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Published: Sunday, 9/12/2010

Clarence L. Walton, 1919-2010: Wyandot Co. businessman helped schools consolidate

BY JIM SIELICKI
BLADE STAFF WRITER

UPPER SANDUSKY, Ohio - Wyandot County farmer and businessman Clarence L. Walton, 91, who served on a village school's board of education when small community schools were consolidated into larger districts, died Thursday at Wyandot Memorial Hospital in Upper Sandusky.

Bradley Walton said his father suffered from kidney failure.

Clarence Walton, who farmed some 700 acres, was part owner of B.F. Walton and Sons Seed Co., which he took over from his father, B.F. Walton, in 1974.

Son Bradley owns the firm that was established in 1937.

Clarence Walton was born Aug. 23, 1919, in Smithville, Ohio, to B.F. and Mabel Walton.

He was a 1938 graduate of Sycamore High School, where he was class president.

He competed in varsity sports, his son said, and later continued to play fast-pitch softball as a pitcher with an unusual delivery.

He did not attend college, but he served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, stationed in Chicago as a clerk handling paperwork.

"He was the only one [in his unit] who knew how to type," his son said.

He married Twila Geary on March 9, 1947, and she survives.

In the 1960s, he was elected to the Sycamore village school board and served as a midwife for the creation of Mohawk Local School District, the consolidation of Sycamore, McCutchenville, and Melmore village schools.

His daughter, Janie Kear, said consolidations, which were pushed by the state of Ohio to form more efficient school districts, created anxiety in communities that would lose their schools and thus part of their identities.

"It was kind of tough for people to give up their little schools, but they did get it all worked out," she said.

After his four-year term was up, he was asked to serve on the Wyandot County Board of Education to represent the fledgling Mohawk district, she said. He served one term on the county board.

"It got pretty hot and heavy there for a while," Bradley Walton agreed. "A lot of people didn't want to give up their own community school."

Mr. Walton remained active in education as Sunday school superintendent of the Smithville United Methodist Church for 35 years, overseeing teachers and programs. That role was assumed by his son Bradley for the last 25 years.

Clarence Walton farmed and expanded his father's seed operation, focusing on hybrid corn. About a third of the farm was devoted to corn and the remainder to soybeans and wheat, Bradley Walton said.

B.F. Walton and Sons Seed now serves between 300 and 400 farmers within an 80-mile radius of Upper Sandusky and is the only seed-corn operation remaining in the county from a dozen or so that existed when Clarence Walton took over the operation.

Bradley Walton said his father "was a pretty common man who was a hard worker. It was nothing for him to work 70 to 80 hours a week."

He was a member of the Ohio Seed Improvement Association, serving two terms as president.

For relaxation, the Walton family owned a small place at Bay Point on the Marblehead peninsula.

"We spent a lot of our vacations there," the son said.

Mr. Walton is survived by two sons, Tim Walton and Bradley Walton, a daughter, Janie Kear, two brothers, Wayne Walton and Norman Walton, a sister, Rosella Bear, seven grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Smithville United Methodist Church.

Walton-Moore Funeral Home, Sycamore, handled the arrangements.

Contact: Jim Sielicki at:

jsielicki@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050



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