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Published: Friday, 12/31/2004

Woman co-founded walking group

Barbara Emrick, 82, who worked with senior citizens after returning to school in her mid-50s and who, with her husband, George, co-founded the Toledo-area chapter of an international walking group, died Wednesday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township.

She had vasculitis - an inflammation of the blood vessels - and had been ill much of the last six months, her family said.

Mrs. Emrick, of South Toledo, was outreach coordinator about seven years for the West Toledo Senior Center - now known as the Eleanor Kahle Senior Center - and retired in the early 1990s.

"She certainly got things done, in not quite a forceful way," said Faith Cataldo, who was administrative assistant at the center.

Mrs. Emrick in 1986 was attending a meeting of the Ohio Association of Senior Centers in Columbus when she heard a presentation about volkssporting, a pastime of organized but noncompetitive walking groups that began in Germany and spread across the globe.

Mrs. Emrick relayed the news to Mrs. Kahle, who believed the activity would attract old and young alike and offered the senior center as a meeting place.

"She felt strongly about good health and exercise," her daughter, Linda Badhorn, said.

Mrs. Emrick and her husband organized and took part regularly in volksmarches - the walks held by volkssporters - for several years.

"They were the founding people," said Ms. Cataldo, whose husband, Craig Gauger, is now president of the group. "Nobody was doing that around here in the Toledo area" previously.

Mrs. Emrick for several years taught exercise classes for senior citizens at nursing homes, senior centers, and churches on behalf of the West Toledo YMCA.

She was a former president of the Lutheran Church Women at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, of which she was a longtime member.

Surviving are her husband, George, whom she married Nov. 13, 1944; son, David; daughters, Gail Latham and Linda Badhorn; sister, Janet Egbert; five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be at 11 a.m., Jan. 8, in St. Paul's Lutheran Church downtown, where the family will greet friends after 10 a.m. At Mrs. Emrick's request, her body was donated to the Medical College of Ohio.

The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio or St. Paul's Lutheran Church.



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