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Published: Friday, 2/29/2008

West Unity funeral home owner set Archbold records in track

WEST UNITY, Ohio - William "Bill" Hollingshead, 81, a longtime owner of the Hollingshead Funeral Home, died from complications of pneumonia Wednesday at the Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers in Bryan.

Mr. Hollingshead began working at the funeral home in 1950 alongside his father, E.P. Hollingshead. His wife, Mary, said her husband believed everyone deserved a proper burial and oftentimes would help families financially.

"He was a very giving person," Mrs. Hollingshead said.

He retired in 2001 after a serious car accident that forced him to use a wheelchair.

Mrs. Hollingshead said the accident did not slow down her husband. He continued to mow the grass, work in the garden, and play golf at the miniature golf course the couple had in their backyard.

Mr. Hollingshead graduated from Archbold High School in 1944, where he played basketball, baseball, and track.

He broke several school records, including the 220-yard dash, discus, and shot put, Mrs. Hollingshead said. In 2004, he was inducted into the Archbold High Athletic Hall of Fame.

After high school, Mr. Hollingshead attended Ohio State University and became a member of its track team. "He was always proud of that," Mrs. Hollingshead said.

While in college, Mr. Hollingshead was drafted into the Army Air Corps during World War II. He served in the military for about 18 months before returning to OSU.

Mr. Hollingshead was working toward a degree in physical education, hoping to become a coach, when he decided to join his father in business. He attended the Cleveland College of Mortuary Science in 1948 and graduated the following year.

Mr. Hollingshead met his wife and shared their first kiss on New Year's Eve, 1950. They married the following year.

Mr. Hollingshead was a member of the West Unity Village Council from 1952 to 1957 and a member of the West Unity Lions Club. He served on the Millcreek-West Unity Local Board of Education from 1964 to 1967; was a member of the Hilltop High School Athletic Boosters, and coached Little League and Pony League baseball.

In 1986, Mr. Hollingshead helped found the board for Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers. He also served on the advisory board of Farmers & Merchants State Bank from 1981 to 1998.

Surviving are his wife, Mary; son, Wynn; daughter, Laura Kutzli, and a grandson.

Visitation will be after 6 p.m. tomorrow in the Hollingshead-Beck Funeral Home, West Unity. Services will be at 1:30 p.m. Monday in West Unity United Methodist Church.

The family suggests tributes to the Millcreek-West Unity High School Scholarship fund in Mr. Hollingshead's name.



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