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Published: Sunday, 7/2/2006

Ex-Williams Co. schools chief helped establish senior center

WEST UNITY, Ohio - Joseph Charles Berthold, 84, a retired Williams County superintendent of schools, died of cancer Friday in Harborside Healthcare of Northwest Ohio, Bryan.

A member and past officer of several educational associations, Mr. Berthold was superintendent from 1969 until retiring in 1978.

"Kids in school were his top priority," his wife of 57 years, Vera Berthold, said. "The most important thing for him was to see that they get a good education."

Mr. Berthold began as a business teacher and athletic coach in the former Alvordton, Ohio, High School in 1949 and later was, at different times, a teacher, athletic coach, high school principal, and then superintendent in Millcreek-West Unity Schools through the mid-1960s.

He was general supervisor in Williams County's school system for about two years before becoming superintendent.

In retirement, Mr. Berthold was instrumental in establishing a senior center in West Unity as a board member of the Williams County Department of Aging.

He also marched in many West Unity parades as a West Unity Minuteman.

In 1999, Mr. Berthold received an award for contributions and service from the Ohio Athletic Association.

In 2001, the Northwest District Athletic Board presented him with a lifetime service award.

A native of Van Wert, Ohio, Mr. Berthold was a 1940 graduate of Defiance High School. He received a bachelor's degree in business administration from Defiance College in 1949, and a master's degree in education from Michigan State University, which he received in the mid-1950s.

During World War II, Mr. Berthold served in the Army supply corps in the Philippines and other parts of the Pacific Theater from 1942, when he was drafted, until his honorable discharge in 1945.

In his free time, he enjoyed doing oil paintings, playing cards with friends, attending basketball and football games, and fishing Devils Lake, Mich.

Mr. Berthold was a member of West Unity United Methodist Church.

His other memberships included the Williams County Retired Teachers Association; American Legion Post 669 in West Unity; the West Unity Lions Club; the Hilltop High School Athletic Boosters in West Unity, and the Loyal Order of Moose in Bryan.

Surviving are his wife, Vera; son, Michael; sister, Ellen Vantrease, and two grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in West Unity United Methodist Church, with visitation after 2 p.m. today at the Hollingshead-Beck Funeral Home, West Unity.

The family suggests tributes to the Hilltop High School Athletic Boosters, West Unity Senior Center, or the church.



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