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Published: Monday, 11/24/2003

Postal employee worked at polls, enjoyed traveling

BLAKESLEE, Ohio - Phyllis Jean Muehlfeld, a lifelong Williams County resident who was a poll worker for 38 years and was employed in the tiny Blakeslee post office, died Friday in Parkview Hospital, Fort Wayne, Ind. She was 65.

She had been flown to Parkview on Nov. 2 with a torn aorta, likely caused by high blood pressure. But she appeared to be recovering and was to be released Wednesday. The family did not know the ultimate cause of death, her daughter, Pam Winslow, said.

This year s election fell during Mrs. Muehlfeld s hospitalization, and it was the first general election in 38 years that the Republican did not work at the polls, her daughter said. She took days off from all her jobs to work at the polls and typically arrived with home-baked goodies for her fellow workers.

She had been employed in the Blakeslee post office, which has about 50 mailboxes, for about four years. She started there soon after retiring from Chief Supermarket in Bryan, where she was a cashier and an office worker for more than 20 years.

Decades earlier, she had worked at the post office as well. She was a substitute employee in the late 1960s when it was housed in a general store.

Mrs. Muehlfeld was born in Stryker, the daughter of Omar Goebel, an Ohio Gas Co. employee, and his wife, Bertha, a laborer at Spangler Candy Co. in Bryan. She graduated from Edgerton High School in 1956 and married her high school sweetheart, Anthony Muehlfeld, in 1959. They lived on his parents farm south of Blakeslee and then moved into the village, where Mrs. Muehlfeld remained for more than 40 years.

She was a member of St. Joseph s Catholic Church in the village and was once president of its women s group.

Mrs. Muehlfeld was a waitress at the former LaMar s Restaurant in Bryan for about five years from the time she was in high school until she started a family. She enjoyed traveling with her husband to Knights of Columbus and related conventions. Mr. Muehlfeld, who had managed a print shop in Bryan, died in 1992 at age 53.

Surviving are her sons, Roger and Alan; daughter, Pam Winslow; brother, Larry; seven grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in St. Joseph s Catholic Church, Blakeslee. Visitation will be from 2 to 8 tonight, with a Rosary service at 7:30 p.m. in the Rice-Burr Funeral Home, Bryan. The family suggests tributes to a charity of the donor s choice.

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