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Published: Saturday, 5/21/2005

Church deaconess played piano

FINDLAY Maxine Baumgartner of Findlay, a longtime leader in the rural Eagle Creek Church of the Brethren in Williamstown, Ohio, died of complications from a stroke on Thursday in Birchaven Retirement Village, Findlay. She was 91.

Mrs. Baumgartner held many leadership positions during her lifelong membership in the small rural church, which her ancestors helped found in the 19th century. Her roles included that of deaconess, board chairwoman, women s fellowship president, pianist, and Sunday school teacher, daughter Dianne Thomas said.

That church meant an awful lot to her. She got behind it and kept it going, Mrs. Thomas said.

The church, which once bustled with well over 100 attendees for services, has shrunk through the years to only a few dozen members. It was the location of Mrs. Baumgartner s 1936 marriage to her late husband of 63 years, Joel, her daughter said.

In addition to raising her family, Mrs. Baumgartner worked at different times for the former Reick s Wallpaper and Paint, Marchion Photographic Studio, both of Findlay, and the former Triplett Meterworks in Bluffton, Ohio.

She was an active member of the New Stark Community Social Circle, and regularly volunteered at Birchaven Retirement Village, where she played piano for residents and did crafts, her daughter said.

Along with Mrs. Thomas, Mrs. Baumgartner is survived by another daughter, Judy Baumgartner, four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 tonight in Crates Funeral Home, Arlington, Ohio.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow in the church.

The family requests that any contributions be to the church or to Birchaven Retirement Village.

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