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Published: Thursday, 10/6/2005

Lifelong farmer played trumpet in concert band

FREMONT - Charles Edwin Wise, a longtime Sandusky County farmer who pursued interests in Democratic politics, conservation, and music, died Monday in St. Francis Rehabilitation Center in Green Springs, Ohio. He was 79.

Mr. Wise died of complications from aneurysm surgery he underwent in August, family members said.

He was involved in the management of his family's farm in Jackson Township from his late teenage years until just before his death, a period spanning more than 60 years. He worked as a dairy farmer until 1980, when he sold that part of the business and continued to work as a grain farmer.

"His primary interest was farming and conservation, and he loved those things that are good for the environment," his daughter Kay Polk said. "He was very ecologically inclined."

Mr. Wise built a two-acre pond on his farm in 1971 and spent hours walking around it, examining trees and other plant life, Mrs. Polk said.

"The pond was a gathering place for the family, and still is," she said.

Mr. Wise was deeply involved in farm-related organizations, including the Sandusky County Farmers Union, a group he led as president from 1976 to 1991. He was a member of the Ohio Farmers Union's executive committee from 1976 to 1990 and served on the Governor's Commission on Agriculture in 1984.

A Democrat, Mr. Wise served as chairman of the Sandusky County party's central committee from 1964 to 1974 and was chairman of the Sandusky County Board of Elections from 1966 to 1974.

He was chairman of the governing board of the Ohio Office of Consumers' Counsel from 1979 to 1985. The office defends the interests of Ohio utility consumers, and Mr. Wise took that responsibility seriously.

"Utilities are entitled to a fair profit," Mr. Wise told The Blade in 1981. "I think they should be a strong business organization. But they should also deliver energy and services efficiently and at the least cost possible."

Mr. Wise's brother, Dwight, is a former Democratic member of the Ohio House of Representatives, and his son Roger is a Jackson Township trustee.

In his spare time, Mr. Wise loved to play bridge and play the trumpet, an instrument he took up while in junior high school. For the past 10 years, he played at summertime concerts and other events as a member of the Green Springs Band.

Mr. Wise was born in the Fremont area on July 30, 1926, to Dwight and Mildred (Hackenberg) Wise. He graduated from Jackson-Burgoon High School in 1944 and married his wife on June 20, 1948, in the Burgoon United Methodist Church, where he was a lifelong member.

Surviving are his wife, Joyce; sons, Matthew and Roger; daughters, Kay Polk and Kerry Barth; brothers, Dwight and James; sister, Sue Harner; five grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

There will be no visitation. A memorial service will be scheduled later, the family said. Arrangements are being handled by the Keller-Ochs Funeral Home, Fremont.

The family requests tributes to the Sandusky County Historical Society, the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio, the Salvation Army, or a charity of the donor's choice.



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