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Published: Tuesday, 5/22/2001

Longtime Pioneer farmer ran retail produce business

PIONEER, Ohio - Edward S. Siler, a World War II veteran, farmer, and businessman here, died Saturday of a viral infection complicated by Parkinson's disease at Community Hospitals of Williams County-Bryan. He was 95.

Mr. Siler, born to Florence M. and Samuel Siler, had been a resident of Pioneer since 1946. He fought in World War II as a member of the U.S. Army.

“I idolized him,” said his brother, Herb Siler. “He saved my life twice. During the Depression, [I was sick] and couldn't get any help from the township. He sent me up to a Toledo hospital and paid for the whole thing. There was another time I needed a procedure done and he paid for that too.”

He owned a farm in Madison Township for many years, and he and other members of his family helped work the fields and operated a popular retail produce business that they called Siler's Wayside Farms.

Herb Siler said they sold apples, peaches, and frozen cherries from a walk-in cooler at their produce store in Pioneer, which is in northern Williams County. The Silers managed the store for more than 50 years.

“We operated it in uptown Pioneer here,” Herb Siler said. “We were pretty successful at it. Ed got a lot of enjoyment out of the store.”

Edward Siler got considerable pleasure from farming, his brother said.

“He raised corn, wheat, beans, and oats,” Herb Siler said. “He had 80 acres right outside of Pioneer.”

Herb Siler said the building that housed their produce business was eventually converted into a ranch-style home.

Edward Siler suffered a stroke in 1995 and his Parkinson's disease worsened.

Herb Siler said he used a walker to get around and later a wheelchair. He said, though, that Edward Siler remained positive, joking with anyone he met. “Everyone who met him liked him,” Herb Siler said. “We've been together for so many years. I really admired him. To me, he was a very generous person and I will always remember that.”

Surviving are his brother and a sister, Dorothy Leseney, of Lansing.

Visitation will be held after 11 a.m. today at Thompson Funeral Home in Montpelier. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. today at Riverside Cemetery. Graveside military rites be conducted by the Montpelier veteran organizations. The family request that memorials be made to Williams County Home Health Care.

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