope, a case of Bud Light. Ok, bottles, right? Nope, cans, so they fit in the fridge in the back. Very simple pleasures. Very down-to-earth.

I bought Al his Bud Light this Christmas but he was out getting his chemo for leukemia when I stopped by. I planned to stop again before the holiday to see him and deliver his gift and check up on him, but I never found the time. Saturday night my Aunt called to check on me, and to deliver some sad news. Al missed a dinner date with someone and was found in his home. He had passed away the day before.

I had a dream last night about Al. I was with my family and was stunned to see him while we were out. It was the day before he died (in the dream) and I was trying to convince him to meet up with someone so that he wouldn’t be alone the next day. I couldn’t tell him I knew he was going to die if he was alone. I woke up with tears in my eyes.

There are other little stories I could tell but they can all be summed up here: The world has lost a good man. Someone who was honest, caring, trustworthy, and loved his daughters and grandchildren dearly. Someone the likes of which this world needs more of.

God Bless You, Al Perhot. You will be missed dearly.

From the Morning Journal:

Alan Paul Perhot carved his name in the lives and hearts of those who had the privilege of calling him a father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, and of course, mechanic.
Al passed away peacefully at his home on Jan. 7, 2016.
Al was born on Nov. 28, 1946, to the late Elizabeth (nee Zebruski) and John A. Perhot in Burgettstown, Pa. Al grew up in Lorain, graduated from Admiral King High School in 1946, and was honorably discharged from the US Army in 1967.
Al was the wonderful father of Marjean of Boston, Mass., Nancy (Vincent) of Ashland, Mass., and Paula of North Ridgeville, and a dedicated grandfather of three. He was the youngest brother of Rudy Perhot of Longview, Texas, Sandra (Perhot) Nahm of Amherst, and Elizabeth (Perhot) Bomback of Tega Cay, S.C. He was an uncle to two nieces and four nephews.
Al is best remembered for his jokes and honest work done on cars as the owner of Perhot’s Auto Service, first on the East side of Lorain and for the past 28 years on Oberlin Avenue. In his free time, Al loved taking motorcycle rides with his favorite passenger, Jean Karnik, and his favorite moments were spent with his grandchildren, Aurora, Chloe, and Hunter Alan.
The family will receive friends to celebrate Al’s life from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12, in the Dovin Funeral Home, 2701 Elyria Avenue, Lorain, where funeral services will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 10 a.m. Rev. Robert Sanson, pastor of St. Peter, North Ridgeville, will officiate. Burial will follow in Ridgehill Memorial Park, Amherst Twp., with military honors.
In lieu of flowers, please eat at Jackalope Lakeside or Diso’s Bistro and get an oil change every 3 months or 3,000 miles.
To send online condolences go to – See more at:


Prayers From Maria Sunflowers

What would you do if one day you were told that your otherwise perfectly normal, healthy, 6-year-old little girl had a terminal brain tumor that would take her life within a year? This is exactly what happened to Ed and Megan McNamara whose daughter, Maria, was diagnosed with a diffused intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) on April 1, 2006. This was no April fool’s joke.








“Art” Oehlke, Jr.

I first met Art when I was writing for the Word of Mouth blog. WoM started as a one-man show, with Scott Bakalar, with occasional posts from his wife, Michele, and eventually picked up Kelly Boyer Sagert, Loraine Ritchey, Paula Tobias, Brian Hazelett and myself. Before you could  say “Lorain”, the blog was calling people on the carpet, pointing out the city admin’s missteps, and questioning the direction the town was heading. Art Oehlke found us on his desktop in his Broadway store, The 530 Shop.

I believe I had recently done an article about the decaying downtown, and had compared Lorain’s to those of surrounding cities. Out-of-town downtowns were booming, and Lorain’s was gasping its last breath. Art had read it and, I believe, contacted Scott to send me over to the store. I stopped by and we talked (he talked and raised a stink about City Hall’s lack of involvement/concern/etc. for the area). Art vented and I nodded and shook my head and sympathized. Here was a guy who was doing all the right things to resurrect the area, beautifully kept storefront, open year-round, late hours, agreeable, willing to negotiate on prices, just an all-around nice guy, and the city didn’t give a flyin’ you-know-what. They were giving Art a ration of $#&^ and giving other shop owners a bye. I did a story on his shop shortly after, lots of pics and a nice little promo for him. Next time I stopped in, he told me it was the nicest thing anyone had done for him in a long time.

I visited every now and again to say “Hey!” and listen to Art on what was going on. Sometimes my daughter, Kristen accompanied me and shopped a bit while we talked. Art loved WoM so much, he bought a bunch of stickers and stuff to sell in his shop. WoM was now a force to be reckoned with in City Hall, and many were the hits on the blog from that tall building at the corner of Broadway and West Erie. Shortly after his little investment, WoM imploded and I really felt bad for the money Art was going to have to eat. I’d stop in and pick up a little something here and there, and a few years ago, I set up a “Cash Mob” to visit his store one night, and pump a little extra money into his coffers. He enjoyed it, and I was happy to do something for him.

Recently, if I had to stop by the library on the way home from work, I’d drive by The 530 Shop. I’d tell myself I needed to stop in and see how he was doing, but I always had something going on, or dinner was waiting on me, and I kept going. Last week, I drove by and noticed the shop was dark around 5:30pm and thought that was really odd. Figured something must be up, but I didn’t know whom I could contact to see what was going on. A few days ago, I saw an obit for a Henry Oehlke, so I glanced at it, but it didn’t say “Art”, so I breathed a sigh of relief. Today, as I was catching up on the papers for the last few days, I noticed the Oehlke obit now had “Art” in the name, and I was crushed. I didn’t see it until 5 minutes before the 6-8pm visitation hours were ending, and felt even worse.

So, Art, if you’re seeing this from up there, know that you will be missed. I thank you for the friendship we shared, and I’m sorry I didn’t get by again to visit. I’m very sorry you didn’t get to see Broadway come back to life like you and I dreamed it might. The city of Lorain lost someone who set an example for a lot of others to follow.

LORAIN – Henry A. “Art” Oehlke, Jr. 80, of Lorain, passed away Thursday, April 17, 2014, at his home surrounded by his family.
Mr. Oehlke was born in Lorain August 23, 1933, the son of the late Henry A. and Laura L. (nee Berlet) Oehlke, Sr.
He was a graduate of Lorain High School in the class of 1951. Mr. Oehlke, the owner of the 530 Shop, was the 4th generation of his family to own a shop downtown.
He worked at the former Thew Shovel Co. and the Fruehauf Trailer, Co. He also worked as an over the road truck driver for the Southern Express Company of Cicero, Ill.
Mr. Oehlke was the captain of the sand dredge- M.V. James B. Lyons and was a welder for the Erie Sand and Gravel Company in Sandusky before retiring and restoring the family building downtown and opening the 530 Shop. He was a Great Lakes historian and enjoyed woodworking and collecting antiques.
He is survived by daughter, Jani Oehlke of Lorain; sons, Lenny (Cindy) Oehlke of Elyria and Bill Oehlke of Lorain; their mother, Rosa (Curry) Oehlke; and grandchildren, James Maloy, Jason Maloy, Hannah Oehlke, Sam Oehlke and Ash Oehlke.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by sisters, Laura Englehart and Patricia Reed.
Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, April 21, 2014, at Schwartz, Spence, Boyer & Cool Home For Funerals, 1124 W. 5th Street, Lorain.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at the funeral home.
Burial will follow in Elmwood Cemetery.
Online condolences at

Lake View Cemetery – James A. Garfield Monument

“Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the James A. Garfield Monument is the final resting place of the 20th President of the United States. The monument is open daily, April 1 through November 19, from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The building combines Romanesque, Gothic and Byzantine styles of architecture.”











To see more of the Garfield Monument, please click here.