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Published: Wednesday, 3/23/2005

Bookkeeper led Oak Harbor parade

OAK HARBOR, Ohio - Elsie L. Hablitzel, 90, who was bookkeeper for the family hardware business and was parade grand marshal with her husband, Carol, of the 1990 Apple Festival, died Monday in Riverview Healthcare Campus here, where she had been for two years.

The cause of death was not known. She had Alzheimer's disease. For 20 years, she struggled with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a nerve disorder. Eventually, she could not walk, her daughter, Louise Petersen, said.

Mrs. Hablitzel was bookkeeper for Oak Harbor Hardware, which her husband took over from his father, Arthur Hablitzel, the founder.

"She was at the store six days a week," her daughter said. "Her office was right off the main floor, and she would wait on customers when necessary."

Her books were as precise as she was disciplined.

"The home did not suffer for the job," her daughter said.

The Hablitzels retired in 1979, and their son, Chuck, took over. His son, Todd, now runs the store.

The couple were active in St. Paul United Church of Christ. She was a member of its Women's Guild and taught Sunday school for more than 40 years.

The chamber of commerce chose them in 1990 to be parade grand marshals for the annual Oak Harbor Apple Festival. "They were very surprised when the honor was bestowed on them. They got a great deal of enjoyment out of that," their daughter said.

Mrs. Hablitzel was a graduate of Oak Harbor High School and, after, was bookkeeper for the Gulf Oil distributorship run by her father, John Zehner.

She was a member of Eastern Star, Fremont chapter, and formerly the Oak Harbor chapter.

The couple married May 16, 1936. Mr. Hablitzel died Feb. 8, 2003.

Surviving are her son, Charles; daughter, Louise Petersen; brother, Wendell Zehner; sister, Ruth Kosakowski; 10 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today in St. Paul United Church of Christ. Arrangements are by Robinson-Henn-Brossia & Walker Funeral Home, Oak Harbor. The family suggests tributes to the church.

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