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Criss E. Somerlot
Criss E. SomerlotOU & OlympicsCriss E. Somerlot, 76 of Delaware, died Monday August 14, 2023 at his home surrounded by his loving family.

He was the son of Raymond and Helen Cramer Somerlot, born in Marion on January 7, 1947, resided in Richwood until 1965 when he graduated from Richwood High School.  A letter winner in football, basketball and track, Criss attended Ohio University on a track scholarship, where he was also a kicker on the football team.  He graduated in 1970 and taught Drivers Education in Columbus City Schools.   Criss married Rita Hamilton in 1969.  They left Columbus the next year and headed to Buckeye Central High School where he coached football, basketball and track.

His two children, Matthew (1971) and Jennifer (1973) were born while living there.  In 1975 they moved to Centerville where he taught Drivers Education and coached football and track.  He again enjoyed much success with his teams.

After coaching many international track and field teams, Criss was chosen as an Olympic coach in 2004 and again in 2008 for the throws.  He served as USATF Development Chair for High Performance Senior Throws.  In addition, he ran high school track and field clinics around the nation for years.
 
He was a member of the Centerville Noon Optimist, St. Francis Catholic Church, Columbus Agonis, USATF, Ohio Track Coaches Association, as well as member of Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity.

After 30 years in education, Criss retired from coaching and teaching in Centerville and ran his own business.  He was an inventor and proud of his shoe design for Nike.  
Criss is a member of North Union High School, Centerville High School, Ohio Track Coaches and Ohio University Halls of Fame.
 
Criss’ mother, Helen, father Raymond, stepfather George Weaver and brother Dean Somerlot proceed him in death.  He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Rita (Hamilton) Somerlot, son Matthew and wife April, daughter Jennifer Rodgers and husband Dave and grandchildren Koen, Zoie and Aidan, sisters and brothers-in law, Beth Somerlot, Tim (Cheryl)Hamilton, Kathy (Terry) Mullen, Brian (Cathy) Hamilton and Marcia (Don) Brake.  In addition, he is survived by 20 nieces and nephews.

Criss’ best times were spent with family, coaching and traveling.  He enjoyed fishing, golfing and making his grandkids laugh.  He loved talking to people and getting to know athletes.  The man never knew a stranger.  

There will a Gathering of Family and Friends to celebrate his life held Sunday September 10, 2023 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at the Heritage Golf Club, 3525 Heritage Club Dr. Hilliard, Ohio 43026

Memorial gifts many be made to OhioHealth Hospice/Kobacker House and/or the Ronald McDonald House.

The Stofcheck-Ballinger Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Condolences and remembrances may be expressed at www.stofcheck-ballinger.com.





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#1 from: Jani Rankin
Richwood, Ohio
Tue, Aug 15, 2023 at 12:03 PM

Rita, we are so sorry to hear this.  We always enjoyed talking to Criss. If  you wanted to know anything about the shot and discuss Criss was the go to guy.   Virg liked talking to him.    You and Criss will always be Richwood kids to us.  We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers💕



#2 from: Pat Kelly
Marion, OH
Tue, Aug 15, 2023 at 12:26 PM

Rita, There are many fond high school memories of Criss. I enjoyed following both of your athletic careers throughout life. Saddened for your loss.



#3 from: Jim Blue
 
Tue, Aug 15, 2023 at 12:53 PM

To the family of Criss, I am so sorry for your loss. I have many memories of him as a life long friend, a neighbor, and teammate on all sports teams in high school.  I am proud to have known Criss and am also proud of his accomplishments along the way. My sincere condolences to Rita and the entire Somerlot family.



#4 from: Tom and Ruby Gwynn
 
Tue, Aug 15, 2023 at 1:07 PM

Sorry for your loss. As a kid I had several athletes who were heroes of mine. Along with Jim Blue, Criss was one. Proud to have been his cousin.



#5 from: Rona Penix
Richwood
Tue, Aug 15, 2023 at 2:55 PM

My thoughts and prayers are with you. God be with you all.



#6 from: Sue McBride Bails
125 E. Ottawa Richwood
Tue, Aug 15, 2023 at 3:40 PM

Rita and family, so sorry to hear about Criss passing. I remember him from the time he was a little boy growing up in Richwood, he was such a gifted athlete. May he R.I.P .  



#7 from: Lynne Ledley
Richwood
Tue, Aug 15, 2023 at 10:42 PM

Rita and family, so sorry to hear of Criss' passing. Many fond memories of being classmates and those years shared memories of being the RHS of 1965!!!



#8 from: Sally Ballard Glover
Delaware
Tue, Aug 15, 2023 at 10:54 PM

So sorry and saddened to hear of Chris’s passing, I would come to  the funeral home, but I will be out of town for a couple of weeks. Prayers for the family, I feel your pain , take care 🙏



#9 from: Paula Somerlot Utley
Prospect Ohio
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 1:14 AM

Rita and family, so sorry to hear about Criss. As cousins we grew up together and my dad tried to be there for him. He has had a full and amazing life and he gets to reap his awards now. He is with Dean and his mom and dad .



#10 from: Dennis Roberts
Punta Gorda, FL
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 8:34 AM

Sending deepest sympathies to Rita and family. Spending 12 years as a classmate and teammate with Criss, we shared many fond memories. RIP Criss.



#11 from: Barbara Baker Williams
Richwood
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 9:58 AM

Fond memories growing up with cousins Criss, Dean, Gene, Paula & Vicki out on Landon Rd. Thank you Criss for visiting mom, taking her to many lunches. You had a great life, so many accomplishments but most of all a loving family. Deepest Sympathies Rita & Family



#12 from: Bob & Connie Hill
Nolensville, TN
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 10:11 AM

Rita & Family, Such a loss, a wonderful person.  What pride you must have.  Criss was family; such a part of growing up.  He & Spence almost inseparable as little kids, so many memories of Beatty Avenue.   Our thoughts & prayers are with you at this difficult time.  Holding Criss in my heart 💜 Connie & Bob



#13 from: Peggy burnside
 
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 10:26 AM

Rita, Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. My deepest sympathy And condolences to you and your family. Peggy



#14 from: Dan & Karen Converse
Richwood
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 10:51 AM

Sorry for your loss. Have a lot of fond memories growing up on Beatty Avenue.



#15 from: Diana Jordan
 
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 10:59 AM

So sorry for the families loss of Criss. He was a good friend to Spencer and our family. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.



#16 from: Danny Rush
Bluffton, SC
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 4:56 PM

To Rita and family: So sorry to hear of Criss’ passing. The twelve years as classmates, teammates, and friends at Richwood generated numerous fond memories for me. He will be missed. Our prayers are with you and your family. May God bless, Dan Rush



#17 from: Tom and Mary McVay
Belleair, Florida
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 7:28 PM

Tom and I were very sorry to hear of Chris’s passing.  He was a great guy and lived an exciting life!  Tom knew Chris at OU and we enjoyed seeing both he and Rita throughout the years.  



#18 from: Denise Fridenmaker
Venice Florida
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 7:53 PM

I have fond memories of the Somerlots. Took my drivers Ed with Chriss and Rita was an awesome basketball coach. How lucky we all were to have these two  always looking out for us and modeling how to make a difference in others lives…… Heartfelt sympathies ……. ❤️ Prayers for the entire family.



#19 from: Ginny Greene
Dayton,Ohio
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 7:57 PM

Rita, Matt,Jenny and families Sorry to hear of your loss. Your dad, husband and grandpa was a solid family man, coach and mentor for many.



#20 from: Rosanne (Taylor) Sturgeon
Divide, Colorado
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 8:05 PM

Rita, you are in my thoughts and prayers...so sorry for your loss💕



#21 from: Charlie Slavik
 
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 8:09 PM

Rita - condolences and prayers for you and your family. I will always remember my "Big Brother" Criss and how he helped me so many years ago. He touched so many lives and will be greatly missed. Peace.



#22 from: Karen Ewing
Deland, Florida
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 8:26 PM

Rita and family my thoughts  and  prayers  are with you at this time. Criss led a wonderful fulfilling  life and had the respect of his community and the love of his family. What more could a person want. May God Bless you at this time.



#23 from: Deb Robison
Medford, MA
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 8:50 PM

Sending you love and hugs at this difficult time. Coach Somerlot was a great support to me, even though Rita was my main coach. I appreciated all his efforts on my behalf and the guidance he gave me. May his memory be a blessing to you all.



#24 from: Tony and Brenda Vancw
North Port, FL
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 9:32 PM

Tony and I send our deepest sympathies to the entire family. We have so many memories together as the children were growing up, attending more games of every kind for many years, cheering them on to many, many victories. We will cherish those times always. Rita, Matt and Jen, our hearts are with you all, praying for comfort and peace during this time. Just know he is in the Best Hands ever. Much love to all.



#25 from: Bonnie Kennedy
Georgia
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 9:57 PM

Rita, I am so sad to hear about Chris. He was a great classmate and I will always remember the good times we had. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.



#26 from: Vicki Webb
Caledonia, Ohio
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 10:07 PM

Rita and family: So sorry to hear about your loss of Chris. I know how hard it is. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all your family. Hugs! Vicki Webb



#27 from: Nicholas Taylor
Colorado Springs, CO
Wed, Aug 16, 2023 at 11:21 PM

So very sorry to hear of Criss’ death.  Condolences to Rita and his family.  Rest in peace, my friend.



#28 from: Chris & Mark Stach
Dublin, OH
Thu, Aug 17, 2023 at 6:09 AM

Our condolences to Jen, Matt and Rita for the loss of your father and husband. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family. God Bless.



#29 from: Marc Tebben
Charlotte NC
Thu, Aug 17, 2023 at 10:30 AM

Rita,Matt, and Jennifer, I was saddened to hear about Criss. He was a good man and a tremendous asset to CHS and all of the students and athletes that he worked with over the years. Personally he was very kind and helpful to me when I started teaching at CHS and I always appreciated the consideration he showed me. He will be missed.



#30 from: Nancy (Snyder) Hart
Cincinnati, Ohio
Thu, Aug 17, 2023 at 11:14 AM

Coach Rita, I am so sorry to hear this news about Coach Somerlot. He was a great human and coach. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family . My fondest memories of him are with the Centerville  Track program . He had a way of talking , instructing , and joking around with us during practices and meets. He made a difference in many lives.



#31 from: Betz Lowe
DELAWARE
Thu, Aug 17, 2023 at 11:36 AM

I'm sorry for the loss for his family and all who loved him  Prayers for peace.



#32 from: Janet (Somerlot) Taylor
Texarkana Arkansas
Thu, Aug 17, 2023 at 12:40 PM

Rita and family, Thinking about and praying for you during this difficult time.  My sincerest condolences go out to you. Janet (Somerlot) Taylor



#33 from: JOE WECHTER
ONTARIO, OH
Thu, Aug 17, 2023 at 2:21 PM

Dear Rita and family, so sorry for your loss.  Thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.  I have fond memories of playing slow pitch softball with Criss in New Washington.  Joe



#34 from: Barbara Cairney and Jim Oliver
Brighton, ON
Thu, Aug 17, 2023 at 3:18 PM

Dear Rita and Family, We are truly sorry for your loss. Criss was a wonderful person and lots of fun to be around. He always had us laughing during Euchre and Phase 10 games. We will miss him in Florida. He will be missed by all who knew him . Our thoughts are with you and your family at this time.



#35 from: Rita Lou Rubeck Headington Parker
Richwood
Thu, Aug 17, 2023 at 5:06 PM

I was so very sorry to hear of cousin Criss's passing.  I will never forget seeing Criss and you on the city square in Munich, Germany.  What a wonderful surprise!  Never forget the special times together and the wonderful memories you made together.  Rita



#36 from: SoTO’s Torrado family
Centerville
Thu, Aug 17, 2023 at 6:53 PM

So sorry Rita, Coach Summerlot  and family for your loss, he was a great amazing person  coach Dad grandpa.  We never forget how he impacts our family.  Is for ever and ever my our son get inspire in track. We love u guys! Sending our condolences and big hug.



#37 from: John & Beth Gwynn
Newark, Ohio
Thu, Aug 17, 2023 at 8:07 PM

Criss coached me in Little League and I thought he was a "Great Guy!" Rita, our prayers go out for you and your family. John



#38 from: Sandy and Tom Masterson
Westerville
Fri, Aug 18, 2023 at 1:28 AM

Rita, so sad . Chris will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.



#39 from: Cody Drake
STONEVILLE NC
Fri, Aug 18, 2023 at 6:29 AM

Rita and family, I am the late Kelly Drake's younger brother.  I remembered how much Kelly thought of Chris from Richwood High School days.  Thinking of you guys.



#40 from: Rodney Mccullough
Saint petersburg,Florida
Fri, Aug 18, 2023 at 8:29 AM

With great sorrow to her of his passing he was alway a friend,he will be missed by many.



#41 from: Harold and Bonnie Green
 
Fri, Aug 18, 2023 at 9:23 AM

Rita, we were sorry to hear about Chris’s passing.  Please accept our condolences & prayers for you and your family.



#42 from: Debby Maxwell Hoopes
DELAWARE
Fri, Aug 18, 2023 at 10:17 AM

Dearest Classmate Rita, You and your beloved Criss shared many precious memories together and had such a positive impact on many students. May those memories and the love of your family and friends help you navigate this difficult time in your life. Love and Sympathy, Debby



#43 from: Pat Kyle Beatley
Fri, Aug 18, 2023 at 7:30 PM

Rita, Matt, Jennifer,  and family,   I am so very sorry  to hear of  the death  of Criss.  I have so many  fond  memories  while in high school.   He was like a brother to me. I know you have many  great  memories  to carry you through this sad time.  Please accept my sincere condolences.   Pat.



#44 from: Pat and Mike Hamilton
Sebring, Florida
Fri, Aug 18, 2023 at 8:28 PM

Rita, we were sadden to hear about Chris's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.



#45 from: Ron Johnson
Orlando
Sat, Aug 19, 2023 at 2:40 PM

To the entire Somerlot Family: I met Coach the first day I arrived in the middle of the school year...I had never met a coach with such a calm and confident voice. My Mother had previoulsy chatted with him at my request, before I moved from South Florida to Centerville.  I asked my Mom to see if they even had a track team, and if the did, do the have a "pit" for their vaulters...My mom asked coach and I'm not certain what his answer was - but I later found out that Criss did ask my Mom how high I had jumped before...she said "I think something like 15 feet or so." Well, when I arrived at Centerville Jan 3, 1976, coach showed me the still in its wrapping, a brand new $10,000 Port-A-Pit for our school (me). While I never got close to 15'...hopefully I did not let him down too badly...we did score a lot of points from us vaulters. After I moved to Florida to attend UCF - we always stayed in touch...and chatted with each year or so was and still is a real highlight for me. I could talk with him forever...he was always way too kind to me. Criss was a gentelman and a tribute to what a couch clould be...and more importantly, what a coach should be. I'm a better man for knowing Criss Somerlot...I love you Coach. The Florida Flash, Ron Johnson



#46 from: E Alan Cowgill
Sprinfield, Oh
Sun, Aug 20, 2023 at 4:05 PM

Kathy and Rita I am sorry for your loss.  I wanted you to know I offered a Catholic Mass for Criss. It appears he had a wonderful life.  Bless you. Alan



#47 from: Steve Case
Virginia
Mon, Aug 21, 2023 at 9:30 PM

Rita, I am very saddened by the passing of my childhood friend.  As boys, Criss and I hung out a lot and shared all the wonderful  adventures boys have.  He was my pal and you don’t forget pals.  I offer my sincere sympathies



#48 from: Judy L. Nickel
118 S. Clinton St. Richwood, OH 43344
Tue, Aug 22, 2023 at 10:32 AM

Dear Rita and family,  May God wrap His loving arms around each one of your family and give you peace, comfort, and guidance.  So sorry for the loss of your loved one.  Such fond memories of our school years!  God Bless!



#49 from: Dave Lamb
Miamisburg
Tue, Aug 22, 2023 at 5:28 PM

I'm very sorry to hear about your loss. I have many fond memories covering Centerville's track teams led by Criss and Rita. Always first class people. No surprise the same is true of Matt, who's carrying on the legacy at Centerville.



#50 from: Madelyn (Gay) Laughbaum
Shelby Ohio
Fri, Aug 25, 2023 at 5:23 PM

I want to Extend My Deepest Sympathy  to Rita, and his children. I never had him for a teacher, but had him for study hall, and also graded some papers for him. And did stats for track meets. He was a super nice guy. And was very sorry Thad he passed. May he Rest in Peace!



#51 from: Randy Evans
Camden, Ohio 45311
Sat, Aug 26, 2023 at 6:37 AM

I was privileged to know both Chris and Rita in that we were neighbors at various times in my youth. First,  Chris and the Somerlots, where we all lived on Beaty Avenue… what a neighborhood..   Some of Richwood/North Union High School’s greatest athletes came from Beaty!   Rita, became our neighbor when we moved West of town in the late 50’s. I give you this background of my fondest memories of Chis and Rita because it is at this time, I share, that Chris would come courting Rita. As the two would often do (swing in a love seat swing), my brother Rod and I would do anything to distract them. We would go so far as to throw water balloons over the garage to get them wet.    Did Chris get mad? You could see that the whole episode made a strong impact in Chris. What Chris did next defined his character that lasted to the end. That character was one of patience, calmness ( spoken in a soft voice ), and a deliberate willingness to help all in need (and boy was Rod and I in need).   Chris had an influence over me as I ran and coached track, basketball and football. I always tried to leave my student athletes better off than I found them.    Chris, you have done well. God needs you now to run his athletic program.    To the family and friends of Chris… I’m heart sick for you all. To the fine people of Centerville, remember Chris as your own ( a gentle soul ).



#52 from: Randy Evans
Camden, Ohio 45311
Sat, Aug 26, 2023 at 7:36 AM

I was privileged to know both Chris and Rita in that we were neighbors at various times in my youth. First,  Chris and the Somerlots, where we all lived on Beaty Avenue… what a neighborhood..   Some of Richwood/North Union High School’s greatest athletes came from Beaty!   Rita, became our neighbor when we moved West of town in the late 50’s. I give you this background of my fondest memories of Chis and Rita because it is at this time, I share, that Chris would come courting Rita. As the two would often do (swing in a love seat swing), my brother Rod and I would do anything to distract them. We would go so far as to throw water balloons over the garage to get them wet.    Did Chris get mad? You could see that the whole episode made a strong impact in Chris. What Chris did next defined his character that lasted to the end. That character was one of patience, calmness ( spoken in a soft voice ), and a deliberate willingness to help all in need (and boy was Rod and I in need).   Chris had an influence over me as I ran and coached track, basketball and football. I always tried to leave my student athletes better off than I found them.    Chris, you have done well. God needs you now to run his athletic program.    To the family and friends of Chris… I’m heart sick for you all. To the fine people of Centerville, remember Chris as your own ( a gentle soul ).



#53 from: Jerry Wurm
New Washington, Ohio
Sat, Aug 26, 2023 at 9:25 AM

Remembering Mr Somerlot coaching me in both football and track. Thankful for his influence on me. Sorry for your loss.



#54 from: Randy Evans
Camden, Ohio 45311
Sat, Aug 26, 2023 at 2:38 PM

I was privileged to know both Chris and Rita in that we were neighbors at various times in my youth. First,  Chris and the Somerlots, where we all lived on Beaty Avenue… what a neighborhood..   Some of Richwood/North Union High School’s greatest athletes came from Beaty!   Rita, became our neighbor when we moved West of town in the late 50’s. I give you this background of my fondest memories of Chis and Rita because it is at this time, I share, that Chris would come courting Rita. As the two would often do (swing in a love seat swing), my brother Rod and I would do anything to distract them. We would go so far as to throw water balloons over the garage to get them wet.    Did Chris get mad? You could see that the whole episode made a strong impact in Chris. What Chris did next defined his character that lasted to the end. That character was one of patience, calmness ( spoken in a soft voice ), and a deliberate willingness to help all in need (and boy was Rod and I in need).   Chris had an influence over me as I ran and coached track, basketball and football. I always tried to leave my student athletes better off than I found them.    Chris, you have done well. God needs you now to run his athletic program.    To the family and friends of Chris… I’m heart sick for you all. To the fine people of Centerville, remember Chris as your own ( a gentle soul ).



#55 from: Kari (Albert) Osborne
Prosper, Texas
Tue, Aug 29, 2023 at 3:12 PM

Thinking of your entire family on the passing of your remarkable father who was a role model to us all who had him as a teacher and coach. Your Dad and mom were such a special part of my high school memories. I can still remember filling out track entry forms in the back seat of the drivers Ed car for your dad while others were practicing driving—funny the random things you remember about track season! I pray that the wonderful memories bring you comfort and peace during this time. Much love to your entire family- Kari (Albert) Osborne



#56 from: Bob Bowman
Indian Trail,  NC
Thu, Aug 31, 2023 at 1:22 PM

Rita, Matt and Jen, Carol and I want to express our deepest sympathy for your loss as we had so many memories of spending our weekends at track meets, our times at Marion's Pizza, or just simply hanging out together. I truly enjoyed my time with Criss as a track assistant and I will always be thankful for allowing me the opportunity to work in such great program. Our thoughts are with you and your family.




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