Theodore J. “Ted” Staton, who retired Jan. 31 after more than seven years as Upper Arlington’s city manager, lost his battle with cancer this week.
Staton, 63, died Tuesday, Feb. 12, according to Upper Arlington Community Affairs Director Emma Speight.
“As you can imagine, we are all a bit numb and in shock as we process all of this,” Speight said via email. “He was a very special person, a great leader, mentor and friend.”
"A very sad day for the city," City Attorney Jeanine Hummer said. "I was privileged to work with Ted and believe the city is better because of him.
"I feel a deep loss and it will take a while for all of us to get past the sadness of his passing."
City Council member Michele Hoyle said Staton was the leader Upper Arlington needed during a challenging time.
"His depth of expertise, especially in the area of municipal finance, provided the bold leadership necessary to ensure our long-term fiscal wellbeing - notably through the conception and passage of Issue 23 to provide ongoing funding for investment in our city's valuable capital assets, such as roads and parks,” she said. "Thanks to Ted, we are poised to thrive in our second century."
Staton started as Upper Arlington’s city manager in October 2011 and retired Jan. 31 after going on leave last September to be treated for esophageal cancer. In October, he told ThisWeek Upper Arlington News he was receiving both radiation and chemotherapy treatments, but hoped to return to work before the end of 2018.
A press release from the city said Staton “relished and loved his large family dearly and they all loved him. Ted cherished his time spent with Carol, the boys and Spike the cat at their cabin on Lake Huron. He was a talented cook who loved sharing meals, good wine and bad jokes with friends and family.”
The city honored Staton with the first Upper Arlington Stewardship Award Jan. 28 at the State of the City address. He watched the event at home via a livestream broadcast.
Speight wrote in a blog posted to the city website Jan. 31 that “emotions ran high” as Assistant City Manager Dan Ralley and City Council President and Mayor Kip Greenhill shared the award with Staton and the community.
“The presentation ended with a standing ovation and many tears,” she wrote. “The day after the State of the City address, I was honored to accompany Mayor Kip Greenhill and Ted’s executive secretary, Suzanne Beach, on a visit with Ted to present him with the Stewardship Award. He was delighted to see us, and shared that he had thoroughly enjoyed watching the address via the live feed. It was a special visit I won’t ever forget.”
Prior to coming to Upper Arlington, Staton was city manager for East Lansing, Michigan, from April 1995 to September 2011.
He also held several positions in the city of Dayton, Ohio, including assistant city manager, director of office management and budget and director of public works.
An obituary provided by the city of Upper Arlington called Staton “a dedicated public servant, community leader, mentor, family man and friend” who enriched the lives of many and “was a firm believer in the value of good, ethical governance and the provision of core services to assure a high quality of life for the members of any given community.”
Staton was the son of the late Milliard and Virginia Staton of Dayton. Suvivors include his wife, Carol, and sons Paul and Bennett; siblings Stephanie Staton-Young of London, England; Christopher Staton (Cindy) of Vandalia, Ohio; Jane Clery (Jeff) of Lake Zurich, Illinois;
Matthew Staton (Debbie) of Centerville, Ohio; Laure Borgerding (Tony) of Dallas, Texas; and Claire Mertzman (Mark Pennywitt) of Beavercreek, Ohio.
Visitation will be held from 3-7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Schoedinger Northwest Chapel, 1740 Zollinger Road, Upper Arlington.
The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, at the Upper Arlington Municipal Building, 3600 Tremont Road, with a reception to follow.
Donations in Staton’s memory may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 100 W. Old Wilson Bridge Road No. 118, Worthington, Ohio 43085, or Lifeline of Ohio 770 Kinnear Road No. 200, Columbus, Ohio 43212.