Kip Minnick's passion was always on display.
His artwork was well-known around the Trumbull County area.
However, the Garfield High School graduate is being remembered on Memorial Day (Monday, May 27) for his love for distance running.
Minnick, who lost his fight with cancer at age 67 this April, is being honored at the Mosquito Lake Chase, starting at Maplewood High School. Log on to gopherarun.com for more information about the race.
Minnick ran most of his life. He ran the one-mile for Garfield in the late 1950s, early 1960s.
He ran approximately 30 Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot races, 26 marathons and more than 800 races total.
Last November was his final Turkey Trot. He wanted to run, but the mesothelioma - a disease primarily caused by the exposure to asbestos - prevented the avid runner from going on yet another brisk jaunt around the course.
Instead, he walked and did the best he could to finish the race at the Kent State University-Trumbull Campus in Champion on Thanksgiving Day.
Race organizer Ted Rupe is happy to honor a man who meant so much to the local racing and artistic communities.
"I am quite certain that I have never met anyone in my life that had such a selfless approach to life," Rupe said. "The tribute that we are offering to Kip at the Memorial Day Mosquito Lake Chase Race is a way to both remember Kip and challenge those that he touched during his life to let Kip live on by us taking on his philosophy of touching others with happiness."
Minnick left a legacy for running.
"I have known Kip Minnick since I coached his children at LaBrae in the mid-1980s," Rupe said. "Even though he was a very accomplished runner and artist, the qualities that we remember Kip for are not for his accomplishments, but rather for his ability to touch the lives of everyone around him with happiness."
Minnick's spirit, when he was alive, allowed him to brighten others through his upbeat personality.
"He was a guy that would not allow himself to go unnoticed, but in a very good way," Rupe said. "He would always have a huge smile on his face and an inspirational word to offer. He was a man that was both incredibly wise and incredibly insightful of the needs of others. He combined those two gifts into a personality that uplifted all of us when we were down and made happy days even happier."
Rupe and others who were touched by Minnick's personality now pass on the gift this joyful soul shared with all he encountered when he was alive.
"I always thought that I was 'special' to Kip because every race that I went to that he was at he would seek me out and have something special to say to me or something special to give to me," Rupe said. "But after Kip's passing, I began to share stories with others about Kip, only to discover dozens of people that felt the same way about him. He apparently woke every day with a plan to go touch other people's lives with his gifts or with his wit and his wisdom."
I can bet when you encounter those who came in contact with Minnick on May 27, you'll get a glimpse of a man who made everyone's day.