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Published: Wednesday, 3/2/2005

Watchmaker owned Swayne Field store

Ralph Pertcheck, 85, a master watchmaker since his teens who owned a jewelry store at the former Swayne Field Shopping Center, died Monday of heart failure in Sunset Village, Sylvania Township, where he had lived since last summer.

He closed his shop, Senn & Neuer Jewelers, in the early 1980s, but repaired watches until the late 1990s at his Drummond Road home, using "the same bench he'd been working at since he was 20 years old," son Dale said.

Mr. Pertcheck understood that his era of watch repair was ending, his son said, but "he thought it was sad, [that] the beauty of the way the mechanical watches worked can't be replicated by the electronic watches they have now."

Mr. Pertcheck was a former president of the Toledo Watchmakers Guild.

He bought the jewelry business in 1957, then downtown. He moved it several years later to the new shopping center on the site of the former baseball stadium at Monroe Street and Detroit Avenue, where he repaired watches. The store sold watches, jewelry, rings, and rare coins, and he designed jewelry.

"He loved being around people, and he really enjoyed the eclectic nature of the clientele," said Dale, who worked with his father for 15 years.

Mr. Pertcheck was a graduate of Libbey High School. He and brothers Louis and Ben learned their trade from an uncle, who owned the watch repair concession of department stores around the country.

He did watch repair for his uncle at department stores in Buffalo, Cleveland, Hartford, New Haven, Conn., and Providence, R.I., before Army Air Corps service in World War II.

Mr. Pertcheck played in the B'nai B'rith Softball League for 30 years, until in his 60s.

He was a member of The Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim.

Surviving are his wife, Toby, whom he married in June, 1940; sons, Dr. Lawrence, Dale, and Ken Pertcheck; brothers, Louis and Ben; four grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.

Services will be at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Robert H. Wick/Wisniewski Mortuary. The family will receive friends afterward at the home of Dale and Kathie Pertcheck.

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