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Published: Tuesday, 4/1/2008

Roofing firm's leader active in Grand Rapids rehab

Donald Frederick Entenman, head of a local roofing company and former president of the Historical Society of Grand Rapids, Ohio, died of complications from a stroke Thursday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Toledo. He was 84.

A graduate of Whitmer High School, Mr. Entenman attended North Central College in Naperville, Ill., before being drafted into the Army Air Corps during World War II.

When he returned from Europe, he briefly attended the University of Toledo before starting work at the company where he would spend his entire career: Enterprise Roofing & Sheet Metal.

"Dad was extremely conscientious in whatever he did. He was always extremely honest, and he had a lot of integrity. People trusted him," said a son, Richard. "He was one of the last of the older generation, when a handshake was a contract."

Mr. Entenman became Enterprise's president in 1974, and retired in 2005.

Active in the Toledo Rotary, United Way, and the VFW, he was a past president of the Historical Society of Grand Rapids, which he used to promote the village and its history. He was the village's Man of the Year in 1983.

With his wife, Audrey, he bought Evans Hardware and several other Grand Rapids buildings to rehabilitate them.

"Growing up, he thought he was going to be an architect," another son, Donald, said. "He always maintained that interest in architecture and history. He would research all of these buildings, and he'd research the history of Grand Rapids."

Mr. Entenman rehabilitated and eventually sold several buildings in the village.

"They did a lot of the physical work themselves," Donald D. Entenman said. "These were some ratty old buildings. They'd hire some of the high school kids to help them, and they'd get down to the [building's] basic core. And then my dad had some fellows that would do the work, some really good carpenters."

Among other efforts to promote the village, Mr. Entenman was instrumental in creating Grand Rapids' annual Apple Butter Festival.

Aside from physically restoring historic Grand Rapids, he went one step further and wore period clothing to local festivals to greet visitors. "My dad had been into drama in high school, and that just stayed with him," Donald Entenman said.

Mr. Entenman had also been active in several local churches and served on the boards of Zion Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Children's Home, Flat Rock, Ohio. He was a board member of AAA Northwest Ohio and a 60-year member of Grand Lodge, F&AM.

Mr. Entenman had been at the hospice for two weeks before his death.

He is survived by his wife, Audrey; sons, Donald, Douglas, and Richard; sister, Mary Ann Parker; nine grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will begin at 10 a.m. today in St. Andrew United Methodist Church at 3662 Heatherdowns Blvd.

The family suggests tributes to the hospice, the historical society, Maria's Cupboard at the church, or St. Paul's Episcopal Church Respite Center, Maumee.



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