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Published: Thursday, 8/21/2003

Former Owens chief helped shape institution

Memorial services for Dr. Jacob H. See, who sowed the seeds to create what became Owens Community College, were yesterday in Belleview United Methodist Church, Belleview, Fla.

He died July 16 of a heart attack at Grant Medical Center in Columbus. He was 84.

Dr. See served 16 years as president of the college until his retirement in 1984.

During that time, he helped what was then Owens Technical College grow from fewer than 200 students to one of the largest technical colleges in the state with more than 5,000 students.

“I saw him then and others in the technical school movement as being kind of pioneers for technical schools in Ohio,” Dan Brown, former president of Owens, said. He succeeded Dr. See, retiring two years ago.

In the early days of the Perrysburg Township college, Dr. See helped secure state funding for the college's first buildings and separated its identity from what was then Penta County Vocational High School.

Beginning in the late 1960s, Dr. See headed both Owens and the vocational school. At that time, Owens was little more than a farmhouse, a dairy barn, and several old Army barracks.

But he left Penta in 1974 to take the Owens Tech job full time as demand began to grow for technical training beyond what vocational high schools offered.

“He really separated the two institutions and we got accredited as a college,” said Mr. Brown, who worked with Dr. See.

The buildings for which he secured funding include College Hall, the Health Technology Building, the Industrial Technology Building, and the Student Activity Building, Mr. Brown said.

“The college may not have existed had it not been him working with the [state] Legislature,” Mr. Brown said.

A leader with a flair for the dramatic, Dr. See once asked for and received a salary increase of just $1 over five years, saying he believed his annual pay of $43,548 in 1978 was sufficient.

“He was a unique individual,” Mr. Brown said.

“He could be a real bull, but he could be very sensitive.”

After leaving Owens, he worked in Botswana for almost a year at a technical college, surveying the labor needs of the country and helping create training programs.

He then traveled for several years and taught briefly at a technical college in Florida before retiring.

In later years, he divided his time between residences in Wheelersburg and Belleview, Fla.

Surviving are his wife, Joyce; sons, Jacob III, Joseph, and Daniel; daughters, Carol Ann Boles and Rhonda Schuman; half brother, Ed Fannin; half sister, Davida Dutiel, and 11 grandchildren.

Arrangements were by the Harrison-Pyles Funeral Home in Wheelersburg.



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