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Published: Wednesday, 6/25/2008

Auto dealer began career as aircraft engineer

Harry S. Kindle II, 88, a physicist who made his first career as an engineer and his second as a Toledo area auto dealer, died Sunday in a Belmont, Mass., palliative care facility. He was living in a Newton, Mass., assisted living community.

The cause of death was not known. He had Alzheimer's-related dementia the last five years and, most recently, heart and lung problems, his son Bill said.

Mr. Kindle and his wife, Marilyn, lived on Valley View Drive in Ottawa Hills until about three years ago.

He retired in the mid-1980s, when he sold Lake Port VW at Byrne Road and Hill Avenue - which had a branch for a time in Northwood - and Kindle Ford on Conant Street in Maumee. Beginning in 1979, he had Toledo's Peugeot dealership at Lake Port's Byrne location.

"He liked building a business, not just for himself, but for his employees," his son said. "He really cared a lot about his employees."

Mr. Kindle and his wife moved to the Toledo area about 1966 so he could buy an auto dealership that was for sale. They came from Columbus, Ind., where he was director of reliability for Cummins Engine.

Being an auto dealer "combined a lot of things he enjoyed," daughter Lucia Leggette said. "He enjoyed the fellowship of other people. He loved Rotary and was very active in the auto dealers' association, the VW dealers. That environment provided a lot of opportunity for travel, and he and Marilyn loved to travel.

"He liked the idea of providing jobs," his daughter said. "He loved cars. For that particular market, the timing was right. He had a lot of things going to form. That gave him a nice life while he was in business."

Mr. Kindle was born in Dallas but grew up in Columbus. He was a 1937 graduate of Bexley High School.

He graduated a semester early from Kenyon College - six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor - so he could enlist in the military, his daughter said.

"They wouldn't let him because he was an aircraft engineer, and they thought he could serve the country better" as an engineer, his daughter said.

He worked for Curtiss-Wright Corp. during the war.

He later worked in Connecticut and New Jersey. While in Columbus, Ind., he helped Cuban immigrants find places to work and live and helped build a senior citizens housing center, his daughter said.

Mr. Kindle was a member of the Toledo Club and Belmont Country Club. He liked to play tennis at his home court or at Belmont.

He was active in the Kenyon College Alumni Association and in the Rotary Club. He was a member of the advisory board in Toledo of the Seamen's Service Organization.

"He was a very honest gentleman who had a lot of knowledge and a lot of interests," his son said. "He was sociable. He enjoyed being a good role model in the community and for his children."

Mr. Kindle and his wife, Marilyn, married Aug. 22, 1964. She died Dec. 18, 2007.

He was previously married to the former Carolyn Little.

Surviving are his daughters, Lucia Leggette, Mary Kindle, and Constance Kindle; sons, Harry Shell Kindle III and William Douglas Kindle; brother, William Kyle Kindle, and four grandchildren.

Memorial services will be at 6 p.m. tomorrow in the Walker Funeral Home, where visitation will begin at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

The family suggests tributes to the Alzheimer's Foundation or the Kenyon College Alumni Association.



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