WEST JEFFERSON, OH - Richard E. Lightner, executive vice president of the Ohio Vehicle Leasing Association (OVLA), passed away July 7 from sudden complications with heart disease and diabetes. He was 67.

Lightner served the renting and leasing industry since 1976. He was the 2004 recipient of William H. Brown memorial award for outstanding service to the car rental industry.

In addition to his career in the renting and leasing industry, Lightner also had a passion for journalism.

At the age of 8, he established his own weekly subscription newspaper, "The Northside Free Press," with 92 subscribers in print for 7 years. He graduated from Waynesburg College in 1965 with a degree in History and minors in Economics, Political Science and English, all life-long passions.

Lightner worked as a reporter from 1959-1971. In 1971, he was one of several reporters for the Akron Beacon-Journal awarded the Pulitzer Prize for news coverage of Kent State. He then served The State of Ohio as a deputy director for The Department of Welfare Public relations department before founding his own public relations company in 1976. Always a newsman, Lightner still read six newspapers a day at the time of his death and reveled in the marvels of the Internet and the information age.

He was preceded in death by his parents Ralph and Evelyn Lightner of Waynesburg, Pa., and his son Richard.

Lightner is survived by his sister Linda Pitcock (Al); daughter Mary and son-in-law Robert Rothwell; son Matthew Lightner (Denise); and four granddaughters, Heather, Holly, Jordan, and Lindsey.

A memorial service for the family will take place at a later date.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet