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Published: Saturday, 8/14/2004

Campground co-owner was volunteer firefighter

Paul Eckel, Sr., a 43-year charter member of the Perrysburg Township Volunteer Fire Department who co-owned Eckel's Twin Oaks summer campground in Marblehead, died of cardiac arrest yesterday in Firelands Regional Medical Center. He was 76.

"He was a good fireman, very aggressive," Louis Wehde, a former Perrysburg Township fire chief, said. "He was very active. He spent a lot of time down there, did a great job, and was respected by everyone."

Mr. Eckel was one of the first people to respond to Perrysburg Township trustees' request for volunteers when they were forming the fire department in 1961. Later that year he completed his fire training through a township program.

Mr. Eckel, a Perrysburg native, quit Perrysburg High School in 1943, when he was in the 11th grade, and went to work at the Rossford Army Depot box shop. At different times he drove a semi truck for a friend's business. He was also a road maintenance worker and managed a dump, both for Perrysburg Township, his daughter, Marinda Zera, said.

In 1966, Mr. Eckel became a fire marshal for the Chrysler Toledo Machining Plant in Perrysburg Township, a job he held until 1987, when he retired. He also drove a school bus part-time for the Rossford school district in the early 1970s.

"He was a hard worker all his life to make sure that his children and his family had everything he could give them," Ms. Zera said.

In retirement, Mr. Eckel focused on running Eckel's Twin Oaks, which he and his wife of 55 years, Dolores, owned since 1975. He enjoyed traveling and spending his winters in Florida.

Mr. Eckel was president of the United Plant Guard Workers of America Union at Chrysler and a member of Moose Lodge 1610 in Port Clinton.

Surviving are his wife, Dolores Eckel; sons, Ronald Eckel and Paul Eckel, Jr.; daughter, Marinda Zera; brother, Glen Eckel; sisters, Beulah "Boots" Jones, Norma Smith, and Iona Snyder, and six grandchildren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday in Neidecker, LeVeck & Crosser Funeral Home, Lakeside-Marblehead, where the body will be after 7 p.m. tomorrow.

The family suggests tributes to the Perrysburg Township Volunteer Fire Department.

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