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Published: Friday, 12/2/2005

Insurance seller led a life marked by self-discipline

Charles A. Mouch, 83, whose self-discipline led him to volunteer for combat as a paratrooper during World War II and to success in life-insurance and real-estate sales, died of kidney failure Wednesday in Swan Pointe Care Center, where he had been about a month.

Mr. Mouch of South Toledo retired in 1987 after 28 years as a field life underwriter for what was then the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. He also sold homes for 16 years, retiring in 2000.

He won sales awards through the years, was in the firm's president's club, and was a former man of the year. He was rewarded with trips to Acapulco, San Francisco, and Hawaii.

"He believed in his product, No. 1, and he would meet people very readily, and he was very conscientious about making sure they had plenty of insurance," said Joe Whelton, a retired manager of Hancock's Toledo office. "He was a perfect gentleman, very polite." Mr. Mouch sold life insurance, retirement contracts, and mutual funds, Mr. Whelton said.

Mr. Mouch advised prospective salesmen that "if you can establish [a customer's] needs, you'll be sure to sell, and they'll be satisfied," his daughter, Mari-Lynne Henry, said. "He was able to connect with people. He was able to understand where they were coming from and their needs."

After returning from the war, Mr. Mouch hauled freight off trains and made deliveries. A regular stop was the Hancock office, where manager Solomon Wohlstadter recruited him to become a salesman.

"[Mr. Wohlstadter] said, 'You don't belong in a blue-collar job. You need to be in the white-collar world,'●" Mr. Mouch's daughter recalled. "My dad persevered and was aggressive and disciplined. That's why he went to war and felt it necessary to fight for his country."

He grew up in the Old West End. He was a 1941 graduate of Central Catholic High School, where he was captain of the basketball team and most valuable player his senior year. He also played on school football and baseball teams.

He attended Peabody College in Nashville and Pennsylvania State University before he was drafted into the Army.

He told family and friends that when he started, he was given box-making duty.

"He went up to the sergeant and said, 'I can't go back to Toledo and tell the people I was making apple boxes. What can you do to get me into a man's war?'●" Mr. Whelton said. Mr. Mouch became a paratrooper in the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 17th Airborne Division.

"He jumped the Rhine and he was right in the front line of combat," his daughter said. "He felt he owed his country. He was really proud to serve his country. He was awarded the Bronze Star."

Mr. Mouch was a 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus and belonged to the Elks and the Moose. He was a member of the Logsdon-Walla Post of the Catholic War Veterans and the Przybylski American Legion Post.

He made many friends through the years at the family's vacation home at Houghton Lake, Mich., and he enjoyed spending time there.

Mr. Mouch and his wife, Mary, married April 15, 1950. She died Sept. 24, 1990.

Surviving are his daughter, Mari-Lynne Henry, and a grandson.

The body will be in Coyle Funeral Home after 2 p.m. today, with a vigil service at 7 tonight in the mortuary. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Church, of which he was a longtime member.

The family suggests tributes to Central Catholic High School or the church.



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