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Published: Thursday, 2/15/2007

Temperance man owned, operated area Hull Nut Co.

TEMPERANCE - John G. Hullibarger, 63, partner with his wife, Judy, in the nut roasting and packaging wholesale and retail company founded by his father, died after a heart attack Sunday in Toledo Hospital.

He was owner and operator of Hull Nut Co. on North Detroit Avenue, which according to its Web site was founded more than 60 years ago by his father, also named John.

Mr. Hullibarger's children were impressed by his work ethic and his drive to succeed.

"If it wasn't full-go, if it wasn't everything he had, he didn't do it," his son Jeff said. "He had the loving help of my mother. They were partners in the business. She was right there with him. It was teamwork."

In recent years, the firm shipped orders of nuts and chocolates and other candy around the country as customers found Hull Nut Co. through the Internet.

"Everything was fresh," his son Jeff said. Customers bought nuts that had been roasted the week prior, at the latest.

"My dad roasted everything," his son said.

Customers could stop by on North Detroit and make a purchase. But the firm also made deliveries to bars and stores.

One regular route for Mr. Hullibarger was his Tuesday trip to the Vermilion, Ohio, area. His father, who began the business roasting peanuts in his garage, was on that route in 1964 when he died in a traffic accident.

Mr. Hullibarger at the time was playing tight end at Kent State University, which he was attending on a football scholarship. He was a 1962 graduate of Central Catholic High School, where he played football as well.

He came home to work in the business. His mother, Thelma, continued to own the business.

In about 1972, he opened the Nite Kap Inn, a bar on Bayshore Road in Oregon, which he owned until the early 1990s. The bar had a full kitchen and, for a time, he opened a carryout in part of the building. He'd go on his peanut route during the day and take care of the bar at night.

"Lake freighters used to come in. The railroad was right there," his son recalled. "All those guys would come in and cash their checks and eat. He had his share of characters out there.

"He was a pretty fun-loving guy," his son said. "He was on an even keel. He liked to be with all kinds of people. He rolled with whatever the times were."

Mr. Hullibarger was a member of Regina Coeli Church.

Surviving are his wife, Judith, whom he married Oct. 10, 1964; sons, John and Jeff Hullibarger; daughter, Amy Lee Hullibarger; sister Carolyn Kinnee, and nine grandchildren.

The body will be in the Bedford Funeral Chapel, Temperance, after 2 p.m. today, with Scripture services at 7:30 tonight in the mortuary. Funeral services will be at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow in Regina Coeli Church, where the body will be after 9 a.m.

The family suggests tributes to the Humane Society.



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