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Published: Sunday, 1/21/2007

Home builder gave wildlife area to state

Dale R. Kuehnle, 86, a home builder and, later, an owner of a firm with historic Toledo roots, died Friday in his Monclova Township home of lung cancer.

Mr. Kuehnle retired in 1987 as a principal owner of the Spieker Co., a construction firm and successor to the Henry J. Spieker Co., which built such Toledo landmarks as the Commodore Perry and Hillcrest hotels, Scott and Waite high schools, and The Blade Building.

He and Norman White began the Spieker Co. about 1977 after working for the Henry J. Spieker Co. several years as estimators.

Before that, he ran Dale Kuehnle Builders, which he founded after returning from Navy Seabee service in the Pacific during World War II. The firm built homes, chiefly, but also churches.

"Sometimes he would only make $5 on a house. His satisfaction was a family having a home," his daughter Rhonda said.

Mr. Kuehnle learned carpentry at 13 from his father, who had a construction company. When his father died, Mr. Kuehnle quit Scott High School to support his family, including 10 siblings.

In retirement, he and his wife traveled and spent several months a year in Hawaii. The Kuehnle Wildlife Area on Middle Bass Island was created from land they donated to the state.

Surviving are his wife, Helen, whom he married Aug. 31, 1943; daughters, Linda Heaton, Janice Bruggemeier, and Rhonda Kuehnle; sisters, Barbara Toma, Shirley Stambaugh, and Joan O'Connell; brother, Kenneth Kuehnle; 10 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren, and a great-great-grandson.

There will be no visitation. A Masonic service will begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home, Maumee, where a celebration-of-life service will follow.

The family suggests tributes to Bethany House, Toledo.

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