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Published: Monday, 10/29/2001

Metal worker donated time, skills to St. Francis school

Raymond J. Trautman, Sr., a World War II veteran who worked in sheet metal in Toledo for 40 years and was a devoted volunteer at St. Francis de Sales High School, died Friday in Toledo Hospital.

He was 78 and suffered from a rare condition that causes the coronary system to waste away, his daughter, Sandra Ann Draheim, said. His health had declined in recent months, but he had remained active.

The eldest of two boys, he was born in Fostoria to Merle and Agnes Trautman. They moved to Toledo when Raymond was very young.

He attended St. Michael's elementary school and Central Catholic High School until his junior year, when he quit for a job with the Works Project Administration. He was assigned to construction at the Toledo Zoo.

Mr. Trautman volunteered for the military and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps with the 485th bomber squadron in Italy and Germany. The plane he was assigned to was shot down on a day he was not allowed to fly because he had an ear infection.

On a short leave, he married the former Geraldine Gromeoly of Toledo on Aug. 7, 1943.

When he returned to Toledo, he became a sheet metal worker with the former DeVilbiss Co., a job he would hold for 40 years until his retirement in 1985. He often moonlighted another 20 to 30 hours a week doing similar work for the former A.H. Lumm Co., the former Larry L. Kaufman Co., and the local shipyards.

His son and namesake, nicknamed Moose, played football at St. Francis de Sales High School and Mr. Trautman was one of the original members of the fathers' volunteer group, Knights of the Roundtable.

He sold tickets for almost every football and basketball game from about 1965 to 1990 and drove his truck to collect newspapers for the school to sell for recycling almost every Saturday in the 1970s. He built the school's batting cage, helped set up for fund-raisers, and donated his time to work on welding, electrical, and plumbing projects.

“He just had a lot of talent and he was always there when we needed him,” said Richard Mattingly, who was football coach when Knights of the Roundtable was formed.

The school awarded Mr. Trautman an honorary diploma in 1987 and inducted him into its hall of fame in the 1990s.

In the 1950s, he was a Cub Scout leader at Blessed Sacrament Church for nine years and coached six-man football for high school students in the Catholic Youth Organization for four years.

He enjoyed golf, often playing at Valleywood Golf Club and Ottawa Park Golf Course, and fishing trips to a nephew's cottage in Canada. He liked to swim and as a child growing up in North Toledo, he would swim across the Maumee River.

Mr. Trautman belonged to the Knights of Columbus 3122, American Legion, Fraternal Order of Eagles, and for a short time in the 1990s was an usher at the Toledo Museum of Art and a guide at Wildwood Manor.

He was a member of the Hungarian Club, which was his wife's heritage; he was German, Polish, and French. He cared for his wife at home when she suffered from lung cancer from late 1987 until her death in April of 1988.

Surviving are his son, R.J. Jr. “Moose”; daughter, Sandra Ann Draheim; mother, Agnes Trautman; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Visitation is from 2 to 9 p.m. today in Blanchard Bros. Funeral Home with a scripture service at 7:30 p.m. A prayer service will be at the mortuary at 9:15 a.m. tomorrow followed by the funeral at 10 a.m. in Blessed Sacrament Church. The family requests tributes to St. Francis de Sales High School.



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