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The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, May. 6, 2016

Obituaries can be emailed to 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

Roy F. Thompson Jr., 82, of Rockford, died Wednesday, May 4, 2016.

He was born February 12, 1934, in Cincinnati, the son of Roy Sr. and Margaret Thompson, who both preceded him in death. On May 26, 1956, he married the former Mona Weinman, who survives.

Other survivors include four children, Romona (Kevin) Carver of American Flag for obituaries 6-2011Dayton, Randall Thompson of Van Wert, Heather Barker of Rockford, and Holly (Robert) Wehe of Willshire; a daughter-in-law, Kelli Thompson of Van Wert; two sisters, Audrey (Casper) Kramer of Cincinnati and Jean (Arthur) Wilson of Lexington, Kentucky; 12 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

A son, Roy Thompson III, also preceded him in death.

A memorial service will be conducted at 5 p.m. Monday, May 9, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in rural Mercer County.

Visitation is from 2:30 until 4:30 p.m. Monday at the church.

Preferred memorials: Doctors Without Borders or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/05/16 at 8:01 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Mary Elizabeth (Frederick) Flanders, 100, passed away Sunday, May 1, 2016, at her residence in Akron.

Mary Elizabeth Flanders

Mary Elizabeth Flanders

She was born February 13, 1916, in Akron, the daughter of Elizabeth P. (Haushalter) and Claude M. Frederick, who both preceded her in death. On May 9, 1942, she married David L. Flanders, who passed away November 18, 2012.

Mary was a graduate of Akron Buchtel High School and the University of Akron, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and sociology.

Mary was a member of First Congregational Church in Akron, was a longtime volunteer at Akron General Medical Center, serving more than 5,000 hours with the hospitality unit. She also served as a volunteer for Blossom Center, the Women’s Committee of the University of Akron, Women’s Fellowship of First Congregational Church of Akron. She was a member of Delta Gamma Sorority, and of PEO. Mary loved music and enjoyed gardening and community service. She and her husband also enjoyed world travel.

Mary is survived by three daughters, Julianne (Bruce C.) Kennedy of Van Wert, Marybeth (Michael) Lauber of Charlestown, and Karen (Steve) Schweizer of Fort Myers, Florida. She is also survived by a granddaughter, Hannah F. Lauber of Washington, D.C. Other survivors include a niece, Wendy Weeden (John) Devine of Dayton, and a nephew, Lance (Cathie) Weeden of Charlotte, North Carolina, and several great-nieces and great-grandnephews.

A sister- and brother-in-law, Helen F. Weeden and Kenneth L. Weeden, also preceded her in death.

The Celebration of Life for Mary will be held at a future date at First Congregational Church, 292 E. Market St. in Akron, the Rev. Nannette Pitt officiating. Private burial will be in Copley Township Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, those who want may make gifts in Mary’s memory to First Congregational Church, to Akron General Medical Center, or to the University of Akron.

POSTED: 05/05/16 at 1:06 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Nell L. Rice, 93, of Scott, and formerly of Van Wert, died at 8:53 a.m. Tuesday, May 3, 2016, at Lima Convalescent Home.

She was born May 15, 1922, in Van Wert, the daughter of Samuel Gilbert and Lina Mae (Handwerk) Grunewald, who both preceded her in death. On January 11, 1947, she married Wayne E. Rice, who died November 18, 1980.

Survivors include a daughter, Sally Ann (Mike) Leidy of Lima; one son, Richard E. (Vickie) Rice of rural Scott; six grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and a brother-in-law, Robert L. Rice of Dallas, Texas.

A grandson, James Richard Leidy; and two sisters, Marguerite Marie Harber and Dorothy M. Brown, also preceded her in death.

Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at Cowan & Son Funeral Home in Van Wert, with the Rev. William Cronk officiating. Burial will be in Blue Creek Cemetery in rural Paulding County.

Visitation is one hour prior to services Thursday at the funeral home.

Preferred memorials: Alzheimer’s Association.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/03/16 at 10:04 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Beverly Adams, 59, of Delphos, died Sunday, May 1, 2016, at the Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus.

Funeral services will be conducted at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at Harter and Schier Funeral Home in Delphos, with the Rev. Jack Morrison officiating. Burial will be at a later date.

Visitation is from 2 p.m. until the time of services Thursday at the funeral home.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/03/16 at 6:21 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Jody G. Conley, 60, passed away Friday, April 29, 2016, at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland.

Jody G. Conley

Jody G. Conley

Born in Van Wert, Jody worked as a power tool repairman with Shambaugh and Sons Construction for the past 29 years. The most important thing to Jody was spending time with his wife, kids, and grandkids.

He will be remembered for being a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and friend, who enjoyed riding bikes, reading, target shooting, and vacationing with family.

He was the most gentle, kind and caring person, who always put others before himself.  Most importantly, he was always there for family and friends.

Surviving are his wife, Debbie L. (Edwards) Conley of New Haven, Indiana; his mother, Wanda Phillips of New Haven; two sons, Patrick Conley of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Adam (Melinda) Conley of Fort Wayne; two grandsons, Jackson and Mason Conley; a sister- and brother-in-law, LuAnn and Mike McDonough of Van Wert; one niece, Kimberly (Chad) McDonough of Huntsville; one great-nephew, Colton Burris; a sister, Debbie (Si) Snyder of Florida; and many extended family and friends.

Jody was preceded in death by his father, Robert Stanley Conley Sr.; a sister, Susie Conley; one brother, Robert “Arthur/Bobby” Conley Jr.; his father-in-law, Richard Edwards; his mother- and father-in-law, Martha and William Carter; and stepfather, Billy Phillips.

Private family services to be held at a later date.

Preferred memorials: Cleveland Hope Lodge/American Cancer Society, 11432 Mayfield Road, Cleveland, OH 44106.

To view the online obituary, go to

POSTED: 05/02/16 at 11:05 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Elizabeth (Saylor) Mitchell, 93, of Van Wert, died at 1:50 a.m. Sunday, May 1, 2016, at her daughter’s home.

Elizabeth (Saylor) Mitchell

Elizabeth (Saylor) Mitchell

She was born January 17, 1923, in Harrogate, Tennessee, the daughter of Levi and Dora (Daniel) Saylor, who both preceded her in death.

Survivors include three children, Jay (Ellen) Mitchell of Washington, Illinois, Phyllis (John) Wortman of Van Wert, and Jerry (Julie) Mitchell of Dayton; five grandchildren, Troy Mitchell, Jeff Mitchell, Aaron Wortman, Angie Basinger, and Alanna Mitchell; six great-grandchildren, Nolan Mitchell, Jackson Mitchell, Madison Mitchell, Kiley Wortman, Hailey Basinger, and Lauren Basinger; and many nieces and nephews.

Four brothers, Arthur Saylor, Millard Saylor, Elmer Saylor, and Vernon Saylor; a sister, Rachel Middleton; one brother-in-law, Dewey Middleton; and four sisters-in-law, Mary Saylor, Thelma Saylor, Vinie Saylor, and Pearl Saylor, also preceded her in death.

Elizabeth was a retired childcare provider and a wonderful mother. She was a member of Liberty Baptist Church in Van Wert.

Funeral services will be conducted at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 4, at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert, with the Rev. Bud Walls officiating. Burial will be in Woodland Cemetery in Van Wert.

Visitation is from 4-8 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, at the funeral home.

Preferred memorials: Community Health Professionals-Hospice.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/01/16 at 4:03 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Harlan R. Kaiser, 87, passed away Friday morning, April 29, 2016, at his residence in Van Wert.

Harlan R. Kaiser

Harlan R. Kaiser

He was born July 31, 1928, in Edon, the son of Raymond George and Jennie Fern (Dove) Kaiser, who both preceded him in death. On June 14, 1951, he married the former Donna Joan Brown, who survives.

American Flag for obituaries 6-2011Other family member include his two daughters, Linda L. Kaiser of Newark and Deborah S. (Robert A.) Gehres of rural Ohio City; a grandson, Brian J. (Nora) Gehres of Marysville; and a great-grandson, Drew Allen Gehres.

A brother, Donald L. Kaiser, also preceded him in death.

Harlan was a graduate of Van Wert High School and a Korean War veteran who served in the United States Army. He retired from International Harvester in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He faithfully attended St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Van Wert and enjoyed travel, gardening, and fishing.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 5, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, with the Rev. William C. Haggis II officiating. Burial will follow in Woodlawn Cemetery in Ohio City, where honor guard units of American Legion Post 178 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5803, both of Van Wert, will render graveside military honors.

Visitation is an hour prior to services Thursday, May 5, at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.

POSTED: 04/30/16 at 11:19 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Lori A. Evans, 51, of Van Wert, and formerly of Colorado Springs, Colorado, died at 11:31 a.m. Tuesday, April 26, 2016, at Van Wert County Hospital in Van Wert.

She was born June 25, 1964, in Van Wert, the daughter of William B. and Nancy (Tribolet) Evans, who both survive in Van Wert.

Other survivors include a daughter, Corri (Mike) Atencio of Colorado; two brothers, William B. (Jackie) Evans II of Van Wert and Jay (Dawn) Evans of Kannapolis, North Carolina; a sister, Deb (Shawn) Rice of Decatur, Indiana; and one grandson.

A celebration of Lori’s life will be held from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, May 7, in the Family Life Center of Trinity Friends Church in Van Wert.

Preferred memorials: To her grandson, Anthony Michael Atencio.

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

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 04/29/16 at 9:09 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Richard Thomas Orr died Monday, April 11, 2016, in Clearwater, Florida, from complications of diabetes.

Richard Thomas Orr

Richard Thomas Orr

R.T., as everyone knew him, was born November 17, 1946, in Dover to Ila Mae and Thomas F. Orr, who both preceded him in death.

He graduated from Van Wert High school and, shortly thereafter, began working in the family furniture business. In 1970, R.T. moved to Zanesville and started a long career in the restaurant business with Van-Orr Foods, a company founded by his father. R.T. later moved to the Clearwater area and was involved with several business ventures.

He is survived by his sisters, Penelope Orr Spry and Jane Orr Conn; two sons, Thomas and Jeffrey Orr; and four grandchildren.

A sister, Morgan Orr, also preceded him in death.

The Orr family would like to express its gratitude and sincere thanks to all of R.T.’s friends who have provided support and assistance in recent years, especially his long-time friend Joanne Basaraba.

POSTED: 04/29/16 at 6:37 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Paulette (Miller) Burnett, 71, of Van Wert, died at 11:05 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, 2016, at her residence.

Paula (Miller) Burnett

Paulette (Miller) Burnett

She was born May 17, 1944, in Van Wert, the daughter of Lorraine (Clear) Miller, who preceded her in death, and the Rev. Paul Miller, who survives in Van Wert. On October 20, 1984, she married James F. Burnett, who died April 27, 2000.

Other survivors include three children, Rochelle (Frank) Campbell of Middle Point, Paula (Steve) Goins and Lance (Sara) Bolenbaugh, both of Van Wert; a brother, Bruce (Sandy) Miller of Leo, Indiana; seven grandchildren, Christopher (Korrie) Campbell, Erica Campbell, Megan Goins, Trinity Goins, Jaden Burden, Sage Burden, and Blaze Bolenbaugh; and seven great-grandchildren, Paige Hatfield, Lily Hatfield, Julian Vickery, Kennedy Campbell, Colson Goins, and Hunter and Kaylee.

Paulette was a homemaker and had formerly worked at the former Van Wert Manufacturing Company. She attended First United Methodist Church in Van Wert.

She was devoted to her children and grandchildren.

Funeral services will be conducted at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 30, at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert, with the Rev. Gus Christo-Baker officiating. Burial will be in Ridge Cemetery in rural Van Wert County.

Visitation is from 2-8 p.m. Friday, April 29, at the funeral home.

Preferred memorials: Community Health Professionals-Hospice.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 04/27/16 at 3:36 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries