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Published: Monday, 10/31/2005

Farmer belonged to boards of bank, telephone company

KALIDA, Ohio - Edwin L. Grote, 81, a retired farmer and a former director of the Union Bank and the Kalida Telephone Co., died Thursday in his home from complications of cancer.

Mr. Grote sold Parker Seed corn to area farmers for more than 50 years and was a buyer for Sandusky Dressed Beef.

He was a bank director for 37 years, and for four years with the telephone company.

He inherited family stock in both companies, but he was a farmer at heart, said Carol Merschman, his daughter.

"Farming was life's work," she said. "He enjoyed being outside. It is something he did since he was a boy."

Born on the family's cattle and grain farm here, Mr. Grote ended his education in the eighth grade.

He and his brother took up the family business and eventually started buying their own farm land, but they also kept their family farm, Mrs. Merschman said.

"He was a generous and intelligent man. He always took the time to explain himself and people in the community looked up to him," said his daughter.

Mr. Grote married Mary Ann Gasser Fortman on April 4, 1970.

He enjoyed spending time with his family when he was not busy working in the fields, his daughter said.

A longtime member of St. Michael Catholic Church, Kalida, Mr. Grote was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Surviving are sisters, Mildred Sarka, Hilda Ralich, Sister Julie Grote, Mary Louise Gerdeman; brothers Vic and Robert; daughters Debra Niese, Diana Kerner, Carol Merschman, Cheryl Grote, Michelle Warnecke; sons, Roger, Gary, and Douglas; 14 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren;

The funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m. today in St. Michael Catholic Church, Kalida.

The family suggests tributes to the Putnam County Hospice or St. Michael Catholic Church.

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