The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018

Obituaries can be emailed to or faxed to 419.238.2578. As of July 1, 2017, full obituaries will cost $40 (including a photo), while unpaid death notices do not include memberships, work data, and other personal information. The names of grandchildren, etc., are also not included in a death notice. Obituary payments can be sent to: Van Wert independent, P.O. Box 487, Van Wert, OH 45891. Local funeral homes are billed for full obituaries, while out-of-town funeral homes can also be billed, if so requested.

POSTED: 12/28/10 at 3:42 pm. FILED UNDER: Info

Gene Collins, 83, of Rockford, and formerly of Lima, died Thursday, February 15, 2018, at Colonial Nursing Home in Rockford.

Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert is assisting with arrangements.

POSTED: 02/16/18 at 11:49 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Brendan David Poling, 49, of Mendon, died Thursday, February 15, 2018 in a work-related accident at his place of employment.

He was born September 11, 1968, the son of Walter Poling, who survives in Van Wert, and Barbara Courtney Poling Good, who survives in Venedocia. He is also survived by his stepfather, Charles Good of Lima.

Other survivors include his wife, Jennifer Meyer Poling; three sons, Nathan of Delphos, and Noah and Nevin at home; and five siblings, Sean Poling of Van Wert, Heather Ann Poling (Kevin) Matthews of Van Wert, Ian Good of Minnesota, Colin Good of Van Wert, and Meghan Good of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

A son, Nicholas; one brother, Brian; and his grandparents, James and Anna Courtney, also preceded him in death.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Monday, February 19, at Salem United Presbyterian Church in Venedocia, with the Rev. Thomas Emery officiating. Following the service, Delphos Veterans Council will render military honors. Burial will follow in Mendon Cemetery. 

Visitation is from 2-8 p.m. Sunday, February 18, 2018, at Harter and Schier Funeral Home in Delphos, and an hour prior to services Monday at the church.

Preferred memorials: To his children.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 02/16/18 at 11:48 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Jack Tice of Convoy died at 5:58 p.m. Sunday, February 11, 2018, at the Van Wert Area Inpatient Hospice Center.

He was born in Van Wert County, the son of Nancy (Schaffner) Tice Hildbold, who survives in Celina, and Lake Gail Tice, who preceded him in death. He married Linda K. (Byer) Tice and she survives of Convoy.

Other survivors include four children, Troy (Laurie) Tice of Decatur, Indiana, Kyle Tice of Willshire, Tonya (Randy) Stone of Van Wert, and Tina Tice of Convoy; four grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and two sisters, Jill Tice and Jane Bishop, both of Columbus.

There will be no services held.

Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert is handling the arrangements.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 02/15/18 at 3:54 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Dorothy H. Dillon, 99, of Delphos, died Wednesday, February 14, 2018, at Vancrest Health Care Center in Delphos.

She was born June 22, 1918, in Delphos, the daughter of David Charles and Edna Claire (Baxter) Griffith, who both preceded her in death. On June 29, 1946, she married Thomas C. Dillon, who died April 24, 1997.

Dorothy is survived by a son, Kenneth C. (Stephanie) Dillon of Delphos; one daughter, Deborah J. (Paul) Youngpeter of Sylvania; five grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; three stepgrandchildren; and five stepgreat-grandchildren.

Two sisters, Ruth (Ralph) Allemeier and Edna (Zennith) Bemis; and an infant brother also preceded her in death.

Funeral services will be conducted at 1 p.m. Saturday, February 17, at Harter and Schier Funeral Home in Delphos, with Pastor Rick Rakay officiating. Burial will follow in Walnut Grove Cemetery in Delphos.

Visitation is from 11 a.m. until the time of services Saturday at the funeral home.

Preferred memorials: Trinity United Methodist Church, St. Rita’s Hospice, or the Vancrest Activities Department.

POSTED: 02/15/18 at 3:38 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Peggy Jo “Peg” Semer, 83, of Van Wert, went to be with her Lord and Savior on Tuesday, February 13, 2018, at the Van Wert Area Inpatient Hospice Center.

Peggy Jo Semer

She was born February 16, 1934, in Van Wert, the daughter of Cloise and Frieda (Keith) Agler, who both preceded her in death. She graduated from Van Wert High School in 1952. Peg married her high school sweetheart, H. Paul Semer, on May 22, 1954, and he survives at the Sarah Jane Nursing Center in Delphos.

After Paul’s time in the U.S. Air Force, they settled in rural Van Wert. She worked at Teleflex and Van Wert Manufacturing. Through the years, she enjoyed flying in Paul’s plane, riding on his motorcycle, traveling, and camping with the family.

A homemaker and loving, proud mother to her four sons, she remained the matriarch of the family into the next generation, supporting and attending all the activities and events of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “Nana” crafted, crocheted, cooked, canned, and baked for everyone. No holiday was complete without her homemade noodles and pies.

In her later years, she enjoyed bingo, gardening, the Ohio State Buckeyes, westerns, and being surrounded by her family and friends. Her strength, faith, sense of humor, work ethic, and loving attitude inspired everyone who knew and loved her.

In addition to her husband, survivors include four sons, Greg Semer of Van Wert, Kirk (Kim) Semer of Van Wert, Todd (Susie) Semer of Ohio City, and Kevin (Julie) Semer of Van Wert; 10 grandchildren, Serenity, Colt, and Shane Semer, Stephanie Semer, Shawna (Shaun) Putman, Stacia (Brad) Grose, and Trista (Kody) Kill, Austin (Kim) Semer, Eric (Claire) Semer, and Arielle Semer; 12 great-grandchildren; a sister, Cheryl Bidlack of Van Wert; one sister-in-law, Nancy Agler of Van Wert; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by two sisters, Patricia Shrider and Marty Winter, and a brother, Joe Agler.

Memorial services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday February 17, at Cowan & Son Funeral Home in Van Wert, with Lance Hostetler officiating. Burial will follow at Woodland Cemetery in Van Wert.

Visitation is scheduled from 9-11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home.

Preferred memorials: Van Wert Area Inpatient Hospice Center or the Alzheimer’s Association.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 02/14/18 at 8:53 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Frances “Pauline” Brown, 97, of Rockford, passed away Saturday, February 10, 2018, at Maplewood of Shane Hill nursing home in Rockford.

Frances ‘Pauline’ Brown

She was born January 25, 1921, in Georgia, the daughter of John Osborn and Alma Terue Daniel, who both preceded her in death. In addition to her parents, Frances was preceded in death by her husband, Ronald L Brown, on May 21, 2006, whom she married February 5, 1944; her brothers, Oscar Daniel and Raymond Daniel; and her sisters, Ruby Milton and Martha VanHook.

Frances is survived by two daughters and their spouses, Darla and Chris Bennett of Martinsville, Virginia, and Sharon and Jack Henkaline of Van Wert; four grandchildren, Christy (Daren) Hall, Ronnie (Angie) Bennett, Teresa (Alan) Prillaman, and Chris (Laura) Henkaline; 16 great-grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren. She is also survived by two brothers, James (Carolyn) Daniel and John (Barbara Ann) Daniel; and two sisters, Lenora (Denver) Harter and Georgia (Bill) Grumbles.

Frances was a graduate of Pelzer (Georgia) High School. She loved teaching Sunday school class at the Church of the Brethren and United Methodist Church in Rossburg. In her later years, she attended both Calvary Evangelical Church and LifeHouse Church in Van Wert before retiring to Assisted Living in Rockford. She also was a 4-H leader in Darke County for many years. She loved sewing, gardening, her family, her grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11 a.m.  Wednesday, February 14, at the Tribute Funeral Homes Greenville campus, with Pastors Chris Bennett and Chris Henkaline officiating. Burial will follow in Greenville Township Memorial Gardens.

Family and friends may visit Wednesday from 10 a.m. until the time of the services at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations be made to the Van Wert County Visiting Nurses Association, 1159 Westwood Drive, Van Wert, OH 45891.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 02/12/18 at 10:06 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Marlene Ann Follas, 79, of Van Wert, died Saturday morning, February 10, 2018, at the Van Wert Area Inpatient Hospice Center.

Marlene Ann Follas

She was born May 20, 1938, in Elida, the daughter of Esther (Paul) and Duane L. Stemen Sr., who both preceded her in death. On November 17, 1957, she married Robert P. Follas in Elida. Bob died April 10, 2010.

Marlene is survived by four daughters, Amy (Jay) Prichard of Van Wert, Lori Traxler of West Unity, Lynn (Mike) Bouillon of Convoy, and Jodi (Paul) Brummette of Van Wert; 11 grandchildren, Eric Prichard, Alissa McDonald, Nick Traxler, Josh Traxler, J.J. Traxler, Nate Traxler, Quintin Bouillon, Hatti Bouillon, Hannah Bouillon, Rachael Dettrow, and Christian Wallenhorst; eight great-grandchildren, with one on the way; a brother, Duane L. (Janice) Stemen of Columbus; and many nieces and nephews.

She was a 1956 graduate of Elida High School and also graduated from the Ohio School of Banking at Ohio University in Athens, and received her Municipal Finance Administrator Certification from Kent State University. She worked for Farmers Bank in Elida, Van Wert National Bank, the City of Van Wert, and Hoffman Plumbing and Heating.

Marlene was a member of First United Methodist Church in Van Wert, where she sang in the Senior Church Choir, Twig III, the Van Wert Optimist Club, and was a life member of Optimist International.

She previously served 12 years on the Van Wert City Board of Education and 10 years on the Vantage Career Center Board of Education. Over the years, Marlene traveled most of the United States and also in Europe. She drove many miles discovering covered bridges and loved to spend time at the Outer Banks in North Carolina with her kids and grandkids.

Funeral services will be held at noon Tuesday, February 13, at First United Methodist Church in Van Wert, with the Rev. Gus Christo-Baker officiating.

Visitation will be from 9:30 a.m.-noon Tuesday at the church. 

Preferred memorials: First United Methodist Church in Van Wert.

Arrangements are being handled by Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory. Online condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 02/10/18 at 9:28 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Michael H. Gallmeier, 67, of Delphos, passed away surrounded by his family Thursday, February 8, 2018, at his residence following a courageous battle with brain cancer.

Michael H. Gallmeier

Mike was born November 11, 1950, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the son of Harold F. and Caroline (Bergfeld) Gallmeier, who both survive in Delphos. On November 12, 1981, he married Deborah (Long) Gallmeier, who also survives in Delphos.

Other survivors include three sons, Shane (Brenda), Travis (Kristy), and Kyle Gallmeier; five grandchildren, Logan, Isaac, Alissa, Ava, and Aubree; his brother, Joe (Tina) Gallmeier; and four sisters, Kathy (Marc) Tirey, Joyce (Ed) Long, Mary (Ron) Reese, and Kelly (Jeff) Smith.

He was preceded in death by his triplet infant children, Bryan, Ryan, and Lisa, in 1975.

Mike was a 1969 graduate of Delphos St. John’s High School. He retired January 1, 2008, from UPS, where he was a driver for 35 years. His UPS route was in Putnam County (Columbus Grove, Vaughnsville, and Cairo), where he developed his true route family. He was a member of the Teamsters for over 36 years, being a union steward for many of those years. Mike also worked for a short period of time with The Delphos Herald/Eagle Print. Mike got his start being a door-to-door milk delivery man with Meadow Gold in Lima.

Mike was elected mayor of Delphos in 2007 and served nearly three terms, having to resign during his third term because of health conditions. He also served on Delphos City Council for eight years. After becoming mayor, he was the Delphos representative serving on the board of West Ohio Community Action Partnership for many years.

Mike was blessed in his life to be able to have jobs that he loved. He was a people person and always willing to help when and wherever he could. UPS and the mayor’s position were the perfect jobs for Mike and brought him much joy and satisfaction.

Mike made two trips to Delphos’ Sister City of Verl, Germany, and he was very involved in every aspect of the two cities’ relationship. Mike was truly the driving force and point man behind the Free Food on Us program in Delphos. He was a member of Eagles and Delphos St. John’s, and was very involved in Kiwanis, where he was instrumental in many of their activities: Pancake Day, Blood Screening, and the Fourth of July celebration.

Mike never knew a stranger and loved people. He was well known for his infectious smile.  As mayor, he was always willing to listen. He enjoyed traveling, especially with his family on vacations. Mike gave 150 percent of himself, not only to his community by making it a better place to live, but to his family. He never missed a family function. He was there for all of them and involved in every level. Mike had what he considered a lot of extended family that he loved like his own.

Mike wore many hats during his lifetime, and, therefore, went by numerous names: Fido, Smiley, Curly, Pops, Mike Too, Dad, Mayor Mike, Paw Paw, and Grandpa.

A Celebration of Life service will be conducted at 1 p.m. Monday, February 12, at Trinity Family Life Center, 702 Ambrose Drive in Delphos, with Pastor Rich Rakay officiating.  Burial will be at a later date. 

A memorial visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m. Sunday, February 11, at Harter & Schier Funeral Home in Delphos, and from 11 a.m. Monday until the time of services at the Family Life Center.

For the Celebration of Life service, the family is requesting that everyone please wear casual clothing, along with their “Mike Strong” shirts.

Preferred memorials: The Mike Gallmeier Foundation. Funds will be used to help support Delphos projects that were dear to Mike’s heart.

POSTED: 02/09/18 at 11:44 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Linda D. Stemen, 75, of Delphos, passed away Wednesday, February 7, 2018, at her daughter’s residence.

She was born September 5, 1942, in Lima, the daughter of George and Betty (Buffenbarger) Sroufe, who both preceded her in death. On March 21, 1959, she married Dennis A. Stemen and he died September 3, 2000.

Survivors include three sons, Dan (Lisa) Stemen of Van Wert, Tony (Amy) Stemen of Mount Vernon, and Zach (Rebekah) Stemen of Delphos; four daughters, Peggy (Dave) Grothause of Lima, Mary Ann (Nate) Swartz of Smyrna, Tennessee, Amy (Brad) Young of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Stacy (Jason) Klint of Delphos; a son-in-law, Bill (Lois) Stober of Elida; two brothers, Gary (Louise) Sroufe of Delphos and Paul “Nub” (Kay) Sroufe of Westerville; three sisters, Marilyn (Ed) Holdgreve of Delphos, Kathy (Jim) Watson of Plymouth, Michigan, and Carol Spring of Delphos; 25 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.

A daughter, Charlotte Stober, two brothers-in-laws, Tom Baker and Terry Spring; and her mother-in-law and father-in-law, also preceded her in death.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, February 10, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Delphos, with Pastor Rich Rakay, Tony Stemen, and Derek Stemen officiating. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Cemetery.

Visitation is from 2-8 p.m. Friday, February 9, at Harter and Schier Funeral Home in Delphos, and from 9 a.m. until the time of services Saturday at the church.

Preferred memorials: Team Max (make checks payable to Jared or Mandy Wiltsie).

POSTED: 02/08/18 at 10:49 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Carl William “Bill” Bolenbaugh, 82, of Van Wert, died Tuesday, February 6, 2018.

Carl William Bolenbaugh

He was born October 19, 1935, in Paulding County, the son of Fred and Elaine (Blythe) Bolenbaugh, who both preceded him in death. On June 29, 1958, he married Margaret “Peggy” L. Ross, who survives in Van Wert.

He was a member of Zion United Methodist Church in Grover Hill. He was a 1953 graduate of Grover Hill High School, a former Latty Township Trustee, served on Grover Hill Village Council, and was a three-term Paulding County auditor from 1995 until 2007. He was a 43-year member of Grover Hill Lions Club.

In addition to his wife, survivors include a daughter, Debra (Calvin) Mengerink of Van Wert; two sons, Gregg Bolenbaugh of Van Wert and Jeffrey (Lynn) Bolenbaugh of Ellicott City, Maryland; two brothers, Roger (Pat) Bolenbaugh of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Cecil Bolenbaugh of Grover Hill; five grandchildren, Amy (Dan) Goodlin, Sarah Mengerink, Adam (Carrie) Mengerink, Annie Bolenbaugh, and Charlie Bolenbaugh; and three great-grandchildren, Mackenzie, Connor, and Kaden Goodlin.

A brother, Keith Bolenbaugh, also preceded him in death.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, February 10, at Zion United Methodist Church in Grover Hill, with Pastor Mike Waldron officiating. Burial will be in Mount Zion Cemetery in Grover Hill.

Visitation will be from 2:30-8 p.m. Friday, February 9, at Den Herder Funeral Home in Paulding. There will also be visitation on Saturday from 10 a.m. until the time of services.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Zion United Methodist Church.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 02/07/18 at 4:03 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries