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Published: Wednesday, 11/20/2002

Boat dealer enjoyed golf, hunting, and racehorses

OAK HARBOR, Ohio - Donald Hemminger, retired owner and operator of boat dealerships here and in Port Clinton, died Friday at his Foley, Ala., home. He was 75.

Mr. Hemminger died of a heart attack, said his son, Bradley.

An Oak Harbor native, Mr. Hemminger served in the Army, then worked for his father, Henry, at an adjoining service station and bait and fishing tackle shop that he ran in town.

Bradley Hemminger said his father and grandfather added rowboat sales to their fishing-related business, and gradually added larger and larger craft. After setting up their Port Clinton operation, which included a marina along with boat sales, they sold cabin cruisers up to 45 feet long, the son said.

Donald Hemminger was the primary salesman, his son said.

“He was the one who was there 12 to 15 hours a day. He was the one everybody knew,” the son said. “I still run into people who say, `I bought a boat from your dad 40 years ago.'”

Mr. Hemminger sold the business during the late 1970s to Clinton Reef Marina, and for a few years worked as a manager at the Cedar Point Marina in Sandusky before retiring in 1980.

By then, his son said, he was a snowbird, wintering in south Texas, then Mississippi and, starting in 1994, coastal Alabama. He moved to his winter home in a Foley golf course community in 1997.

Along with golfing, Mr. Hemminger enjoyed duck and goose hunting during his younger years, the son said, and later on he dabbled in ownership of thoroughbred racehorses.

Surviving are his son, Bradley; daughter, Beth Hayes; sisters, Ella Marie Jeschke and Lucile Avers, and three grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in the Robinson-Henn-Brossia Funeral Home, Oak Harbor, where the body will be after 6 p.m. Sunday. Oak Harbor Lodge 495, F.&A.M., will conduct a service at 7 p.m. Sunday in the mortuary.

The family requests tributes to the Masonic Lodge or Ottawa County Humane Society.

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