CLOVERDALE, Ohio - Urban H. Schnipke, 81, a farmer in Putnam County's Perry Township who was also a farmer's advocate and former local school board member, died Tuesday in Van Crest Health Care Center in Delphos, Ohio, from complications of a stroke.
Mr. Schnipke in recent years rented his land to another farmer, but he didn't quietly retreat indoors.
"He would help do the farming," his son, Randy, said. "He loved to farm. He just loved to turn over earth."
During the decades he actively farmed, Mr. Schnipke grew corn and soybeans and raised dairy and beef cattle.
"It was just a nice, small family farm," his son said.
Mr. Schnipke for about 20 years worked at Odenweller Milling in Cloverdale. In the late 1960s, he became a representative for the National Farmers Organization, which helps farmers market commodities. He signed up farmers in south-central and southwest Ohio so that the organization could sell its grain collectively to buyers and win a better price.
"He loved to talk about farming," his son said. "He felt that the family farm was dying, and he felt that to preserve that, the farmers needed to get a better price for their produce.
"He always worried about the American farmer. He dedicated a lot of his life to that."
Mr. Schnipke retired in 1989.
He was a 13-year member of the Ottoville Local Schools board of education, serving until 1979.
"He always said that he didn't mind having school levies, just as long as they spent the money wisely," his son said. "He was very conscientious about that."
Mr. Schnipke grew up on a farm and was a graduate of Ottoville High School. He enlisted in the Army and served in the occupation of Japan after World War II. He was called to duty in the Korean War and was stationed in Kentucky.
Mr. Schnipke was a fan of Ottoville High School basketball, Ohio State University sports, and the Cincinnati Reds.
He was a member of St. Barbara Church, Cloverdale, where he was a eucharistic minister, a lector, and a member of the Holy Name Society.
Surviving are his wife, Betty, whom he married Sept. 27, 1950; sons, David, Randy, Dennis, and Dalynn Schnipke; daughters, Kathy Gardner and Connie Schnipke; brothers, Othmar, Oscar, Ralph, Robert, and Karl Schnipke; sisters, Margie Schroeder, Helen Schroeder, and Laura Coressel; 19 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
The body is in the Love Mortuary, Ottawa, Ohio, where visitation begins at 2 p.m. today, with a Scripture service at 8 tonight. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in St. Barbara Church, Cloverdale.
The family suggests tributes to the church.