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Published: Tuesday, 5/16/2006

Teacher helped raise siblings during the Great Depression

Bert Kolb, 88, who taught fourth grade in Perrysburg, Rossford, and Toledo schools for many years before her retirement, died Wednesday in the North Crest Assisted Living Center, Stevens Point, Wis., from complications of congestive heart failure.

Mrs. Kolb, who started her teaching career in 1960, ended it at Harvard Elementary School in 1977. She taught at Harvard Elementary for the last nine years of her teaching career after teaching stints at elementary schools in Rossford and Perrysburg.

"She was a very decent person who was absolutely honest and thoughtful of other people," her son, Richard said. "She enjoyed teaching and threw her heart into it. Even after many years of being a teacher, she often stayed up late into the night working on her lesson plan for the next day."

The daughter of Hungarian immigrants who settled in Toledo, she grew up in a family of 10 children, which squeezed into a small house during hard economic times for the family, her son, a Toledo lawyer, said.

She graduated from Woodward High School in 1936.

"My mother was very academic and wanted to go to college, but she had to stay at home and help raise her siblings during the Depression," her son said.

She married Matt Kolb, also a son of Hungarian immigrants, on Aug. 20, 1938. Mr. Kolb, a lawyer who practiced for 51 years and was a prominent member of the Toledo and Ohio State Bar Associations, died in 2001.

"My parents struggled to make it through hard times, and they never forgot what they went through. Because of that, they were very sympathetic and appreciated the daily struggles people endure in life," her son said.

A homemaker who raised four children, Mrs. Kolb, who had to drop out of the University of Toledo in her freshman year, returned to UT and completed her bachelor's degree in education in 1960.

An enthusiastic photographer, she and her husband were active members of the Topics Camera Club and they won many awards for their pictures, her son said.

Mrs. Kolb enjoyed traveling. She and her husband were particularly awed by trips they took to Japan, Hong Kong, and Hungary, where they met some of their relatives.

Mrs. Kolb also was an active member in the Toledo Bar Association's Auxiliary and the Toledo Museum of Art.

Surviving are her daughter, Anne Graham; sons, Richard and John; 10 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Visitation starts at 4 p.m. today in the Sujkowski Funeral Home in Rossford, where services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

The family suggests tributes to the Northwest Ohio chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Toledo Museum of Art, or the Hospice of Northwest Ohio.



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