GREENVILLE — A tree was planted and dedicated to Ray Lutz at Sater Heights Ballpark in Greenville.
Family, friends former teammates and coaches attended the event Sunday afternoon.
The tree, which was accented by a plaque, was planted by Fitzwater’s Tree Service. The plaque reads: “Ray Lutz, All League Catcher, Beloved Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Coach and Friend. John 11:25.”
Work began on the project shortly after his death on June 24 this year.
The 35-year-old, who played baseball in his youth in Greenville, went on to coach Little League baseball, as well as the boys freshmen baseball team for Greenville High School and the girls varsity softball team at Mississinawa Valley and Union City Community high schools.
Among those in attendance at the dedication were his wife, Sarah (Mercer) Lutz; his mother, Shirley (Strickler) Lutz; his children, Skylie, Caleb, Faith and Joshua Lutz; his brothers, Wayne and Mark Lutz; and his wife’s parents, Terry and Debbie Mercer.
Lutz was a role model in his community in Union City, Ind., and owned Brighter Dayz Painting.
According to his obituary, he was a youth pastor and a gifted musician. He often helped lead worship services.
His desire was to reflect the love of Jesus in all he did and said everywhere he went. He was an amazing coach, youth pastor and loyal friend. He was a gifted musician and loved to help on the worship team, and often helped lead worship services. Lutz traveled with his family band as a drummer. He loved playing music and playing the drums, bass and acoustic guitars, and had loved to sing.
Former coach Joe Marker, who organized this dedication, had this to say about Lutz: “In my 35 years of coaching, no one ever improved himself like Ray did. He was a skinny kid with limited skills as a freshman. He had a tremendous desire to succeed and the ability to overcome failure. More than baseball, he was a special person who made a positive impact on everyone. I never seen him mad or heard him cuss. He always had a smile. I’m a better person for having Ray Lutz in my life. He was humble. People will be reminded by this plaque for years to come.”
Chad Henry said, “He was never on time, but what I remember most about him was that he was an awesome friend. He was always there. He meant the world to us.
Childhood friend Matt Folkerth came from Cincinnati to attend the dedication and spoke emotionally about his friend. He and Ray didn’t live far from each other during their youth. Folkerth lived on Martin Street and Lutz on Thirteenth.
“He was my high school best friend,” Folkerth said. “We were tight as teammates. He would catch and I would pitch. We played on all-star teams all the way; we were a strong dynamic. He loved and would do anything for the ballpark. We graduated together in 2002. I went on to college at UD and moved to the Cincinnati area, and Ray and I went to a couple of Reds games together.”
Also saying a little bit were Ray’s widow and his mother.
Shirley noted that the family appreciates all the support that Sarah and her children have had throughout the past few months.
“She’s a sweetheart,” Shirley said.
Contact Staff Writer Linda Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (937)569-4315 ext. 1749. Read more news, features and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.