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Published: Monday, 5/11/2009

Toledo-area Scout official revered for volunteerism

Evelyn R. Dersher-Lautzenheiser, a volunteer with numerous local organizations and the first woman in the Boy Scouts of America's Anthony Wayne District to become district commissioner and district club commissioner, died Friday in Flower Hospital. She was 70.

Mrs. Dersher-Lautzenheiser, of West Toledo, is believed to have died of kidney failure and had been ill for about a year after suffering a pair of strokes, then a heart attack last June, her son, David Lautzenheiser, said.

Mr. Lautzenheiser said his mother enrolled him and his brother in the Boy Scouts because "she didn't want us sitting home bored" and decided at the time to volunteer with the group as well.

That was the start, the son said, of her extensive charitable work for groups such as the Victim Witness Program, Parents of Murdered Children, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the Eleanor Kahle Senior Center.

"She was not one to sit around on her tail end and wait for somebody to come to her," Mr. Lautzenheiser said.

Russ Simpson, who met Mrs. Dersher-Lautzenheiser through a mutual friend and later was a volunteer with her with the Boy Scouts, said the number of groups she served at one time or another was too high to count, as was the list of local leaders she came to know through her activities.

Even as health problems limited her physical capabilities, Mr. Simpson said, she continued to work as a volunteer from her home, sending out mailings and making phone calls.

"Anybody that seemed to need help, she volunteered," Mr. Simpson said.

Mrs. Dersher-Lautzenheiser also devoted extensive time to her church, St. Andrew's Episcopal, where she was known as the Card Lady because she sent out greetings to several hundred parishioners along with serving as a Eucharistic minister.

"She hardly ever missed anybody's birthday, or wedding anniversary, or illness if she found out about it," David Lautzenheiser said.

Mrs. Dersher-Lautzenheiser, who was once a secretary, reared her two sons alone after her husband left when the children were both under 4 years old.

Mrs. Dersher-Lautzenheiser's survivors include her sons, Joel and David Lautzenheiser, sisters, Joanne Domonkos and Gloria Shulak, brother, Chuck Dersher, and six grandchildren.

Mrs. Dersher-Lautzenheiser's body has been donated to the University of Toledo Health Science Campus, formerly the Medical College of Ohio.

A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday in St. Andrew's Church, with friends assembling at 2:30 p.m. and a reception to follow.

The family suggests tributes to the Parents of Murdered Children.



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