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Published: Tuesday, 10/5/2004

Funeral director active in community

FINDLAY, Ohio - Don E. Kirkpatrick, a funeral director here for 40 years, died of complications of a stroke Saturday in Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center. He was 90.

Mr. Kirkpatrick retired in 1987 after several decades with what is now the Kirkpatrick-Behnke Funeral Home.

He was a people person who truly enjoyed helping those in need, his daughter, Karol Dill, said. "He knew just what to say to people when they were struggling," she said.

Mr. Kirkpatrick began working at the Barnhart Memorial Funeral Home on South Main Street in 1940. He became a partner in the business in 1946 and bought it in 1962. In 1969, he bought the Miles Funeral Home at 500 Lima Ave. and moved his business there.

Born in New London, Ohio, he graduated from New London High School in 1932. While in school, he worked part time at a funeral home and became interested in the business, his daughter said.

After high school, he worked as a truck driver for E. Bigelow Tile Co. in New London, where he met the former Ruth E. Shull. They were married in 1938 and moved here, where she had grown up, after Mr. Kirkpatrick graduated from the Cleveland College of Embalming.

Mr. Kirkpatrick helped establish Family Services of Hancock County and was its first president in 1970. He was on the board of directors until 1983.

He was a member of the Findlay Area Chamber of Commerce, a past president of the Central Ohio chapter of the American Heart Association, and a charter member of the Hancock Historical Museum Association. He was an elder, deacon, and trustee of First Presbyterian Church, of which he was a member.

Surviving are his wife, Ruth; daughter, Karol Dill; son, Don; five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. today in the Kirkpatrick-Behnke Funeral Home, where services will be at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow. The family suggests tributes to the Heritage, a retirement complex in Findlay.



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