Major Regain - LTA 2019

Major Regain Obituary

Kent poet Maj Ragain, age 77, died in his home on April 19, 2018. He was a loving son, husband, father, and grandfather. He was loved as a teacher, friend and an inspiration to thousands of students, writers, and veterans throughout Northeast Ohio over the last 40 years.

Major Dan Ragain was born in southeast Illinois farm country in Olney, Illinois, September 15, 1940. He grew up along Olney's Vernor Lake, to which he returned yearly throughout his life.

He received his BA at Eastern Illinois University ('62), an MA at the University of Illinois ('63), and earned his PhD in Literature at Kent State University ('90). He is the author of seven chapbooks of poetry and five book-length collections, including Clouds Pile Up in the North: New & Selected Poems, published by Press 53 last fall. Maj began teaching at Kent State University in 1969 and taught continuously since the early 1980s, leading his last writing class in the fall of 2016. Maj served for thirty-five years as host to open poetry readings in Kent, hosting his last reading less than a week before his death. He also hosted the annual Jawbone Open Reading (which will go on, this May 4, 5, and 6 in Kent). And as part of the Wick Poetry Center Outreach, Maj weekly gathered a group of veterans who wrote to and for each other, an encouragement in the healing art of language. Maj's poems and his full-hearted work in the Kent community expressed his own deep connection and compassion for others.

Maj was preceded in death by his mother Beatrice Lucile Summers, father Daniel Wayne and brother Michael Roy.

He is survived by his wife LuAnn Csernotta, son Sean Kelly, daughter Megan Ryan, and grandchildren Liam Michael, Riley Danielle, and Abby Aileen.

Maj will be memorialized in Kent on the first weekend in June: On Friday, June 1, the Downtown Gallery will open an exhibit of poetry by Maj and paintings by Jessica Damen, titled, "Home to the Sargasso Sea." On Saturday, June 2, a memorial service will be held at the Kent United Church of Christ at 1 pm, followed by a reception at the church. And on Sunday, June 3, at the Kent Stage at 2 pm, all can gather to celebrate Maj's life with open readings of his poetry, along with music by The Numbers Band.

From Tom Weber, Class of '64 . . ."Many of us who were not in school at the same time with Maj, might recognize his smooth and thoughtful voice emanating over the airwaves from WVLN/WSEI as the night DJ for a few years during the early to mid '70's."

Information provided by Tom Weber and Published in The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH) - from Apr. 27 to Apr. 29, 2018