Sunday, January 11, 2004

'Blackie' Touris, courthouse fixture

Sports fan also helped young athletes

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

NORWOOD - Lamprose Demetrious Touris - better known as "Blackie" - spent more than 50 years in public service, beginning when he dropped out of high school to serve in the Army during World War II.

That service included 30 years as a clerk for the U.S. Postal Service and more than 20 working at the Hamilton County Courthouse.

His first job at the courthouse was doing public relations for Hamilton County recorder John "Jake" Held. When Held left office in 1988, Mr. Touris became an interviewer in the public defender's office.

Mr. Touris died of a brain tumor Jan. 4 at his Norwood home. He was 79.

He was a "friend's friend - always ready to help," said Lou Strigari, Hamilton County public defender.

Mr. Touris interviewed people to ascertain their eligibility for services.

"He took on those people's problems and would try to help any way he could," Strigari said.

Mr. Touris, who was passionate and knowledgeable about all sports, worked to help young athletes.

"If he heard about somebody who had some playing potential - like football - since he had some Notre Dame contacts, he would take them to football camp for teen-age kids every summer. I know he did that for several kids that I'm aware of at his own expense," Strigari said.

"He would go out of his way to try to encourage young kids. That's what kept him young, really - hanging around younger folks."

Mr. Touris sponsored young athletes from Elder, LaSalle, Princeton, Norwood and other area high schools.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1924, Mr. Touris spent four years with the Army Air Corps, including eight months' active duty in the Philippines during World War II.

He landed in Cincinnati after the war, working for 30 years at the post office at Dalton and Liberty streets.

"He knew everything," said his son, Patrick, of Norwood. "He had a great sense of humor - was always telling jokes. He was a handicapper from every sporting event, including the race track."

Last month, probate court Judge James C. Cissell declared December 2003 "Blackie Touris Month" at the courthouse.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 51 years, Grace Monopole Touris; four daughters, Cathy Donohue of Middletown, Candy Olson of Anderson Township, Annette Touris of Springfield Township and Vicki Johnson of Deer Park; another son, James Touris of West Chester Township; a brother, Paul Touris of Hamburg, N.Y.; a sister, Effie Skura of Virginia Beach, Va.; 18 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Services have been held.

Memorials may be made to Blackie Touris Memorial Youth Sports Fund.


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