SANDUSKY - Charles F. Roesch, the second-oldest Boy Scout in Erie County, died Monday in the Firelands Regional Medical Center. He was 82.
The former plaster contractor with C.F. Roesch and Son died from old age and asbestosis, which he fought for 15 to 20 years, his son, Daniel Roesch, said.
For 67 years, Mr. Roesch exemplified the traits of the Boy Scouts as scoutmaster for Troop 8 at Zion Lutheran Church and later on the regional Firelands Council, said Kathy Schultz, who served on the council with Mr. Roesch for 30 years.
He loved being outside. He took his family camping whenever they had the opportunity, Sheila Wittmer, his daughter, said.
He taught young Boy Scouts everything he knew about birds, plants, animals, and God, said Wayne Russell, Jr., a Boy Scout in Sandusky for 40 years.
"It was very important to show them the world and how God was involved [and] what was in them and how that all comes together," Mrs. Wittmer said.
Mr. Roesch was at Camp Firelands, the local Boy Scout camp in Birmingham, Ohio, at every available opportunity until the last few years when his illness got worse.
Mrs. Wittmer said scouting and his family kept him going through his worst years with the disease.
He would take the boys on walks through the camp, teach them to fish, and help them build bridges, among other projects, Mrs. Wittmer said.
Mr. Roesch was always ready to help anyone with any project they were working on, Mr. Russell said.
He also cooked many meals for the scouts in his years at the camp, Mr. Russell said.
When his health waned, he became more involved with the Firelands Council, which oversees the activities of the camp.
"He had a little control over what went on at Boy Scout camp," Mrs. Wittmer said. "[He made] sure that the boys and scoutmasters were able to go there [by] keeping the costs down."
In his later years, the scouts would take him to the camp every season so he could personally be there and make sure it was ready for scouts, she said.
Mrs. Wittmer said his concern over the direction of scouting also included parent participation. He would give them jobs to do, she said, and they were usually happy to do them.
Mr. Roesch brought his appreciation of the outdoors to his family at home. He loved being outside and would frequently take his children camping around Catawba Island and would hunt with his sons and son-in-law, Mrs. Wittmer said.
When they were hunting, he taught his sons to respect nature and animals and how to find their way home if they got lost in the woods, Daniel Roesch said.
"It was fun taking a walk with him," Mrs. Wittmer said. "He could tell you stories; what was going on [in nature] and what everything was."
Surviving are his wife, Martha Roesch; sons, Ronald and Daniel Roesch, and daughters, Sheila Wittmer and Loriann Wagner.
Services will be at 11 a.m. today in Zion Lutheran Church, Sandusky. The Toft Funeral Home and Crematory, Sandusky, is handling arrangements.
The family suggests tributes toward a memorial bench at Camp Firelands.