OAK HARBOR, Ohio - Erich H. Kohntopp, a German-born U. S. Army veteran of World War II who later became an insurance agent, died Sunday in the Cottage Cove of Riverview Senior Healthcare Campus here, where he had lived for two years. He was 83.
The family did not know the cause of death, but Mr. Kohntopp had Alzheimer s disease for a few years, his son, Mark, said.
Mr. Kohntopp was born Feb. 17, 1920, in Armswalde, Germany, to Ferdinand and Emma Kohntopp.
He moved to Genoa in 1923 with his parents, brother, and two sisters, passing through Ellis Island. Relatives gave them $500 for the trip.
“They were out in the field digging potatoes when the post came to bring them the check,” Mark Kohntopp said.
Mr. Kohntopp played football and basketball for Genoa High School. He went to the school s first state basketball tournament and is a member of their sports hall of fame, his son, Paul, said.
He graduated in 1938. In 1941, he and several friends enlisted in the Army. “They thought it was the right thing to do,” Paul Kohntopp said.
Mr. Kohntopp served as a cook in Europe, including Germany, his son said.
He married the former Ida Jane Meyers on Jan. 9, 1943, while home on leave.
After the wedding, he was shipped overseas and did not see his wife for 28 months. But he wrote her a letter every day, Paul Kohntopp said.
In 1945, his Army service ended and he returned to Genoa. He and his wife moved to Clyde, Ohio, in 1958 and Oak Harbor in 1967.
Mr. Kohntopp worked in a hardware store, then joined Prudential Insurance Co. in 1955.
He was an insurance agent, and though he was promoted, he went back to sales because he liked being with people, Paul Kohntopp said.
He retired in 1982.
Mr. Kohntopp was an avid sports fan. He loved the Cleveland Indians and Browns and the Ohio State University Buckeyes, but hated the Detroit Tigers and Lions, Paul Kohntopp said.
He also watched his children s games and most practices.
“He never talked to the coaches. You d just see him parked on the street and watching,” Paul Kohntopp said.
He was an active member of St. John s Evangelical Lutheran Church, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, his son said.
Surviving are his wife, Ida Jane Kohntopp; sons, Mark D. and Paul E. Kohntopp; daughters, Karen J. Demangos and Karla J. Moore; brother, Emil Kohntopp; sister, Betty Orth, and seven grandchildren;
The body will be in the Robinson-Henn-Brossia Funeral Home, Genoa, after 2 p.m. today. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at St. John s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Oak Harbor.
The family suggests tributes to the church s endowment or music memorial funds or to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township.