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Published: Saturday, 3/17/2001

Manville ex-executive recruited teachers for St. Paul Lutheran

DEFIANCE - Edmund R. “Duffy” Dierks, a former plant superintendent for the Manville Corp. who organized and taught Sunday school classes at St. Paul Lutheran Church here, died Wednesday in Defiance Hospital. He was 77.

Mr. Dierks, of Defiance, was being treated for a respiratory illness.

His career in supervisory positions at Manville spanned 25 years. For much of the time, he was superintendent of Plant 3, and he later was safety director at Plant 8, David Dierks, his son, said.

Both plants are in Defiance.

During that period, Mr. Dierks and others organized the Defiance County United Way, and he served as its president in 1978.

Active in St. Paul Lutheran Church, Mr. Dierks was the church superintendent who recruited other Sunday school teachers and taught classes during the 1960s.

“He was most interested in teaching the post-high school or early college-age group and how religion plays a role in your life,” his son said. “Back in the Vietnam days, the kids had a lot of questions about those things.”

Stephen Korhn, a family friend who attended those Sunday school classes, called Mr. Dierks “just a solid citizen.”

After Mr. Dierks retired from Manville in 1982, he became a real estate agent, selling residential property for about five years for Patten Realty.

In retirement, Mr. Dierks also directed numerous blood drives for the Defiance County Red Cross.

A native of Bryan, he was a graduate of Bryan High School. He enlisted in the Army, serving in the infantry in China, Burma, and India during World War II. He was a 1954 graduate of the University of Wyoming. His first wife, Gertrude, died in 1977. He married the former Beverly Calkins in 1985.

He was a member of the Omega Masonic Lodge and was former president of the Defiance Kiwanis Club.

Surviving are his wife, Beverly; son, David; brother, Charles; sister, Jeannie Kuhn, and two grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today at St. Paul Lutheran Church, where the body will be an hour before the service. The Mast-Mock-Hoffman Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

The family requests tributes to the church endowment fund in memory of Gertrude Dierks.

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