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Published: Friday, 7/18/2008

Grocery owner was public servant

OAK HARBOR, Ohio - Richard G. Bassett, 82, a second-generation owner of his family's 110-year-old grocery business who served on village council and the board of public affairs, died Tuesday in Riverview Healthcare Campus from complications of dementia.

He formally retired from Bassett's Market in 1987, the year after he and his son, Mike, opened a store in Port Clinton. But he continued to work, often 40 hours a week - half his previous workload.

"He got a great pleasure out of being with people," said his son, the third-generation owner of the business, which has markets in Port Clinton, Perrysburg, and Bellevue. "It was his life. It was a labor of love."

He was a former member of village council and the board of public affairs.

"Any community would miss a man like Dick Bassett. This is particularly hard here because he helped build the community and serve the public," said David Martin, who was the new football coach at Oak Harbor High School when he met Mr. Bassett in 1947 and who later became district superintendent. "He was a great American patriot."

Mr. Bassett was 4 when his father, Nahmy, died. The family lived in a two-bedroom apartment above the store.

"Grandma had to run the store, so she took Dad to work every day. That's where he was raised," his son said.

Mr. Bassett was a graduate of Oak Harbor High. He joined the Navy and served aboard the USS Marblehead in World War II.

He attended the University of Toledo and the National School of Meat Cutting in Toledo.

Afterward, he returned to the family business. His mother retired, and he and his brother, Abe, were partners until Abe's retirement in 1970.

His son, Mike, joined him in 1974 after graduating from Ohio State University for what was to be a temporary stay.

"He always had a rule: 'Look, be my partner. If we don't agree on something, we won't do it.' We had a great career together. I was fortunate to spend so much time together with my father."

Mr. Bassett was a past commander of the John A. Fader American Legion Post.

He liked to golf, and he and his wife lived on golf courses in Oak Harbor and at their winter home in Sarasota, Fla.

Surviving are his wife, Dorothy, whom he married Aug. 6, 1950; son, Mike, and five grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. Sunday in the Crosser Funeral Home, Oak Harbor. Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in St. Boniface Church, Oak Harbor.

The family suggests tributes to the church renovation fund or Stein Hospice, Sandusky.

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