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Published: Wednesday, 1/9/2013

Woman ran store in West Toledo with her husband

Betty Dziabas, who with her husband ran a carryout that was a hub of her childhood West Toledo neighborhood for nearly 40 years, died Saturday in the Lake Park nursing care center in Sylvania. She was 74.

Mrs. Dziabas died of complications from a stroke she suffered in 1995 and had been ill since mid-December, said Victoria Obee-Hilty, one of her two daughters.

The daughter of Lebanese immigrants, the former Betty Rahal graduated from DeVilbiss High School and, in August, 1948, married Leonard Dziabas.

The couple initially opened a store along Fassett Street. But when the owners of a drugstore at Sylvania and Vermaas avenues - next door to a bar owned by her uncle and down Vermaas from Mrs. Dziabas's childhood home - announced plans to retire in 1954, the Dziabas sold their East Toledo business and converted the drugstore into the Korner Carry Out.

“We opened the first day with a carton of cigarettes and two boxes of candy bars,” Mr. Dziabas said yesterday.

Being situated near the Jeep plant and several other factories and along routes many children walked to school, the carryout soon became a neighborhood gathering place, Mrs. Obee-Hilty said.

The Dziabases had a huge case of penny candy that attracted grade-schoolers heading back to classes after lunch and high-school students whose buses dropped them off in front of the store after school. Mrs. Obee-Hilty said her parents became well tuned-in to the goings-on in the neighborhood and occasionally lent their ears to local children who needed someone besides a family member in which to confide.

“They would see these kids grow up, then later see their kids [the next generation] come in,” the daughter said.

Mrs. Obee-Hilty said she had only one regret about her parents' business - the drugstore into which they moved had a traditional soda fountain counter, “and they tore it out and took it to the dump.” But Mr. Dziabas didn't want his store to become too much of a hangout for teenagers, she said.

The Korner featured many other staples of the carryout trade - beer, soda pop, snacks, and candy, but for many years was a neighborhood grocery store, Mrs. Obee-Hilty said.

As people “became more mobile” and larger stores came to dominate the grocery trade, that part of the business faded, the daughter said. But the Dziabas had the foresight in 1974 to be the first Toledo agents for the Ohio Lottery, and thus maintained a loyal customer base even as competition from chain-owned convenience stores mounted, she said.

The Dziabases sold the Korner Carry Out in 1992, and it remains in business at its 47-year location.

Mrs. Dziabas is survived by her husband, Leonard Dziabas; daughters, Victoria Obee-Hilty and Susan McCall; sisters, Helen Rahal, Lillian Bedra, and Fatima Telb, and five grandchildren.

The family will receive friends and relatives after 4 p.m. tomorrow in the Sylvania United Church of Christ, Erie Street, Sylvania, where an informal remembrance gathering and story-telling session will begin at 8 p.m. A memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday in the church. The Wright Funeral Home in Grand Rapids, Ohio, is in charge of arrangements.

The family requests tributes to Bittersweet Farms in Whitehouse, the 88th U.S. Infantry Division memorial fund, or to a charity of the donor's choice.



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