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Published: Thursday, 11/25/2004

Ex-railroader put stock in his rosary

Andrew Kundrath, 82, a retired foreman and railroad wreck master for more than four decades, died Tuesday in St. Charles Hospital, Oregon.

He suffered internal bleeding from a fall in his Oregon home Nov. 13 and was unable to recover, daughter Kathleen Sallee said.

A Toledo native, he was hired by the former Pennsylvania Railroad in 1942 and worked 42 years clearing derailments and other train wrecks across a large region in all kinds of weather, Mrs. Sallee said.

"When we were kids, it was not uncommon for my dad to work 80 or 90 hours a week," Mrs. Sallee said. "He would come home in the winter and my mom would help him thaw out his feet when the phone would ring again and he'd have to go back out." Mr. Kundrath retired from Conrail in 1984.

Mr. Kundrath was a railroad enthusiast as well, collecting various pieces of rail memorabilia over the years and, on several occasions, treating the neighborhood children to his own kind of fireworks displays.

"It was a big thrill for us, growing up on White Street, when once in a while my dad would bring home some extra flares, line them up in the concrete, and light them," Mrs. Sallee recalled. "We didn't run around the yard with sparklers like the other kids, but because of the sulfur in the flares, ours was the only yard that didn't have any mosquitoes."

Mr. Kundrath attended both Waite and Central Catholic high schools before being drafted into the U.S. Army and being shipped off to the South Pacific. A devout Catholic, Mr. Kundrath told his family that he felt safer as his troop ship left San Francisco Harbor because he was carrying his rosary along with him.

"He said that if you had your rosary, that was a little bit of extra armor," Mrs. Sallee said. "He was a big man, but he was a real softy, real sentimental."

An avid sports fan, Mr. Kundrath also enjoyed collecting stamps and playing pinochle, but reveled in his grandchildren, his daughter said.

"Every picture we have of every Christmas and every birthday gathering, my Dad has a picture with grandkids all over his lap," Mrs. Sallee said.

Surviving are his wife, Mary; sons, Andrew and Edward; daughters, Janice Weaver and Kathleen Sallee; sister, Mary Fahy; seven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Hoeflinger Funeral Home, Oregon, where recitation of the rosary will follow at 7:30 p.m. Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Sacred Heart Church, of which he was a member.

The family suggests tributes be to the church.

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