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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Apr. 27, 2017

Obituaries can be emailed to editor@thevwindependent.com or faxed to 419.238.2578. Full obituaries cost $30 (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

Virginia E. (Wistner) Gudakunst died at 1:49 p.m. Saturday, April 22, 2017, at the Van Wert Area Inpatient Hospice Center.

She was born December 26, 1914, in Nottaway County, Virginia, the daughter of John and Myrtle (DeCamp) Wistner, who both preceded her in death. She married Merlyn M. Gudakunst, who also preceded her in death.

Survivors include two daughters, Louise (Fred) Hartwig and Kay (Robert) Mawhorter; three grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren; and great-great-grandchildren.

She was also preceded by her brothers and sisters.

Private graveside funeral services were conducted.

Preferred memorials: Van Wert Area Inpatient Hospice Center or Van Wert Children’s Garden.

Arrangements were made by Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert.

Condolences may be expressed at www.alspachgearhart.com.

POSTED: 04/26/17 at 8:58 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Dan Joseph Ricker, 56, passed away Tuesday morning, April 25, 2017, at his residence in Van Wert.

He was born on June 11, 1960 in Ottoville, Ohio, the son of the late Ambrose and Loretta (Pohlman) Ricker.

He is survived by a daughter, Lori Ann Ricker of Delphos; one son, Kevin Joseph (Catherine) Ricker of Delphos; three brothers, Dennis (Karen) Ricker, Marvin (Marge) Ricker, and Steven (Mary) Ricker, all of Ottoville; and three grandchildren.

Memorial services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 1, at Cowan & Son Funeral Home in Van Wert.  

Visitation is scheduled for an hour prior to services at the funeral home.

Preferred memorials: To the family.

Condolences may be expressed at cowanfuneralhome.com.

POSTED: 04/26/17 at 5:40 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Steve “Whitey” McCollum, 63, of Van Wert, passed away at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, April 25, 2017, at his residence.

Steve 'Whitey' McCollum

Steve ‘Whitey’ McCollum

He was born April 5, 1954, in Van Wert, the son of Leona L. Schwarck and Ray Van McCollum, who both preceded him in death. He married Pam Agler McCollum, who survives.

Other survivors include two children, April McCollum and Scott McCollum, both of Van Wert; two grandchildren, Madeline Calvert of St. Francisville, Louisiana, and Daisy McCollum of Van Wert; two great-grandchildren, Isabella and Jennings of St. Francisville, Louisiana, and a sister, Deb Page of Van Wert.

A brother, Jeff McCollum, also preceded him in death.

Steve attended Van Wert High School and Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne, Indiana. He retired from Federal-Mogul Corporation in Van Wert after 33 years, due to health. He enjoyed riding motorcycles and sharing his love of aviation with anyone that would listen.

A private funeral service will be conducted at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert, with just immediate family present. Burial will be in Woodland Cemetery in Van Wert.

There will be no visitation.

Preferred memorials: American Cancer Society.

Condolences may be expressed at www.alspachgearhart.com.

POSTED: 04/26/17 at 12:30 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Lorraine V. Eyink, 71, of Van Wert, passed at 12:35 p.m. Saturday, April 22, 2017, surrounded by her family in the intensive care unit of Van Wert County Hospital in Van Wert.

Lorraine V. Eyink

Lorraine V. Eyink

She was born March 14, 1946, in Cincinnati, the daughter of Alfred L. and Aldona V. (Brown) Wallace, who both preceded her in death. She married the love of her life, John J. Eyink Sr. in 1974, and he died December 14, 1993.

Surviving are her children, John J. Eyink Jr. and Marcy L. (James N.) Collins, both of Van Wert; and granddaughters Sydney R. Collins and McKenzie D. Collins, both of Van Wert.

Lorraine was a 1964 graduate of Ohio City-Liberty High School. She continued her education at Ohio State Beauty Academy in Lima. For several years, she worked as a stylist, owning her own beauty shop in Celina. After her children were born, she was a stay-at-home mom for several years. During this time, she developed an interest in gardening, growing fruits and vegetables. Eventually she turned this into a business selling strawberries and vegetables. She also developed an interest in antiques attending local auctions with her husband and friends. Antiques became a passion, buying and collecting and later selling.  For over 36 years she operated a lucrative antique business, dealing in antique malls throughout the Midwest and owning her own shop in Van Wert for a time.

Lorraine was a loving mother and cherished her time spent with family as well.

A private memorial service will be conducted at Brickner Funeral Home in Van Wert to celebrate her life with just immediate family present.

Preferred memorials: The American Cancer Society.

Arrangements were handled by Brickner Funeral Home in Van Wert.

Condolences may be expressed at www.bricknerfuneralhome.com or emailed to bricknerfuneralhome@bright.net.

POSTED: 04/24/17 at 9:25 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

John A. Bruce, 80, of Elida, passed away on Sunday, April 23, 2017, at his residence after a battle with acute pancreatitis and pneumonia.

He was born June 3, 1936, in Texarkana, Arkansas, the son of John James and Dessie (Hilton) Bruce, who both preceded him in death. He married Velva “Tootie” Sherrick, and she survives in Elida.

Other survivors include four children, Debora Bruce of Upper Sandusky, Arthur Bruce of Bluffton, Randy (Jody) Bruce of Lima, and Jerry Bruce of Ottawa; four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; a brother, Carl Bruce of Texarkana, Arkansas; one sister, Margaret Shearouse of McDonough, Georgia; two sisters-in-law, Bennie Bruce and Pam Bruce; and many nieces and nephews.

Three sisters, Mazie Bruce, Sarah (Charles) Sneary, and Betty (George) Goldman; and five brothers, Joseph “Tom” Bruce, Robert D. Bruce, Michael L. Bruce, Willie Bruce, and Russell Fair, also preceded im in death.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 26, at Harter and Schier Funeral Home in Delphos, with Pastor Gary Hohman officiating. Burial will follow in Walnut Grove Cemetery in Delphos.

Visitation is from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, and an hour prior to services Wednesday at the funeral home.

Preferred memorials: To the family for medical expenses.

Condolences may be expressed at www.harterandschier.com.

POSTED: 04/24/17 at 2:26 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Mary R. Compton, 93, of Van Wert, passed away at 8:45 a.m. Friday, April 21, 2017, surrounded by her family at the Van Wert Area Inpatient Hospice Center. Prior to that, Mary was a resident of Vancrest Health Care Center in Van Wert.

Mary Compton

Mary R. Compton

Mary was born July 22, 1923, in Convoy, the daughter of Joseph and Carrie (Pyle) Horine, who both preceded her in death. On November 24, 1942, she married Wayne Compton, her beloved husband of 73 years, who also preceded her in death.

Survivors include Mary and Wayne’s three children, Tom (Cheryl) Compton of Cincinnati, and Kay (Roger) Okuley and Ned (Cindy) Compton, both of Van Wert. They had nine grandchildren, Trent (Shannon) Compton and Kelly (Chris) Beatty both of Cincinnati, Claire (John) Miller of Louisville, Kentucky, Carrie (Jim) Geers of Lebanon, Laine (Adrian) Gutierrez of Gastonia, North Carolina, Neil (Abby) Okuley of Chicago, Illinois, Luke (Debby) Compton and Cory Compton, both of Van Wert, and Jane (Ben) Greve of Kettlersville; and 22 great-grandchildren.

Three sisters, Ruth Horine, Edna Phillips, and Martha Burnett; a brother, David Horine; and a great-grandson, Will Compton, also preceded Mary in death.

Mary was a member of First United Methodist Church in Van Wert. She was a volunteer during the formative years of the Thomas Edison Center, and then worked in the Adult Habilitation Program for 21 years.

To Mary, her most treasured role in life was being a supportive and loving wife, mother, and grandmother. Family and friends all appreciated her kindness, sense of humor, and spunk.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 25, at First United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Gus Christo-Baker officiating.

Visitation is from 3-7 p.m. Monday, April 24, at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert.

Preferred memorials: First United Methodist Church.

Condolences may be expressed at www.alspachgearhart.com.

POSTED: 04/21/17 at 4:33 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

William S. “Bill” Jackson, 90, of Coldwater, and formerly of New Bremen, passed away at 4:26 a.m. Thursday, April 26, 2017, at Briarwood Village of Coldwater, where he had resided since 2009.

William S. Jackson

William S. Jackson

He was born September 4, 1926, in Montpelier, Indiana, the son of William R. and Ilah (Belle) Jackson, who both preceded him in death. On July 25, 1947, in Hartford City, Indiana, he married the former Jane Johnsonbaugh, who died December 20, 2009.

American Flag for obituaries 6-2011Survivors include two daughters, Mariann (Ray) Sanders of New Bremen and Teresa (Michael) Williman of Van Wert; a son-in-law, Charles Ayers of Montezuma; seven grandchildren, Bret (Kimberly) Ayers of Coldwater, Kara Ayers of Montezuma, Michael (Jennifer) Kelly of Rocky Point, North Carolina, Nicole (Doug) Edwards of Van Wert, Heather (Troy) Tribolet of Van Wert, Samuel (Kirti) Sanders of Centerville, and Joseph Sanders of Lima; nine great-grandchildren, Emma, Paige, Mason, and Lauren Ayers of Coldwater, Jayde (Kevin) Yeung of Cincinnati, Taylor Miller of Indianapolis, Indiana, Justus Connor of Cincinnati, Addy Edwards of Van Wert, and Alana Sanders of Wapakoneta; a stepbrother, Jack (Sally) Smith of Fort Wayne, Indiana; a stepsister, Vonona Spaulding of Montpelier; and one sister-in-law, Janice Jackson of Hartford City.

A daughter, Rosamond Ayers (April 15, 2007); and two brothers, Raymond Jackson and Walter “Sonny” Jackson, also preceded her in death.

Bill was a 1944 graduate of Montpelier High School. He proudly served his country during World War II in the Philippines, and was among the first troops who went into Japan. After the war, he attended watchmaker school under the GI Bill. He later went on to own and operate the former Jacksons Jewelers in New Bremen for 40 years.

He was a member of St. Paul United Church of Christ in New Bremen, a member of American Legion Post 241 in New Bremen, and a life member of the New Bremen Historical Association.

Bill loved to travel and, together with his wife, they visited every state in the continental United States.

A celebration of life ceremony will be conducted at 11:30 a.m. Monday, April 24, at St. Paul United Church of Christ in New Bremen, with the Rev. Becky Erb Strang officiating. Inurnment will follow in German Protestant Cemetery in New Bremen.

Visitation is from 10 until 11:30 a.m. Monday at the church.

Preferred memorials: The family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Friends of the New Bremen Library or the library of Briarwood Village of Coldwater.

Arrangements were handled by Gilberg-Hartwig Funeral Home in New Bremen.

Condolences may be expressed at www.gilberghartwigfh.com.

POSTED: 04/20/17 at 7:34 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Merlin Victor Geib, 62, of Columbus Grove, passed away at 7:35 a.m. Thursday, April 20, 2017, at St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima.

Merlin Victor Geib

Merlin Victor Geib

He was born January 18, 1955, in St. Marys, the son of Paul C. Geib and Gertrude W. “Gertie” (Jung) Geib Miller, who both preceded him in death, along with his stepfather, Ralph L. Miller. On June 21, 1986, he married the former Cathy L. Feeney, who survives in Putnam County.

Other survivors include three brothers, Michael R. (Patricia) Geib of New Knoxville, Mark (Sherri) Geib of Waldron, Michigan, and Maurice G. (Doreen) Miller of Columbus Grove; and several nieces and nephews.

Merlin was a 1973 graduate of Columbus Grove High School who attended ITT Tech for service and repair of refrigeration units. He worked for Tracy’s Appliances in Lima for 38 years.

Merlin was a life member of the National Rifle Association, he enjoyed farming, raising livestock, hunting, helping with 4-H, and camping. Merlin was very attached to his Jack Russell, Zoey.

Funeral services will be conducted at 1 p.m. Monday, April 24, at Hartman Sons Funeral Home in Columbus Grove, with Father Mark Hoying officiating. Burial will follow in German Protestant Cemetery in New Bremen.

Visitation is from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Sunday, April 23, at the funeral home.

Preferred memorials: St. Rita’s Inpatient Hospice or Putnam County 4-H.

Condolences may be expressed at www.hartmansonsfuneralhome.com.

POSTED: 04/20/17 at 7:33 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Doris Viola (Fisher) Gallaway of Ohio City passed away at 8:54 a.m. Tuesday, April 18, 2017, at St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima.

She was born May 10, 1923, in Van Wert County, the daughter of Orbie and Nellie (Harter) Fisher, who both preceded her in death. The father of her children Ronald Gallaway, also preceded her in death.

Survivors include three children, James Gallaway of Convoy and Terry Joe (Brenda) Gallaway and Mary Ann Gallaway, both of Ohio City; a daughter-in-law, Sue Gallaway; one brother-in-law, Bruce Byer; eight grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.

A son, Larry Gallaway (in infancy); one brother, Marvin Fisher; and two sisters, Margaret Greulach and Lois Kiehl, also preceded her in death.

Funeral services will e conducted at noon Saturday, April 22, at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert. Private family committal services will be held at Ridge Cemetery in rural Van Wert County.

Visitation is from 10 a.m. until noon Saturday at the funeral home.

Preferred memorials: Donor’s choice.

Condolences may be expressed at www.alspachgearhart.com.

POSTED: 04/19/17 at 1:52 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Helen L. Wahmhoff, 86 of Van Wert, died at 5:32 p.m. Monday, April 17, 2017, at the Van Wert Area Inpatient Hospice Center.

She was born May 15, 1930, in Van Wert County, the daughter of Ira G. and Cora E. (Handwerk) Davis, who both preceded her in death. She married Robert J. Wahmhoff, who died September 23, 1989.
Survivors include a son, Gregory (Loretta) Wahmhoff of Van Wert; three daughters, Christine (Steven) Boley, Jacqueline (Keith) Brown, and Colleen (Joseph) Zsiros, all of Van Wert; 11 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

Three brothers, James Christian Davis, Richard Guy Davis, and Robert J. Davis; and six sisters, Dorothy Jean Sickmiller, Margaret Ellinger, Betty Miller, Annabelle Landrum, Marion E. Winters, and Janet Crosley, also preceded her in death.

Graveside funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 21, at Woodland Cemetery in Van Wert, with Pastor Gary Ginter officiating.

Preferred memorials: Van Wert Area Inpatient Hospice Center, c/o Community Health Professionals, 1159 Westwood Drive, Van Wert, OH 45891.

Condolences may be expressed at cowanfuneralhome.com.

POSTED: 04/18/17 at 4:17 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries