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Published: Sunday, 1/7/2007

Defiance professor was avid Civil War re-enactor, author

DEFIANCE Robert B. Boehm, 81, a one-time Defiance City councilman and a former chairman of history and political science at Defiance College, died Friday at Otterbein North Shore Retired Living Community in Lakeside, Ohio. He had Alzheimer s disease.

Mr. Boehm, formerly of Defiance, was named professor emeritus after retiring from the college in 1997. He taught history there for 45 years, first as an assistant professor from 1952 to 1960 and then as a professor.

You have earned the respect and admiration of students and colleagues for your concern and fairness as a teacher, his professor emeritus citation reads.

His daughter Betsy Hileman said he loved teaching.

All his students said they just loved him, because he was so interesting, fun, and knowledgeable, she said.

In a 1996 Blade interview Mr. Boehm had this to say of some former students who had reached retirement age: They are fun and, even yet today, they haven t changed all that much.

He was a co-author of Journal of the Northwestern Campaign of 1812-1813 by Lieut. Colonel Eleazer D. Wood, Capt. Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army.

He also wrote History of Defiance and History of Defiance College.

Mr. Boehm, a World War II Army veteran, was born in Columbus and raised in Cleveland.

He obtained bachelor s and master s degrees, both in history, from Western Reserve University. He received his doctorate in history from Ohio State University.

His professional memberships included the Company of Military Historians, Ohio Academy of History, and Ohio Historical Society.

Mr. Boehm was president of Defiance City Council from the mid 1970s until 1983. Before that, he was city councilman for a time.

He also had served on the city charter commission, the city planning commission, and the city park board, of which he was a former chairman.

A Civil War aficionado and reenactor, he held the rank of private in the 111th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He traveled thousands of miles to participate in Civil War observances. He was a marksman who molded his own musket bullets.

Mr. Boehm was a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church, Defiance, where he was a former member of the board of trustees.

Surviving are his wife of 57 years, Jane; son, Thomas; daughters, Betsy Hileman, Jennifer Gaglianello, and Alicia Tucker; 10 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. today at Mast-Mock-Hoffman Funeral Home, Defiance, and from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Paul United Methodist Church, Defiance, where services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

The family suggests tributes to the church or Defiance College.

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