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Published: Friday, 6/3/2005

Ex-Maumee councilman had a passion for politics

Dorothy Herbert, a former Maumee councilman who became active in local and state Republican Party politics during the 1960s and 1970s, died last Friday of dementia at the Alois Alzheimer Center in suburban Cincinnati. She was 87.

Mrs. Herbert's interest in politics dates to her childhood, when she attended the 1928 Republican convention. Her grandfather, Simeon D. Fess, a U.S. senator from Ohio, gave the keynote address.

Her father, Lehr Fess, was a judge on Ohio's 6th District Court of Appeals.

"She inherited her party affiliation and worked hard at it," Ben Marsh, a former Republican Party chairman, said. "She was not an ideologue. She believed in the two-party system. You don't hear that too much anymore."

In 1966, she became Maumee's first female councilman in 30 years, replacing her husband, Josiah T. Herbert, a lawyer and five-term member of City Council. Later that year, she was named vice chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party.

"I've preached for so long that if honest people don't take an active part in politics, dishonest people will," she told a Blade reporter.

She served on council until 1968, when she resigned to take a seat on the Lucas County Board of Elections. Her husband died the same year.

She was a member of the state central committee of the Republican Party and was an alternate delegate to the 1968 Republican national convention.

She resigned from most state and countywide political activity in 1976.

Her daughter Nancy Herbert said her mother enjoyed shaping party platforms on various issues and helped promote party leaders for elected office.

"Once the decision was made on who would be the candidate, she supported who was chosen," her daughter said.

Mrs. Herbert enjoyed hosting small parties for friends at her former home on East Broadway and walking her dog in Towpath Park along the Maumee River.

"She loved everything about nature," Betsy Reynolds, a long-time friend, said. "The animals, the sunset and the sunrise, the little tiny flowers - there wasn't anything she didn't notice."

Born in Springfield, Ohio, she was a graduate of Scott High School and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toledo.

She was a member of the Maumee Garden Club, the Maumee Valley Historical Society, and numerous other organizations.

Surviving are her daughters, Jane Bell, Hannah Gossard, and Nancy Herbert; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Maumee.

The family suggests tributes to Sidecut Metropark, the Friends of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, or a charity of the donor's choice.

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