SPENCERVILLE, Ohio - Louis Bindel, owner of Bindel's Furniture & Appliances in Lima, died Friday in Roselawn Manor Nursing Home, Spencerville. He was 79.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June and moved into the nursing home three weeks ago.
Mr. Bindel operated his furniture and appliance store 57 years, said Barry Bindel, his son and partner.
"It was his passion," his son said. "The business was his baby. He felt very strongly about it. He was excited about going there every day."
Mr. Bindel was born in Delphos and graduated from Delphos Jefferson High School, where he played football and participated in theater.
Upon graduation, Mr. Bindel married his high school sweetheart, Mary Ditto. He then enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served out World War II at bases in Utah and Florida.
After the war, the Bindels moved to Lima, where Mr. Bindel sold insurance and Mrs. Bindel worked at Hoover Appliances.
Mr. Bindel knew how to sell, his son said, because as a youth during the Depression, he and his brother went door to door selling produce.
The appliance store owners asked the Bindels to become partners, which they did. In 1948, the Bindels bought the rest of the business and changed the name.
In the early days of their business, Mr. Bindel would go door to door hawking vacuum cleaners to help get people into his store. In those days, Barry Bindel said, customers could buy something for $1 down and $1 a week.
"You got close to your customers because they'd come in every week to make a payment and look for other things to buy," he said.
The Bindels had an extraordinary work ethic, their son said.
"They only took one vacation in the first 20 years," Barry Bindel said.
As their four children became old enough, they began working at the store. In time, all six Bindels worked there.
As if running a business wasn't enough, the Bindels bought a 58-acre farm in Spencerville - eight miles west of Lima - in 1961. The Bindels raised livestock, crops, and vegetables. During the growing season, Mr. Bindel would be in his fields at dawn and, after spending the day at his business, he'd be back in the fields at night.
Barry Bindel said his father enjoyed the farm; it served as a release from his daily, inside work.
"He really liked to get outside," he said.
Mrs. Bindel died in 1984. Mr. Bindel married Shirley Barr in 1986. The Bindels sold the farm in 2002 and moved to Lima. Mr. Bindel remained active in the business until he became ill, his son said.
Mr. Bindel was a member of Zion Lutheran Church; American Legion Post 191; Elks Lodge 54; Garrett Wykoff Lodge, F. & A.M.; the Lima Shrine Club, and El Karan Grotto.
Survivors include his wife, Shirley; sons, Barry, Edward, and Randall; daughter, Linda Miller; stepsons, Christopher and Jonathan Barr; nine grandchildren, four step-grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 1 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. today at Thomas E. Bayliff Funeral Home, Spencerville, where services will be at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow.
The family requests tributes to Zion Lutheran Church or the Lima Rescue Home.