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Calovini remembered for benefiting seniors

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Friends and family are mourning Ron Calovini of Barnesville, who died Sept. 5 at age 84 after a long life of service that left an impact on many older Belmont County residents and those with special needs.

In 1967, he accepted the superintendent position at the Belmont County Home for the Aged.

Since his death his daughter, Kim Calovini, has been taking calls from well-wishers as his family prepared for his funeral Friday.

“My mom (Helen) … passed away five years ago. He’s going to be buried on her birthday,” Kim said.

She recalled her father’s determination and compassion in securing funding and setting up a building on Oak View Road as an intermediate care facility.

“He fought for the Oak View building,” she said.

She was 7 years old when her father took over the home at age 30. Kim Calovini recalled when residents were moved from the former county home — now a dilapidated county-owned structure along Ohio 331 — to the Oak View facility The Calovini family lived on site.

“One section was ours,” she said. “(Residents) would come right in. …

“They loved us. Well, most of them did. … (Her father) treated them all like family. He treated them all very well. … Whenever the residents ate, we were right there. We ate with them. … It was different, growing up like that.”

She said many residents had special needs.

“Oak View was a (tuberculosis) sanitarium at one time. One resident … he just went berserk because he thought he was going to get TB, moving over there,” she said. “They sedated him a little bit, and he ended up a mild person after that.”

The Belmont County Home at Oak View was frequently praised by for its quality management.

The Oak View building is now run down, but news reports from the 1960s and ’70s note the openness and airiness of the atmosphere and the quality of care spearheaded by Ronald Calovini. News articles from those decades emphasise birthday celebrations for residents and activities programs.

In those news reports, Calovini remarks on the importance of considering older people’s mental and emotional needs, since many had begun suffering increased loneliness and isolation. The attitude he projected has become more common among today’s senior care facilities that focus on these needs.

Service in one form or another was always a part of Calovini’s life. He later became a licensed nursing home administrator and served as such at Oakview Nursing Home, Monroe County Care Center, and helped Woodland Acres Nursing Home.

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