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Published: Wednesday, 7/19/2006

Defiance volunteer dedicated to service

DEFIANCE - Paul E. Schweitzer, a longtime local volunteer who was a retired tool-design engineer, died of pneumonia Monday in Harborside Healthcare Center here. He was 96.

Mr. Schweitzer was a volunteer with the Defiance County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities seniors program at Good Samaritan School since 1991, helping the patients with their daily activities, including educational day trips.

In the 1980s, he served on the board of Quadco Rehabilitation Center, which trains, employs, and finds jobs for residents of Defiance, Fulton, Henry, and Williams counties with disabilities. Earlier, he helped develop the Defiance County Humane Society.

Over the years, Mr. Schweitzer also volunteered in different capacities for other area service organizations, such as the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, and the Adult and Child Together program.

In 1995, Mr. Schweitzer was inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.

"He was just always helping people," his stepdaughter, Joyce Helyer, said. "He was just a very helpful, caring person. He cared a lot about his community and the people in it."

Mr. Schweitzer retired in 1976 from Zeller Corp. in Defiance after 25 years as a tool-design engineer.

He previously worked at the former Defiance Machine Works, where he began as a gofer in 1925 and worked his way up to tool-design engineer by the 1940s, when he was involved in the Manhattan Project, which developed the first nuclear weapons.

He was a tool-design engineer at Aro Corp. in Bryan from 1949 to 1951, when he went to work for Zeller.

During World War II, Mr. Schweitzer also was an air raid warden and sold war bonds in Defiance.

A native of Defiance, Mr. Schweitzer graduated from high school in Defiance in 1927.

He married Dorothy Fricke in 1935. She died in 1954.

In 1955, Mr. Schweitzer married Vivian "Bing" Walters. She died in 1998.

Mr. Schweitzer was a member of St. John Catholic Church, Defiance.

His other memberships included United Commercial Travelers Lodge 407 in Defiance, of which he was a past grand secretary at the state level and a past local secretary and treasurer.

Surviving are his stepdaughters, Janis Hiles and Joyce Helyer; stepson, Dennis Walters; sister, Helen Rausch; brothers, Richard and Robert; seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday in St. John Catholic Church, Defiance. Visitation will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Lawson-Roessner Funeral Home, Defiance.

The family suggests tributes to the Good Samaritan senior program in Defiance.

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