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Published: Tuesday, 11/7/2000

Ex-rail worker was on Oregon planning panel

George F. Kuebler, a longtime Oregon plan commission member, a retired railroad employee, and co-owner of a former weekly newspaper, died Oct. 30 in Northside Hospital and Heart Institute, St. Petersburg, Fla. He was 83.

Mr. Kuebler, formerly of Navarre Avenue in Oregon, lived in Pinellas Park, Fla. He had a growth removed from his stomach about a month ago and died from complications from the surgery, his son, David, said.

He was born in Bucyrus, O., and his family moved to East Toledo when he was a boy. He graduated from Waite High School in 1935.

Mr. Kuebler went to work for the former New York Railroad, following the footsteps of his father who was a railroad track repairman, his wife, Martha Kuebler, said. He later worked as a yard conductor for the former Penn Central Railroad.

“Ever since he was a kid he wanted to work for the railroad,” Mrs. Kuebler said. Mr. Kuebler worked in the Walbridge and Moline railroad yards. He retired in 1976.

Mr. Kuebler was active in Oregon politics when the city was a township and fending off an annexation attempt by Toledo, David Kuebler said. He was chairman of the Oregon Township zoning commission in the 1950s. He remained with the board when the township was incorporated into a village in 1957.

Among his proudest accomplishments with the board was the adoption of the 1964 master plan, which included the city's downtown area on Navarre Avenue.

“It was something that the city needed badly,” Mr. Kuebler told The Blade in 1977 for an article about his retirement from the board.

David Kuebler said his father was proud of his work on the plan commission and the resulting growth of the city. “He didn't allow any biases to enter into his decisions. If he didn't think something was right for the city, then he wouldn't approve it. He went by the book.” he said.

Leonard Wasserman, Oregon's mayor from 1975 through 1981, agreed that under Mr. Kuebler, the city plan commission strictly adhered to Oregon's charter and its decisions generated few appeals.

“He did an excellent job. He had his full heart in it for the city of Oregon, and he ran a real tight ship,” Mr. Wasserman said. “Some people maybe didn't agree with him, but I think he had a good head on his shoulders for planning for the city.”

Mr. Kuebler and his wife moved in 1979 to Pinellas Park, where he was appointed to the planning and zoning commission. He recently resigned from the board, his wife said.

Mr. Kuebler was among five people who founded the Oregon News in 1957. An avid photographer, he took pictures for the weekly publication and edited and wrote stories, his son said.

“He did it all. From writing editorials to shooting pictures and editing. He did pretty much everything,” David Kuebler said. Mr. Kuebler sold his interest in the newspaper in 1978. The newspaper went out of business in 1980.

Mr. Kuebler was a model railroad buff, his wife said. He was a charter member of the North Bay Railroad Club. He belonged to Euclid United Methodist Church, serving as a Sunday school teacher and administrative board member.

Surviving are his wife, Martha; sons David, Donald, and Harold; brothers, Glenn and Joseph; sister, Hilda Rishel; nine grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday in Euclid United Methodist Church. Arrangements are being handled by Eggleston-Meinert-Funeral Home.

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