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Published: Wednesday, 7/11/2001

Mill owner known for determination

Bill Lumbrezer, an owner and operator of the Toledo Alfalfa Mills, Inc., in Oregon for 48 years, died Monday in a farm field near Graytown.

He was greasing a truck when the hoist came down unexpectedly, his daughter, Becky Box, said. Although he was 78, he worked from 2 or 3 a.m. until 4 p.m. almost seven days a week from May to November, the busy time at the mill. “It was a business that he loved,” his daughter said.

The mills' four permanent employees were Mr. Lumbrezer; his wife, Kathryn; son, Gary; and daughter, and it seemed to be his favorite place to be. He employed an additional six to eight people seasonally to harvest and dry alfalfa. Mr. Lumbrezer had contracts with farmers in Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, and Sandusky counties to buy alfalfa raised on 2,000 acres. His business mows and chops the crop in farmers' fields and hauls it to the mill.

There, Mr. Lumbrezer operated a dehydrator to process the crop that was ground and made into pellets. His mill produces about 8,000 tons of pellets a year, which are sold to livestock feed manufacturers.

His is one of four such mills in northwest Ohio, all of which market their alfalfa pellets through a corporation they own together called Ohio Blenders, Inc. Mr. Lumbrezer was a longtime director of that marketing group.

Don Verhoff, president of Ohio Blenders and owner of an alfalfa mill, remembered Mr. Lumbrezer as a conservative man whose business success seemed due in part to sheer determination.

“If he said he was going to do it or it was going to get done, it was going to get done no matter what,” Mr. Verhoff said.

Mr. Lumbrezer grew up on a farm near Swanton. He belonged to St. Mary's Church in Assumption and attended its school.

He met the woman who would become his wife when they were hauling truckloads of sugar beets to market in Blissfield. When he was in his late 20s, he drove a semi tractor, hauling steel coils to Pittsburgh, Detroit, New York, and southern Ohio.

After about two years, he sold the truck and used the money to make a payment on the alfalfa mill he bought in partnership with his brother-in-law, Rolland Turnow.

Mr. Lumbrezer regularly attended St. John Lutheran Church in Williston, after marrying his wife there in 1950.

They spent part of each winter in Florida for about 15 years. Locally, they often spent weekend nights at the Elks and Eagles lodges in Maumee.

Surviving are his wife, Kathryn, daughters, Cheryl Hettrick and Becky Lumbrezer-Box, son, Gary; sister, Mayola Snyder; brother, Ted, and four grandchildren.

The body will be in the Robinson-Henn-Brossia Funeral Home, Genoa, after 2 p.m. tomorrow. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday in St. John Lutheran Church, Williston. The family requests tributes to the church or a charity of the donor's choice.



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