UPPER SANDUSKY - Amel F. “Jack” Green, an oil driller in New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania who settled in northwest Ohio and became successful drilling water wells for homes and businesses, died Tuesday in Fairhaven Community here from complications of cancer. He was 87.
He owned Amel F. Green Water Well Drilling from the 1950s until retirement in 1980. In his career, he drilled nearly 3,000 wells for homes and businesses, particularly in Wyandot, Seneca, and Sandusky counties.
“He prospered at it,” his son James said. “It was something he did because there was a need. He fulfilled that need and made money - without working for somebody else, which he didn't want to do.
“He liked drilling. Of course when you drill, there's always the unknown, improvising with a machine you control,” he said. “He found a lot of satisfaction out of it.”
Mr. Green didn't believe in dowsing. He knew the area's geology, and he knew to check health department and courthouse records to find good water and avoid sulfur, his son said. Besides, in northwest Ohio, “if you put a hole in the ground, you get water,” his son said.
The height of the business was the housing construction boom of the early and mid-1970s. Construction slowed, and so did drilling, when mortgage interest rates soared in the late 1970s.
He retired in 1980.
“He just had a personable touch with the customers,” said his son-in-law, Paul Kotterman, owner of Kotterman Well Drilling, who got his start with Mr. Green. “He was good at what he did, and he did his best to get good water. He was honest, and a lot of people appreciated that.”
Mr. Green was reared in Oklahoma and was a graduate of Alluwe, Okla., High School.
“He grew up during the Depression. The only job he could get was working on a construction job, working on [oil] pipelines in upstate New York,” his son said. Work in the oil fields of Illinois and Pennsylvania followed.
He was hired by farmers in northwest Ohio to drill for oil.
“They drilled a few wells and didn't make much money,” his son said. “That's when my dad started this water drilling business, to make a living.”
In retirement, Mr. Green liked to read Western novels, play cards, and travel to visit family.
“He was a family man. He had a quiet strength and a strength of character,” his son said.
Surviving are his wife, Genelle, whom he married July 18, 1939; sons, James and Daniel; daughter, Sandra Kotterman; eight grandchildren, and a great-grandson.
Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the Bringman-Clark & Co. Mortuary, Upper Sandusky, where the body will be after 6 tonight.
The family requests tributes to the Fairhaven Community.