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Published: Sunday, 7/6/2003

Deshler contractor was civic booster

DESHLER, Ohio - Wayne J. “Tag” Christman, a fishing enthusiast who served on Deshler Village Council and founded a family business, died Friday from a stroke at Wood County Hospital in Bowling Green. He was 79.

Mr. Christman lived in the Deshler area most of his life. After graduating from high school in Deshler, he served in the Army during World War II.

He started his tour of duty in India, and then volunteered to travel across the Himalayas on pack mules into China, where his unit faced occupying Japanese forces.

His unit later crossed China and was preparing to invade Japan when the war ended.

When Mr. Christman returned to Deshler, he was a plumber for several years before starting his own general contracting business with his brothers in 1952.

Christman Brothers Builders and Lumber Co. is still owned by the family.

Mr. Christman and his brothers worked hard to start the firm, which does plumbing, heating, and electrical work for mostly residential clients.

“If somebody needed help in the middle of the night, they were there,” his daughter, Linda Parker, said. “They'd go out on Christmas and in snowstorms ... they were very dedicated to their business.”

Mr. Christman was known as an honest businessman who got along well with everyone, family members said.

He was still doing work for the firm at the time of his death.

Mr. Christman was devoted not only to his customers, but also to his community. He was on village council for eight years in the 1960s, serving as council president part of that time.

He was active in the Deshler Builders, a group that worked to attract businesses to the area, and volunteered on the Deshler Volunteer Fire Department for about 20 years.

He helped with upkeep of the Veterans Memorial baseball fields in Deshler.

“He was always interested in having something for the kids in the town to do,” his daughter said.

Mr. Christman loved fishing, and participated in many tournaments in the tri-state area.

He was a founding member of the Maumee Valley Sportsman's Club and belonged to the local Bassmasters Club.

His other memberships included the China-Burma-India Veterans Association, Deshler American Legion Post, and the Deshler First United Methodist Church.

“He always found the best in everybody,” his son, Wayne, Jr., said. “He was a soothing, calming influence on everyone around him.”

Surviving are his wife of 56 years, Virginia; sons, Wayne, Jr., and Ralph; daughter, Linda Parker; brothers, Ed, Dalton, and William; sister, Betty Eubel; five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the Rodenberger Funeral Home, Deshler, where the body will be after 2 p.m. today.

The family requests tributes to the Deshler First United Methodist Church.

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