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Published: Wednesday, 11/8/2006

Business owner was an active volunteer

Elizabeth Mae Sackett, 86, co-owner with her late husband, John, of a flooring business and a tavern, who was honored for her volunteerism, died Monday in Lake Park Care Center, where she had been about six years.

She had no serious illness, and the cause of death was not known, said G. Opie Rollison, who is married to Mrs. Sackett's daughter Kathy.

Mrs. Sackett and her husband from the late 1940s to the early 1990s owned K&M Flooring, which installed carpet, tile, and other flooring across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. K was for her sister Kay, and M was for Mae, the name everyone called Mrs. Sackett.

She did the paperwork and handled job scheduling. She also was a co-owner with her husband and her brother Herb Sodd of Lil Sheba, a tavern and restaurant on West Alexis Road across from what is now General Motors' Toledo Powertrain plant. She kept the business running behind the scenes, but she also came in to tend bar when needed.

Mrs. Sackett grew up on Ontario Street in North Toledo, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants. As a teenager, she lost an arm, apparently in an accident, although she never told her daughters what happened.

"She never brought it up," Mr. Rollison said. "It never slowed her down. Everybody who knew her just took it for granted, and that's what was so inspiring for some people, that this lady overcame an obstacle like this."

Mrs. Sackett was a graduate of Woodward High School and worked for Charles Hider, a lawyer and her brother-in-law, as well as for small businesses owned by her siblings.

In her 60s, with her children raised, she became a volunteer, particularly at Heartland Holly Glen nursing home and the former St. Anthony's Villa. In 1988, the Toledo Exchange Club named her its volunteer of the year. "She couldn't stand to see people in need or suffer. It motivated her to go in and help people out," Mr. Rollison said.

She and her husband married in 1949. He died in May, 1990.

Surviving are her daughters, Mary Hammond, Sharon Stebbins, Pamela Thacker, and Kathy Rollison; sister, Lila Mitchell, and eight grandchildren.

There will be no visitation. Memorial services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Gesu Church, of which she was a member. Arrangements are by the Ansberg-West Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

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