GAMBIER — Cy Wainscott, 74, who died September 27th at home in Gambier, was literally raised in movie theaters in north central Illinois (Rantoul and Champaign-Urbana), where his parents managed theaters. He and his brother, Marc, would report to work there after school. One of Cy’s special jobs, he recently told his wife, Judy, was making popcorn in the theater basement, bagging it with lots of salt and butter, then taking it up to the candy stand. When he or Marc tired of the feature movie, they would nap on cots in the projection room, entertaining one another by acting out favorite scenes until they fell asleep. Cy never lost his love for popcorn — his comfort food — or for the movies of the ’30s and ’40s. As he realized he was dying from cancer, he cheered himself by watching dozens of old movies on DVD.
His early career goal was the Lutheran ministry and he prepared at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. During his senior year, he worked on the college newspaper and decided he would make a better newsman than preacher. He never regretted that decision. His first job after graduating in 1957 was as a reporter for the Ashland (Ohio) Times-Gazette. He was soon managing editor, the youngest in the state at that time. In 1962, he joined the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer as a copy editor and was eventually a managing editor, responsible for overseeing the production of the newspaper. He was a member of Unit One, the American Newspaper Guild, and of the journalism fraternity, Sigma Delta Chi, and past president of the Press Club of Cleveland.
During the 1980s, for five years, he was publicity director of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. He left to join a division of Eastman-Kodak in Boston that made computer systems for newspapers. He saw the world on that job, consulting with newspapers in New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, Scotland and England, including the Times of London.
In 1991, Cy and Judy returned to a home they’d purchased in Gambier, her hometown, where he joined the Kenyon (College) Review as managing editor. He also served as advisor to the student newspaper, The Collegiate, and was selected all-campus advisor-of-the-year. He retired in 1995 to pursue hobbies, including the King Arthur legend, model trains, tropical fish and heraldry. He loved to design coats of arms and was working on a set for the Board of Trustees of Kenyon when he died. During a trip to England in the 1960s, he was so moved by a service at Westminster Abbey he returned home an Episcopalian. He was an active member of Harcourt Parish Episcopal Church in Gambier where a memorial service will be held Saturday, October 24, at 11 a.m.
Besides Cy’s widow, Judith McCluskey Wainscott, whom he married in 1965, he is survived by his mother, Frances McDaniel Wainscott Grantham, of Fairborn, Ohio. Other survivors include his brother Marc’s widow, also Judy Wainscott, of Fairborn; his brother-in-law, Jon (Tony) McCluskey and his wife, Bonnie, of Appleton, Wis.; a nephew, Charlie McCluskey, of Oshkosh, Wis.; a niece, Paige McCluskey Richards of Milwaukee and her husband, Erik, and their daughters, Sadie and Stella. Cy’s father, Cyril Emmett Wainscott, died in 1958. Cy’s widow requests that memorial donations be made to favorite charities.
This obituary and guest registry are online at www.snyderfuneralhomes.com. The Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home, 201 Newark Road, Mount Vernon, Ohio, is honored to serve the family of Cy Wainscott.