Elmer H. East, 95, formerly of West Toledo, a longtime life insurance underwriter who was a leader in Masonic, service, and church groups, died Wednesday in Angela Hospice, Livonia, Mich.
He was in failing health for several months. He and his wife, Dorothy, lived on Letchworth Parkway for many years, but health problems in the mid-1990s caused them to move to Plymouth, Mich., to be close to family. Mrs. East died Dec. 13, 2002.
Mr. East was a certified life underwriter 30 years for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., retiring in 1974.
Before that, he worked about 20 years for the former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
An Akron native who grew up in Cincinnati, Mr. East was transferred by the B&O to Toledo, where he worked as a ticket agent at the railroad's downtown office, his daughter Sally Galliers said.
He was exempt from military service during World War II because his duty with the railroad was to accompany troop trains to military camps.
Mr. East was active in the Zenobia Shrine for more than 30 years and was a member of Fort Industry Lodge and several other Masonic organizations.
He was a past president of the Shrine's drum and bugle corps and was the shrine's ambassador to Wood County. He marched in Shriners' parades. Each year during the Shrine Circus, he was an usher and made sure that children with disabilities had front-row seats.
"He certainly believed in their pet project, which is the Shrine hospitals and particularly the burn units, and he believed in working toward that [through their] fund-raisers," his daughter said.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, Mr. East was active in the Glass City Chapter of Toastmasters International and in the West Toledo Optimist Club. He was a former president of both.
He was a longtime member of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, where he was a former Sunday school teacher, deacon, and executive committeeman.
He and his wife married Aug. 6, 1938. She taught in the Toledo Public Schools and was a Girl Scout leader. He, in turn, helped start Cub Scout packs at the church and at McKinley and Old Orchard schools.
"They both felt the values taught by Scouting were important," their daughter said.
Mr. East liked to fish. He and his wife had a cabin at Jack Lake, Ont., and he was a former director of the Jack Lake Association. They spent retirement winters in St. Augustine Beach, Fla.
He was also a photographer and had a darkroom in the basement of their West Toledo home.
Surviving are his daughters, Sally Galliers and Polly Kingsley, seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
There will be no visitation. Memorial services will be private.
The family suggests tributes to Angela Hospice, Livonia; Shriners Hospitals for Children in Cincinnati, or Ashland Avenue Baptist Church.