The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, May. 21, 2019

Obituaries can be emailed to or faxed to 419.238.2578. As of January 1, 2019, full obituaries will cost $50 (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 546, 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

Richard M. “Zeke” “007” Zirkle, 72, of Celina, and formerly of Venedocia, passed away peacefully at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 18, 2019, at the Laurels of Shane Hill Care Center in Rockford, with his family at his side following an extended illness.

He was born June 14, 1946, in Van Wert, the son of James C. and Lois Irene Ringwald Zirkle, who both preceded him in death.

He is survived by his two children, Billy Jo (Joseph) Brenneman of Spencerville and Steven M. (Angie) Zirkle of New Bremen; five grandchildren, Nathan Zirkle of Celina, Matthew (Mary) Zirkle of Stoughton, Wisconsin, David Zirkle of Nashville, Tennessee, Emily Brenneman of Cincinnati, and Amanda (Josh) Copeland of Dayton; one great-grandson, Luke Steven Zirkle; and two sisters, Janet Elaine Zuber of Spencerville and Beth Ann (Dick) Clement of Venedocia. 

He was preceded in death by a brother-in-law, Bob Zuber.

Dick was a 1964 graduate of Spencerville High School and was a lifelong farmer. He had been active in the Van Wert Young Farmers, FFA, and 4 H programs in Van Wert County. He had been a member of Salem Presbyterian Church and Venedocia Lions Club.

Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at Thomas E. Bayliff Funeral Home in Spencerville. Burial will be at a later date in Wright Cemetery near Converse.

Visitation is from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

Preferred memorials: Grand Lake Hospice.

Condolences may be sent to

POSTED: 05/20/19 at 5:21 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Larry DeWayne Sapp, 78, of Mendon, died Friday morning, May 17, 2019, at his home, surrounded by his loving family.

Larry DeWayne Sapp

He was born July 15, 1940, in Mercer County, the son of Paul and Jessie (Snyder) Sapp, who both preceded him in death.  

Larry was a graduate of the Rockford High School Class of 1959. On October 18, 1959, he married the love of his life, the former Linda Ballinger. 

Larry was a long-time farmer and lived in the area his entire life. In addition to his love of farming, Larry loved going to draft horse sales and used to show his one draft horse, which brought him much pride. He enjoyed traveling and going out to eat with his family and friends, especially to Holmes County, Shipshewana, and Berne, Indiana, for numerous sales. But he truly enjoyed just traveling anywhere and everywhere!  

He loved his family — his wife, two daughters, grandchildren, and his one great-granddaughter. He was an inspiration to them all, and to those who knew him. He was a hard worker and a good Christian; faith and love in Jesus was evident in all that Larry did — he attended Mt. Tabor Church of God, where he shared the faith with his family and friends. He was a member of the Cushman Club in Van Wert, where he rode his motorcycle in numerous parades with his good friends and members of the club.

Surviving in addition to his wife, Linda, are two daughters, Lynette (Joe) Westgerdes of Van Wert and Lori Davis of Mendon; and four grandchildren, Adam Westgerdes, Danae (Thaison) Leaser, Seth Tobin, and Kalie Tobin, who will soon to be the wife of Lucas Krouskop; and a great-granddaughter, Britton Leaser. 

Also surviving are Larry’s siblings, Charles (Sharon) Sapp of Rockford, Dick (Karen) Sapp of Rockford, Nancy (Dan) Kline of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Roger (Fran) Sapp of Rockford, Toby (Dan) Feasel of Bryan, and Steve (Connie) Sapp of Celina.

A brother, Benny Sapp, also preceded him in death.

There will be a Celebration of Life for all of Larry’s friends and family on Saturday, June 15, at Larry’s and Linda’s home. Details are incomplete at this time, but will be announced at a later date.

Private graveside services for the family will be held at a later date in Fairview Cemetery. 

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/17/19 at 11:46 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Magdaleno Mendoza, 85, of Van Wert, died at 3:45 a.m. Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at Vancrest Health Care Center in Van Wert.  

He was born July 22, 1933, in Fabens, Texas, the son of Andres and Luz Mendoza, who both preceded him in death. He married Maria De Jesus Mendoza, and she also preceded him in death.

Survivors include two children, Michael Andrew Mendoza and Lisa Maria Mendoza; three grandchildren; a brother, Lucio Mendoza; and three sisters, Connie Simone, Luisa Villanueva, and Josie Arellano.

A Catholic prayer service officiated by Father Stan Szybka will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, May 20, at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert. Burial will take place Thursday, May 23, in Resurrection Cemetery in, Montebello, California.

Visitation will be held after the prayer service until 8 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/17/19 at 11:31 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Rosemary (Price) Scarbrough, 96 of Grover Hill, died at 10 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at Lima Memorial Hospital.

Rosemary (Price) Scarbrough

Rosemary was born January 13, 1923, in Paulding, the daughter of Peter and Viola (Strabele) Daeger, who both preceded her in death. In 1941, she married Gerald “Chuck” Price, who passed away in 1991. On July 11, 1997, she married Robert L. “Bob” Scarbrough, who died September 5, 2015.

Rosemary is survived by her five children, Patty (Dick) Lehman of Grover Hill, Roger (Karen) Price of Van Wert, Barbara Stork of Defiance, Larry (Helene) Price of Louisiana, and Kathy (Terry) Thatcher of Van Wert; three stepchildren, Sandra (Steve) Stecker of Mindoro, Wisconsin, Sue (Ed) Doster of Broughton, and Mike Scarbrough of Wren; a sister, Madeline Scarbrough of Huntington, Indiana; 13 grandchildren; 37 great-grandchildren; and eight great-great-grandchildren.  

Two brothers, Paul and Louie Daeger, also preceded her in death.

Rosemary was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Ottoville, a member of the Polka Boosters, and was a homemaker.

Funeral services will be conducted at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 20, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, with the Very Reverend Jerome Schetter officiating. Burial will be in St Mary’s Cemetery in Ottoville. 

Visitation is from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, May 19. at Love-Heitmeyer Funeral Home in Jackson Township, Putnam County, and from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services Sunday at the church.

Preferred memorials: A charity of the donor’s choice.

POSTED: 05/16/19 at 4:28 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Charles J. “Chuck” Schlechty, 85, went home to be with his Lord and Savior at 2:14 a.m. Wednesday May 15, 2019, at his home in Van Wert, surrounded by family. He had battled illness for some years.

Charles J. “Chuck” Schlechty

Charles was born April 9, 1934, in Medina County, the son of Charles Tennessee and Leatha B. (Lance) Schlechty, who both preceded him in death. He grew up in Lafayette Township and graduated from Medina High School. He married the love of his life, the former Diane B. Brainard, on June 25, 1955, in Medina County and they resided there before moving to Van Wert in 1989. Diane and Charles remained life partners for 64 years and enjoyed traveling in the later years visiting 49 states including Alaska and Hawaii. 

Charles had a love of music and passed this on to his family and was always willing to share his vocal talents as a soloist or choir member. He was an avid fan of The Ohio State Buckeyes (and occasionally the University of Washington Huskies), and Cleveland Browns. He enjoyed playing euchre with his children and grandchildren, attending classic car shows and had a special appreciation for antiques. In his spare time, he was a camper, fisherman, and carpenter.

Charles completed a fulfilling career path, spending 25 years with Ohio Edison in the Line, Engineering, Sales and Marketing departments; 10 years with Ohio Municipal Electric Company of Wadsworth as an assistant superintendent; and finishing his career as a sales representative with Electrical Equipment Company in Aurora. After his retirement, Charles delivered vehicles for Braun Industries and Statewide Ford in Van Wert. 

Charles was a true believer in Christ and a true exponent of Christian principles. He was, by virtue of these attributes, an upright citizen, a devoted husband, exemplary father, loyal neighbor, friend, and servant to his Lord through the local church. He was an active member of several churches and a founding member of Medina Community Church of Medina, and Grace Bible Church of Van Wert. 

In addition to his parents, those preceding him in death include his stepfather, Carl “Pop” Williams; and three siblings, Dorothy June Ribelin, Fred Augustus Schlechty, and Mae Louise Sanford.  

Charles is survived by his wife, Diane (Brainard) Schlechty; three children, Kathy (Lewis) Taylor of Welch, Minnesota, Chuck D (Nolvia Salinas) Schlechty of Pasco, Washington, and Michael D (Lori Tacket) Schlechty of Van Wert; a former daughter-in-law, Mary (Smith) Schlechty of Kirkland, Washington; nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren, with another expected in November.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, May 20, at Grace Bible Church in Van Wert, with Pastor Lance Hostetler officiating. Burial will take place at a later date in Woodland Cemetery in Van Wert.

Visitation is from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at Cowan & Son Funeral Home in Van Wert, and one hour prior to services Monday at the church. 

Preferred memorials: Community Health Professionals-Hospice.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/16/19 at 12:10 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Carla Marie Robenalt, 86, of Van Wert, entered her eternal home at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, 2019, at the Defiance Area Inpatient Hospice Center surrounded by her family. Late in her illness, she longed to be with her Lord and Savior.

Carla Marie Robenalt

She was born October 13, 1932, in Columbus Grove, the daughter of Lawrence A. and Erma (Basinger) Schumacher, who both preceded her in death. On September 5, 1953, she married Marion Francis “Bud” Robenalt, who died February 28, 2013.

Survivors include her daughters, Sherry (John) Rager and Deborah (Brent) Jones, both of Van Wert; three sons, Jeffrey (Kassandra) Robenalt and Mark Robenalt, both of Van Wert, and David Robenalt of Celina; 13 grandchildren, Allen (Ellen) Rager, Andrew (Heather) Rager, Tamara (Kory) Mullenhour, Betsy (Joshua) Gleinser, Adam (Courtney) Rager, and Ryan Rager, Chad (Calley) Seibert, Becky (Cory) Hathaway, Kimberly (Joe) DiFede; Nathan Robenalt, Ian Robenalt, Shane Robenalt, and Taylor Robenalt; and 15 great-grandchildren, Shaelynn, Addison, Landon and Evelyn Rager, Lucas Mullenhour and Charlie Rager, Cora and Joshua Seibert, Isaiah, Aaron, Rachel, and Lydia Hathaway, and Michael, Lexi, and Gregory DiFede; and a 16th grandchild due in November. Also surviving is one sister, LaVerne Borgelt of Crestline; a brother-in-law, Jim (Deanna) Robenalt of Tempe, Arizona; and many nieces and nephews.

Carla was a member of the Class of 1950 of Pandora High School, a class that still holds a reunion annually. She worked for the Ottawa Clerk of Courts following high school and then as a bookkeeper for Hart’s Jewelry Store in downtown Lima when she met her husband in the local coffee shop. After marriage, they resided in Lima until shortly after their first daughter was born and Bud was transferred to Van Wert by the Ohio Power Company. Carla was a homemaker while the children were young and then worked many years as a bookkeeper at the Gospel Gift Shop.

Carla faithfully attended First Baptist Church for the past eight years. Prior to that, she had been an active member of Calvary Evangelical Church, teaching preschool, organizing Angel Tree, serving as the Sunday school literature secretary for many years and church librarian. Carla and Bud spent several years in their retirement traveling the United States and volunteering their time and skills at Southwest Indian School in Peoria, Arizona, during the winters. For many years and until recently, their group of friends met every Sunday night for games and fellowship.

Carla enjoyed cross-stitch, needlepoint, crewel embroidery, and was an excellent seamstress, sewing the children’s clothing and anything needed for their home, a skill she passed on to her daughters. She enjoyed playing games with friends and family, including thousands of games of Uno with the grandchildren and great-grandchildren over the years. Sometimes up to four generations had played together at one time! The young great-grandchildren fondly referred to her as “The Great One.” She was always delighted to have them in her presence.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 18, at First Baptist Church in Van Wert, with Dr. David Warren officiating. Burial will follow in Van Wert Woodland Cemetery. 

Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m. Friday, May 17, at Cowan & Son Funeral Home in Van Wert, and one hour prior to services Saturday at the church. 

Preferred memorials: Gideons International for Bibles in her memory.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/16/19 at 9:41 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Dorothy Louise Rupert, 92, of Largo, Florida, passed away Tuesday evening, May 14, 2019, at the East Bay Rehabilitation Center & Nursing Home in Largo.  

She was born April 23, 1927, in Willshire, the daughter of Herbert Henry and Viola Fredricka (Bollenbacher) Kuhn, who both preceded her in death. On December 24, 1947, she married Donald Richard Rupert, who died in May 1996.

Survivors include two daughters: Rhanda K. Rupert of Clearwater, Florida, and Donna L. Rupert of Largo, Florida; two brothers and a sister, Chalmer Kuhn of Celina, Vernon Kuhn of Rockford, and Delilah “Beck” Hayes, also of Rockford; and one sister-in-law, Janie Kuhn of Rockford.  

Three brothers, Orville, Robert, and Gerald Kuhn, and a sister, Jean Graves, also preceded her in death.

Graveside funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18, in Riverside Cemetery in Geneva, Indiana, with Pastor Chip Steffy officiating. 

Visitation is from 10 a.m.-noon Saturday at Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home in Rockford.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/15/19 at 1:28 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Lois (Wendel) August, 86, of Van Wert, passed away early Sunday morning, May 12, 2019, in the Van Wert Health Emergency Room. 

She was born November 26, 1932, in Van Wert County, the daughter of Gail and Esther (Schaffner) Wendel, who both preceded her in death. 

Lois is survived by her husband, Ronald August of Estero, Florida; a daughter, Alison (Bruce) Johnson of Tucson, Arizona; four stepchildren, Robert (Leila) Kirkconnell of California, Scott (Mary) Kirkconnell of Colorado, Kristen Keating of New York, and Jeanne (Peter) Cunningham of North Carolina; one brother, Larry (Gloria) Wendel of Van Wert; numerous grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Spending time with family during reunions, RVing, and Sunday school at First United Methodist Church were highlights in Lois’s life after retiring from Chase Manhattan Bank in New York as a paralegal. 

An infant sister, Barbara, also preceded her in death. 

A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at First United Methodist Church in Van Wert, with Pastor Chris Farmer officiating.

Preferred memorials: First United Methodist Church Organ Fund.

Arrangements were entrusted to Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home and Crematory in Van Wert.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/13/19 at 11:35 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Winter Storm Elston-Neal, 7 months, passed away Thursday, May 9, 2019, at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

She was born October 7, 2018, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the daughter of Bethany Nicholson and Michael Elston-Neal, who both survive in Van Wert.

Other survivors include a brother, Conner, at home; grandparents Alicia Elston of Van Wert, James Neal of Fort Wayne, and Michelle Simons of North Carolina, as well as aunts, uncles, and cousins.

A twin sister, Summer, also preceded her in death.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert.

Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert has been entrusted with arrangements.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/10/19 at 2:50 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Deloyd M. Rickard, 84, of rural Rockford, died Thursday afternoon, May 9, 2019, at his residence in York Township.

Deloyd M. Rickard

He was born August 8, 1934, in Liberty Township, Van Wert County, the son of Wesley Paul and Elizabeth Camilla (Rollins) Rickard, who both preceded him in death. On September 20, 1952, he married the former Joanne Wise, who survives.

Other survivors include his two sons, Timothy (Bev) Rickard of Rockford and LaVon D. (Darlene) Rickard of Knoxville, Tennessee; three sisters, Patricia Forgie of North Canton, Marilyn J. (Gerald) Mead of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Cheryl (Richard) Shobe of Van Wert; eight grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

Two sons, LaVerne C. Rickard and Tad Alan Rickard, also preceded him in death.

Deloyd was a 1952 graduate of Ohio City-Liberty High School. He was a farmer and retired from Eaton Corporation in Van Wert in 1989.

There will be no services.

Preferred memorials: Rockford Belle Community Church or United Way (youth activities).

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/10/19 at 1:24 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries