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Published: Saturday, 11/23/2002

Skilled mechanic had his own shop

NORTH BALTIMORE, Ohio - Kenneth E. Troutner, owner of Troutner Auto Electric, died Wednesday in the Blakely Care Center here. He was 99.

His cause of death is unknown, family members said.

Mr. Troutner, of North Baltimore, grew up on a farm just north of McComb, Ohio. He left the farm to attend the Sweeny Automotive & Electrical School in Kansas City, Mo. He graduated in 1925 and later completed Studebaker Service School in South Bend, Ind., and the Hobart Welding School in Troy, Ohio.

He managed Fenberg Motor Sales in Findlay, then opened his own shop in North Baltimore. It was open four years before the Great Depression drove Mr. Troutner out of business.

For a few years, he worked as a mechanic for car dealers in Findlay, Defiance, and Monroe. He fixed cars, trucks, and tractors.

“He'd go out to some farms and work on tractors right out in the fields,” his son, Douglas, said.

In 1936, Mr. Troutner returned to North Baltimore and opened a repair shop in connection with a DeSoto-Plymouth dealer. He started operating independently four years later under the name Troutner Auto Electric.

His business fixed vehicles and repaired heavy machinery for the former France Stone Co. Mr. Troutner was one of just a few mechanics who still fixed magnetos, an old car part that ignited spark plugs.

“He was somebody who wanted to do things just right,” his son said.

Mr. Troutner retired in 1983 after owning the shop for 43 years.

He enjoyed gardening, woodworking, and researching local history. He belonged to the Ohio and Wood County historical societies, the Southern Ohio Covered Bridge Association, and the Toledo Naturalist's Camera Club.

“He loved to travel around Ohio,” his son said. “He probably recorded on slides every festival in Ohio.”

In the early 1930s, Mr. Troutner was a sergeant in the Ohio National Guard.

He was a member of Portage Chapel Methodist Church in McComb and St. James United Methodist Church in North Baltimore.

Mr. Troutner married Ruth Kelley in 1935. She died in 1957.

Surviving are his wife of more than 40 years, Marvel; son, Douglas; daughters, Naida Troutner, Karen Andrews, Pamela Burdo, and Mary Beth Martinez; eight grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today in St. James United Methodist Church. The Smith-Crates Funeral Home, North Baltimore, is handling arrangements.

The family requests tributes to North Baltimore Public Library or St. James United Methodist Church.

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