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Published: Tuesday, 6/26/2007

Dental lab owner was Navy veteran of WW II, Korea

CONTINENTAL, Ohio - Robert Mullet McKibben, 84, a retired dental lab technician and Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean War, died Sunday in St. Rita's Medical Center, Lima, Ohio, of unknown causes.

Mr. McKibben was a hard worker who was a successful dental lab technician and a devoted military veteran, family members recalled.

Mr. McKibben studied in Detroit to be a dental lab technician after graduating from Continental High School in 1942.

He served as a Navy petty officer during World War II, mostly stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Base, Chicago. He served in Guam for about six months, his wife, Daphna McKibben, said.

Kenneth Winkle also joined the Navy after graduating from high school with Mr. McKibben.

He initially was assigned to a ship that plied the Atlantic for about three years during the war, then was transferred to the Pacific Theater. He visited with Mr. McKibben in Guam.

Mr. Winkle remembered that soldiers often had teeth broken or knocked out, so Mr. McKibben's work was greatly needed. "I'm sure he was busy."

Mr. McKibben was recalled to the Navy in 1951, during the Korean War.

Mr. McKibben opened his first dental lab in Defiance after his Korean War service. Thirteen years later, he moved to Lima.

He owned and operated Northwest Dental Lab in Lima for 48 years, making dentures, crowns, and moldings, before retiring earlier this year.

Mr. McKibben was a life member and a past commander of Continental American Legion Post 541, the Sons of the American Legion at Post 541, the AMVETS of Defiance, Ottawa VFW Post 9142, Elks Lodge 147 of Defiance, and the National Dental Association.

Mrs. McKibben said that he strongly felt he performed his civic duty when he served in the Navy and as a veteran.

"He was thrilled to pieces that he could serve the people," Mrs. McKibben said.

Surviving is his wife, Daphna, who he married in 1952.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. today in the Heitmeyer Funeral Home, Continental, with a Scripture service at 8 tonight. Services will be at

10:30 a.m. tomorrow in St. Barbara Catholic Church, Cloverdale, Ohio. The family suggests tributes to St. John the Baptist Church, Continental.

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