Thursday, July 31, 2003

Theodore Wilburn Jr., 76, was police chief, musician

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Mr. Wilburn

FOREST PARK - Theodore Wilburn Jr., the first African-American police chief in Portsmouth, Ohio, died Sunday at Hospice of Cincinnati in Blue Ash. The Forest Park resident was 76.

"My father was a man of God," said his daughter, Tamara Wilburn of Fairfield. "He treated people the way he wanted to be treated. That was pretty much his legacy."

Mr. Wilburn was a member of the Portsmouth Police Department for 14 years, moving up through the ranks from patrolman to chief. He was appointed after scoring highest on the civil service exam in 1962.

Born in Cincinnati, he graduated from Hughes High School and Ohio University, where he received a bachelor's degree in social sciences, and the FBI Academy.

Former Gov. James A. Rhodes appointed him to the Ohio Peace Training Council when he was a police officer.

Mr. Wilburn was also on the boards of Family Services, March of Dimes and Boy Scouts of America in Scioto County.

He returned to Cincinnati in 1967 and went to work as a human resources officer for Cincinnati Bell.

During his tenure, he was a speaker with the Cincinnati Cheers Toastmasters Club, comprised of Bell employees.

Mr. Wilburn retired in 1994.

His greatest interest was music. While serving in the Navy in 1945, Mr. Wilburn played drums with the Navy Band.

He was also the drummer for several local bands, including Oscar Gamby and the Music Pavilion Company, Over the Hill Gang and the Sociables. He also arranged music and played at Reds and Bengals games. He played until last year.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include June, his wife of 53 years; two sons, Kevin of Hartwell and Theodore III of Hyde Park; a sister, Virginia Ramsey Turner of College Hill; and a grandson.

Visitation is 12:30 p.m., followed by the funeral at 1:30 p.m., today at Thompson, Hall & Jordan Funeral Home, 1140 Winton Road in Forest Park. Interment is at Landmark Memorial Gardens.

Memorials: Hospice of Cincinnati, 4310 Cooper Road, Cincinnati 45242 or a charity of the donor's choice.


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