Thursday, Apr 26, 2018
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Napoleon businessman had sense of adventure

NAPOLEON - William P. Lytle, 95, whose interest in business and skill with numbers led him from a career as a U.S. bank examiner to his role as a longtime co-owner of a local company, died Thursday in his home here from complications of congestive heart failure.

He was active until about a month ago, his daughter Martha Schipfer said. Indeed, his Christmas card this year featured a photo of him in a small plane piloted by a nephew, with the legend, “Co-piloting with my nephew at 95 is an adventure,” his daughter said.

Technically, Mr. Lytle was a passenger. But the excursion “says a lot about him,” she said. “He had that sense of adventure all throughout his life.”

Mr. Lytle was a co-owner of what is now called Lytle and Lange, which rents buildings to businesses and manages the property it owns on North Scott Street, his daughter Elizabeth Rupp said.

His interest in the business dates to 1954, when he left a family lumber company in Deshler, Ohio, and with partners William Dunn and Lenhart Lange bought the assets of a Napoleon business to form Napoleon Lumber Co. Mr. Lytle was in charge of keeping the books. The business later offered prefabricated metal farm buildings and bins.

Born in Cleveland, he was a graduate of Shaker Heights High School. He was a graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, he became a bank examiner with the U.S. Treasury Department, often traveling to small towns to examine a bank s books.

An uncle who ran the family lumberyard in Deshler asked him to help out, and he left the Treasury Department in 1945.

“He always talked about what a leap he made,” daughter Elizabeth said. “He was one of the youngest commissioned bank examiners at the time. So he was leaving something certain, to go with his uncle in a business he didn t know a lot about. He was a very good businessman. It was one of those big life changes.”

Mr. Lytle was a board member for more than 30 years of Buckeye State Mutual Insurance Co., Piqua, Ohio. He became vice president of the board in 1968 and president in 1979. He retired in the early 1980s.

He was an elder of First Presbyterian Church, Napoleon, and served on the ministerial relations group for the Maumee Presbytery. He spent his free time with family. His recreation was following the business news of the day.

“He was deliberate in his decisions, and he was always accurate,” daughter Martha said. “He was supportive of people trying new things or taking a risk, but a sensible risk.”

Mr. Lytle and his wife, Elizabeth, married Sept. 4, 1937. She died June 9, 2002.

Surviving are his son, William D. Lytle; daughters Elizabeth Rupp and Martha Schipfer; five grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and two step-great-grandchildren.

Visitation will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. tomorrow in Walker Mortuary, Napoleon. Memorial services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday in First Presbyterian Church, Napoleon.

The family suggests tributes to the Henry County Humane Society, the First Presbyterian Church, Henry County Hospice, or the Psoriasis Foundation.

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