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Published: Tuesday, 4/12/2011

Paul H. Sundermeier, 1922-2011: Farmer was on trade mission to Europe in '77

BY JIM SIELICKI
BLADE STAFF WRITER

LUCKEY, Ohio -- Paul H. Sundermeier, 89, a fourth-generation Wood County farmer who served on a state agriculture trade mission to Europe, died Saturday at Bowling Green Manor of kidney and heart failure.

With the exception of his service in the Army during World War II, Mr. Sundermeier lived on the family farm in Webster Township seven miles south of Perrysburg.

The Sundermeier farm, recognized in 1996 by the state of Ohio as a century farm, produces grain, sugar beets, and livestock. The farm is now operated by son Keith.

Mr. Sundermeier was a longtime member of the Wood County Farm Bureau, the Wood County Pork Producers, Wood County Cattle Feeders Association, and the Wood County Extension Advisory Committee. He served in leadership positions in many of those organizations.

In 1977, Mr. Sundermeier joined a 28-member trade mission to Europe to explore the grain market there. His son, Lee, said Gov. James Rhodes asked Mr. Sundermeier to participate, especially because of his strong ties to the Republican Party.

Mr. Sundermeier was very active in the Wood County GOP, his son said.

In a 1977 story in The Blade, Mr. Sundermeier remarked that he was just "a common dirt farmer from Wood County talking to those big shots." The previous year, he participated in a similar tour as part of a Farm Journal delegation.

The Ohio group visited London and toured grain-handling facilities in ports of Rotterdam and Hamburg, where he declared that "there is a future in exporting grain to Europe, but the catch is, who are they going to buy it from."

Mr. Sundermeier was born March 21, 1922, to Edwin and Carrie Sundermeier.

He was drafted in 1941 and served in the infantry before being assigned to the Army's 8th Air Force in England.

"He was the man who took the bodies from the returning airplanes" his son Lee said. "He had one of the more dreaded jobs."

After the war, he returned to the farm and became immersed in the various agricultural organizations and in local politics.

Mr. Sundermeier and his wife of 65 years, Marcena, traveled extensively. They visited every state, most by driving a recreational vehicle. Many of those trips were taken while he was an active farmer, son Lee said.

They visited the Arctic Circle for their 50th wedding anniversary.

He paid his own way on a trip to Liberia, Africa, on behalf of the Lutheran Church to spread the gospel. Mr. Sundermeier was active with Zion Lutheran Church in Luckey and served on its council, Lutheran Brotherhood, and in the choir.

His interest in genealogy took him to Germany, where he met family members, son Lee said, noting that the Webster Township community is populated with families of German immigrants.

For a seven-year stretch, Mr. Sundermeier took a job at Libbey Owens Ford Co. as a driver. "He did that to put two sons through college," Lee said.

Mr. Sundermeier is survived by his wife, Marcena; daughter, Janet; sons, Lee, Alan, and Keith; sister, Jane Grolle; 10 grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; three great-grandchildren, and four step-great-grandchildren.

Visitation is at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Zion Lutheran Church, Luckey, followed by the funeral at 11 a.m. Marsh Funeral Home, Luckey, handled the arrangements.

Memorials are suggested to Bridge Home Health & Hospice of Findlay, Zion Lutheran Church's furnace fund, or Williston Home of Mercy.

Contact Jim Sielicki at: jsielicki@theblade.com or 419-724-6050



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