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Published: Tuesday, 5/13/2008

Postmaster organized July 4 parade in Kunkle

KUNKLE, Ohio - Anna May Rademacher, 83, a longtime postmaster for the Williams County village of Kunkle who helped to establish its annual Fourth of July parade, died yesterday in Evergreen Manor Nursing Home, Montpelier, Ohio.

The family did not know the exact cause of death, her daughter, Mary Mercer, said.

Ms. Rademacher was employed at the small Kunkle Post Office for 26 years, starting as acting postmaster before taking over the position in 1968 from her friend, Ellen Stiving. She was one of just two employees; the other was a clerk who filled in on Ms. Rademacher's days off, her daughter recalled.

Then as now there was no home delivery in Kunkle, and its 300 or so residents went to the post office to drop off and pick up mail. Until the late 1970s, the office was in a tiny storefront with one service window and no restroom.

"That was the hub of activity in town," Mrs. Mercer said. "Anybody who wanted to hear anything went to the post office."

Born Anna May Beck in 1924 into a family of farmers, she graduated from the former Kunkle High School in 1942 and went to work at a variety of jobs that included positions at area restaurants and grocery stores.

She had married and divorced by the time she arrived at the post office and was raising three children on her own.

While Ms. Rademacher found the postmaster position to be financially rewarding for a single mother, most of all she enjoyed providing a service to the community and seeing residents every day, her daughter said.

She retired in 1992.

"She was a very friendly lady," Fire Chief Rodney Baker said. "She knew all the kids in town, and knew all of their names."

She was part of a small group that established the Kunkle Fourth of July parade, which begins at 11 a.m. each year and loops through the village. The event began with mostly bicycles and has grown to include as many as 120 parade units, complete with aircraft flyovers.

She and Mrs. Stiving became known for their eccentric parade costumes that through the years included old-fashioned bathing attire and riding tricycles done up as outhouses.

Surviving are her sons, Lowell and Ron; daughter, Mary Mercer; sister, Amber Short; five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Wilson-Geesey Funeral Home, Montpelier. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday in the funeral home. The family suggests tributes to Kunkle Brethren Church or a charity of the donor's choice.



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