Frank Hertzfeld, 68, who with his siblings was a co-owner of the poultry and egg operation their father began, died Tuesday in St. Luke's Hospital from complications of pulmonary fibrosis.
Mr. Hertzfeld, of Lucas County's Providence Township, used oxygen the last two years. He learned in 2002 that he had the lung condition, his sister Barbara Heising said.
"He still got out and about and did as much as he could and enjoyed life and his family," Mrs. Heising said.
He retired in 2008 from Hertzfeld Poultry Farms, a family corporation formed in 1966 by his late parents, Clarence and Alice Hertzfeld, at their Schadel Road farm. Egg production began in 1959 with 6,000 chickens. There are now 1.2 million, all housed near Grand Rapids in Wood County, said his brother Tom, who is semiretired. The other siblings are either semiretired or retired, and the business is run by their children.
"As kids growing up, we worked on the farm," his brother said. "As a full-time job, it was right out of high school.
Mr. Hertzfeld was a 1959 graduate of Anthony Wayne High School.
The family now farms about 1,400 acres. Mr. Hertzfeld at first worked mainly with the crops, especially soybeans and corn. Later he took over the Hertzfeld feed mill, his brother said.
"I think Frank wanted to be an old-fashioned-type farmer," said Mrs. Heising, now retired from the family business. "He wished he could have had a little farm with the crops and some animals. But with the change in business and society, he had to get into it a little bigger."
Their late mother was proudest that the business cemented family closeness. He, too, was loyal to family, his sister said.
"Frank was a quiet person. He was very kind and gentle, and he really cared about everyone," his sister said. "If he thought anyone was lonely, he would make sure he would visit."
He was a member of St. Patrick Church in Providence Township. He was a communion distributor and took communion to people who were house-bound. He sang in the choir and played in the bell choir. And on any of several church committees, "if they needed assistance, he was there in his own quiet way," his sister said.
"Frank was a very faith-filled person. That really was his life. That was his main goal, to get to heaven, and he lived that life," his sister said.
He was born July 28, 1941, the fourth of what would be nine Hertzfeld siblings. He and his wife, Natalie, married Nov. 9, 1963. She died Aug. 9, 2003.
Surviving are his wife, Joyce, whom he married June 30, 2007; daughters, Heidi Rankin, Holly Potter, Andrea Seyfried, Heather McDougall, and Nicole and Erica Hertzfeld; sons, Craig, Trent, Brock, and Ryan Hertzfeld; sisters, Diane Heuerman and Barbara Heising; brothers, Robert, Thomas, Philip, David, Clarence, Jr., and William Hertzfeld, and 15 grandchildren.
The body will be in the Wright-Hobbs Funeral Home, Grand Rapids, after 2 p.m. today. Services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in St. Patrick Church, Providence Township.
The family suggests tributes to the ALS Association and to Quest For Breath at Martin Edward Galvin Research Fund for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis at the University of Michigan.
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