Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Bowling Green fireman operated small motor repair shop

BOWLING GREEN - Robert J. Instone, 82, a retired second-generation city firefighter who owned a small electric motor repair business since the 1950s, died at home yesterday of congestive heart failure.

His business, Instone Electric Motor Repair, was a one-man operation.

Until about four weeks ago, he took in motors from fans, sump pumps, grain elevators, and all types of small rewinding motors. He also repaired and sharpened tools.

He liked the work, and he liked the customers, his wife, Edna, said. He read a lot about motor repair and "he just enjoyed tinkering around to begin with and kept it up," his wife said.

He retired in 1975 after 28 years as a full-time firefighter. He was hired by Fire Chief Morris Instone - his father.

"His dad was the original full-time fire chief of the city of Bowling Green," said Howard Rutter, Bowling Green fire chief from 1966 to 1984. "Bob was easy to get along with."

Mr. Instone and two others worked for his father. Mr. Rutter's hiring brought the full-time force to four. The rest were volunteers, summoned by siren for major fires - such as at Montgomery Ward, the Ross Hotel, and Royal Manufacturing, all of which Mr. Instone fought, Mr. Rutter said.

Mr. Instone and his wife lived in Portage, Ohio, for more than a decade, during which he served on village council.

He was a notable woodworker and displayed pieces at the Wood County Fair and sold them at craft shows. He was a member of the Northwest Ohio Woodworking Guild.

Born Sept. 24, 1927, Mr. Instone was a 1946 graduate of Bowling Green High School. He was an Army veteran, having served in Korea.

Surviving are his wife, Edna, whom he married March 20, 1966, daughter, Deborah Busdeker, son, Michael Instone, stepdaughter, Barbara Behrman, sisters, Jean Atha and Carolyn Shetzer, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday in the Dunn Funeral Home, Bowling Green, where the body will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow. The family suggests tributes to a charity of the donor's choice.

Contact Mark Zaborney at

or 419-724-6182.

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