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Published: Saturday, 7/17/2004

Jack-of-all-trades was milk tester for county

ALVORDTON, Ohio - Ernest L. Ricks, a retired farmer in Williams County's Mill Creek Township who once served as the county's milk tester, died of pneumonia Wednesday in the Evergreen Nursing Home, Montpelier, Ohio. He was 87.

Mr. Ricks was one of nine students who graduated from Kunkle (Ohio) High School in 1935. He started farming with his father, raising mostly grains and some cattle.

A jack-of-all-trades, Mr. Ricks was widely known in as a locksmith. At one time, he was a butcher and also co-owned and operated Ricks Lumber Co., near Kunkle. For many years in the 1950s he delivered gas for Miller Gas Co. of Archbold, Ohio, and also built houses.

"He loved talking to people and getting to know them," his daughter, Linda Ricks, said.

An active member of the Williams County Historical Society, Mr. Ricks was an avid story teller, his daughter said. He loved to tell stories about the area and what it was like in his youth.

From 1967 to 1986, Mr. Ricks was employed by Dairy Herd Improvement Association, testing milk at Williams County dairy farms. "He loved that job. At one time, he tested milk from 36 herds," his daughter said.

Mr. Ricks was a member of the Pioneer Lions Club and, from 1970 to 1994, the Williams County Fair Board, serving as chairman of the horticultural department.

His wife, Velehr, whom he married Oct. 26, 1941, died March 20, 1989.

Surviving are his daughters, Betty Johnson and Mary and Linda Ricks, and a grandson.

Services will be at 1 p.m. today in Wilson-Geesey Funeral Home, Montpelier.

The family suggests tributes to the Evergreen Manor Rose Garden or Evergreen Activity Fund, Montpelier.

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