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Published: Monday, 4/21/2003

Avid Democrat spoke her mind on political views

LYONS, Ohio - Marian Potes Mika Sullins, an outspoken Democrat from Fulton County, died of complications of Parkinson's disease April 15 at her family farm in Lyons. She was 78.

Marian Potes was born on a Fulton County farm March 5, 1925, the eldest of three children. She graduated from Lyons High School in 1943, said her brother, Charles Potes of Wauseon. After a brief stint at nurse's training at Toledo Hospital, she took a job at the telephone exchange in Adrian, connecting telephone calls “the old-fashioned, manual way,” her brother said.

“She loved that job. She knew what everyone was doing,” he said. She met Frank Mika at a traveling Vaudeville show in Lyons - she stepped on his fingers while climbing the bleachers. They married in 1947, and settled on the Mika farm in Seward to raise tomatoes, sugar beets, and four children. Mrs. Mika sewed most of her children's clothing, and knitted sweaters and blankets for the family. She was active at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Lyons, and was a Democratic committeewoman for many years, her brother said.

“She was a Democrat, no doubt, and most of the rest of the family was Republican,” Mr. Potes said. “It made for some good discussions at family meals. She was good at speaking her mind.”

Mr. Mika died in 1978. Mrs. Mika next took a job in Toledo at jeweler Bailey, Banks, and Biddle, attending trade shows in faraway cities and buying wholesale gift items to sell in the Toledo store. She later married Jim Sullins, a local farmer who was also widowed. The pair moved to Florida, taking up golf and touring the country, Mr. Potes said. Mrs. Sullins' proudest achievements included hitting a hole-in-one at the Cypress Greens Golf Course in 1991, and having visited every state except Oregon, her brother said.

Mr. Sullins died in 1992; his widow remained in Florida until recently.

“She kept the farm right up to the very end,” Mr. Potes said.

Survivors include daughters Victoria Koelsch, Stephanie Mika, and Suzanne Holland; son John Mika; her brother, 10 grandchildren, one great-grandchild; and three stepchildren.

The body will be at Biehl-Malone Funeral Home, Metamora, from 2 to 9 p.m. today, with a Rosary service at 7:30 p.m. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Lyons.

The family suggests that tributes be to the church building fund.

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