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Published: Thursday, 3/21/2002

Conservationist helped neighbors, farmed 99 acres

OAK HARBOR, Ohio - Woodrow W. Kohlman, a lifelong Ottawa County farmer who was recognized for his soil-conservation efforts, died of cancer Tuesday in his home. He was 89.

For many years, Mr. Kohlman operated a 99-acre farm, where he grew tomatoes, pickles, and grain, John Kohlman, his son, said. He also rented additional acreage.

“His satisfaction was not having a weed on the farm,” his son said. “He was a stickler for not having any weeds.”

His own vegetable garden was a particular source of pride.

“He loved to put out a big garden in the spring,” his son said. “More times than not he ended up giving a lot away - things he couldn't use.”

In his own garden, he grew peas, green beans, potatoes, asparagus, squash, strawberries, and raspberries. He also kept a small vineyard, making wine from grapes, raspberries, and dandelions.

Besides sharing part of the harvest, Mr. Kohlman routinely aided other farmers with their tasks. “He was a very caring person - friendly, giving,” Mr. Kohlman said. “Back when Dad was farming, they all kind of worked together to help each other out.”

In 1963, Mr. Kohlman was presented with the Goodyear Soil Conservation Award from the Ottawa Soil Conservation District. He also received the Ohio Top-Ten Club award for tomato production eight times between 1948 and 1961.

Mr. Kohlman was a member of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church. He also was a member of the Ottawa County Farm Bureau, the Ottawa County Farmers Union, and the Goodfellow Association

Born near Rocky Ridge, Ohio, Mr. Kohlman attended Oak Harbor High School but left after the 10th grade to help on his family's farm.

He worked for several other area farmers before marrying the former Gertrude Klug in 1941.

Mr. Kohlman was an Army veteran of World War II, where he was a corporal serving in the Pacific Theater.

Surviving are his wife, Gertrude; daughters, Doris Puestow and Mary O'Neal; son, John; sisters, Alice Miller, Clara Caris-Parman, May Schimming, and Dorothy Watkins; brothers, Elmer and Herman, and five grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church. The body will be in the Robinson-Henn-Brossia Funeral Home after 2 p.m. today.

The family requests tributes to the church's endowment fund, Hospice of Memorial Hospital in Fremont, or a charity of the donor's choice.

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