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Published: Friday, 10/29/2004

Farmer served community as trustee, EMT

PORT CLINTON - Roland G. Schumaker, a lifelong farmer who operated the Homeville Fruit Farm between Port Clinton and Oak Harbor along with his brother for 40 years, died of colon cancer Tuesday in his home near here. He was 73.

About half the farm was apple orchards, his daughter, Beth Ann Thorpe, said.

"It was his passion," she said. "It was all he ever wanted to do."

They also grew tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, grain, soybeans, sweet corn, and peaches. His son, Wayne, said the brothers operated a fruit stand.

Mr. Schumaker and his oldest brother, Herbert, took over the family farm in the mid-1950s, his son said.

His daughter said that out of eight siblings, they were the most interested in running the farm.

Mr. Schumaker was born Sept. 6, 1931, in Toledo. In 1947, the family moved to the farm, and Mr. Schumaker graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 1949.

He married the former Phyllis A. Besso in 1955.

Mr. Schumaker was a generous man who lived his life giving back to the community, his children said.

He was a charter member of the Erie Township Volunteer Fire Department in the 1960s and served as a firefighter and emergency medical technician. Mr. Schumaker also was an Erie Township trustee for several years.

His daughter said that after overnight snows, Mr. Schumaker would go out early in the morning with his tractor and plow all the neighbors' driveways.

"Anytime anybody needed anything, he'd be there to do it," she said.

His children described Mr. Schumaker as a hard workerwho also had a great sense of humor.

"He'd be the loudest one laughing out there in the barn," his daughter, Judi McAlenney, said

Surviving are his wife, Phyllis Schumaker; daughters, Beth Ann Thorpe and Judi McAlenney; sons, David, Wayne, and Billy Schumaker; sisters, Clara Kreger, Alma Diefenthaler, Elaine Venable, and Marilyn Sawyer; brother, Norman Schumaker; four granddaughters, and two step-granddaughters.

The body will be in the Robinson-Henn-Brossia and Walker Funeral Home, Oak Harbor, after 2 p.m. today. Services are at 11 a.m. tomorrow in St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Oak Harbor.

The family suggests tributes to the American Cancer Society, Hospice of Memorial Hospital, or the church.

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