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Published: Saturday, 2/14/2004

Farmer in Otsego area was basketball referee

TONTOGANY - Alton R. Euler, 89, a longtime farmer, former school board member, and high school basketball official, died of a heart attack yesterday in Bowling Green Manor.

“He and his father and brothers farmed about 2,000 acres - that was a lot of acreage - and they raised beef cattle, about 500 head at a time,” his son Richard said. He retired at 75.

The Wood County enterprise ended in the late 1960s when the family patriarch, David Euler, died. Alton on his own grew corn, soybeans, and wheat on more than 200 acres.

He played basketball at Tontogany High School and was a semi-professional baseball player. After cattle prices fell in the late 1930s, he made extra money by officiating at high school basketball games for 38 years. From the era before interstate highways to the mid-1970s, he spent Friday nights and Saturdays traveling from the Michigan border south to Lima, Ohio, and from Sandusky west to the Indiana border.

“He loved the game. He loved the kids. He loved the sportsmanship,” his son said. “He was a fiery competitor himself. He loved to have the game played right. He called a close game, and I think he made the teams better for it.”

He was elected to two terms on the former Washington Township Board of Education in the 1950s - before the district and several others consolidated to form what is now Otsego Local Schools.

Mr. Euler, his wife, Elmolie, and their children ran a grocery-marina-gas pump in Indiana, the Lake Gage Trading Post, from the late 1960s until the mid-1970s.

He was a member of the township volunteer fire department for many years.

Surviving are his wife, Elmolie, whom he married Aug. 7, 1938; sons, Richard and Allyn Euler; daughters, Beth Cookson and Laraine Cocke; brother, Clarence Euler; 10 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in the Peinert Mortuary, Tontogany, where the body will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow.

The family suggests tributes to Tontogany Presbyterian Church, of which he was a member, or the township volunteer fire department.

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