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Published: Thursday, 6/10/2010

Soft-water business owner was civic leader

FOSTORIA - George A. Louden, Jr., 97, a business owner, school-board member, and civic leader, died June 3 in Birchaven Heights retirement community, where he lived since November. He was in declining health, daughter Linda said.

He retired in 1973 from Culligan Soft Water Service Inc. of Fostoria and Findlay. When he and a cousin began in the late 1940s, "they had to start from the ground up, selling the idea of soft water - how good it was for laundry and cooking and drinking," Mr. Louden's daughter said. "He built up that business."

In time, Mr. Louden became sole owner and president.

He was a two-term member of the Fostoria Board of Education and, as president, presented high school diplomas to his three children. He had been president of the Fostoria Kiwanis Club and the Red Cross in Fostoria.

He was a Mason and a member of the Zenobia Shrine in Toledo.

Born in Fostoria, he grew up in Tarpon Springs, Fla. He had a talent for art, his daughter said, and received a degree in commercial design from what is now Auburn University. He was a graduate of the New York School of Fine and Applied Art, which became the Parsons School. Working for a New York firm afterward, he did design work for Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdale's.

He was an Army veteran of World War II and served in the Philippines. He was on active duty until 1948. He retired in 1972 from the Army Reserve as a lieutenant colonel.

He and his wife retired to Pinehurst, N.C. He was a photographer and watercolorist.

"A lot of people described Daddy as a southern gentleman, and I think he was a southern gentleman because his wife, my mother, was a true southern lady," daughter Linda said. "They complemented each other."

He and his wife, Mary, married Dec. 20, 1941. She died in May, 2005.

Surviving are his daughters, Marie Ann Louden-Hanes and Linda Louden Beltz; eight grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in First Presbyterian Church, Findlay. Arrangements are by Coldren-Crates Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to First Presbyterian Church, Findlay; First Presbyterian Church, Fostoria; Community Presbyterian Church, Pinehurst, N.C., and Tin Whistles Educational and Research Foundation, Pinehurst, N.C., or a charity of the donor's choice.

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