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Published: Saturday, 4/16/2011

Virginia L. Neiderhouse, 1918-2011: Ex-Perrysburg 1st lady an active campaigner

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Virginia L. Neiderhouse, first lady of Perrysburg during her husband's 20 years as mayor, who campaigned with verve for Democratic candidates, died Wednesday in Avalon at Perrysburg. She would have been 93 Sunday.

She had congestive heart failure and kidney failure, her daughter Jane May said. She lived in the family home on Maple Street until September.

Mrs. Neiderhouse was a longtime poll worker for the Wood County Board of Elections. Until a few years ago, her Election Day post was at Toth School.

Her husband was Lloyd Neiderhouse, a Democrat, who was mayor of Perrysburg from 1955-59 and from 1965-81. His successful 1952 run for a seat on council was her first taste of campaigning.

"She just adored my dad, and whatever he wanted to do, she was behind him 100 percent," her daughter Mickey Schmitt said.

Until she moved, she still gave permission for candidates to have signs in her yard. When she was able, she campaigned for municipal candidates. She also was active in the successful presidential campaigns of John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter and, in thanks, was invited to both their inaugurations.

"She had a lot of zest for things," Mrs. Schmitt said. "She just went 100 percent.

"It seemed everyone Mother met liked her. She had a smile and was generous with her time. She was quick with her witticisms. Somebody said something, she would say something right away that made you laugh."

Mrs. Neiderhouse's husband was well-known in Perrysburg even before he ran for office. He and boyhood friend Albert Liebherr operated the Gulf service station at Third Street and Louisiana Avenue. When he decided to run for mayor -- and when he won -- "she was delighted," Mrs. Schmitt said. "She was always so proud of him. When he held mayor's court, she'd talk about how he brought books home to read up on the law."

The couple annually held a party for city employees, some years at their home; some years at a place they rented. She made all the food, and she cleaned up afterward.

"She thoroughly enjoyed that. They liked to entertain," Mrs. May said. "They were in it together. He was the mayor, but she was right there beside him."

She was born April 17, 1918, to Maude and Frank Gulick and grew up in Maumee. She attended Maumee High School and, afterward, married and had her daughters. The marriage ended after four years, and she and the girls moved in with her parents.

She met Mr. Neiderhouse on a blind date. The pair went out together for six years before they married.

"It was phenomenal," Mrs. May said. "He took us as his own children. He was the only father we ever really had. They were a wonderful couple."

She was active in her church, First Presbyterian Church of Perrysburg. She was a member of a sewing club that was more than 70 years old.

"She was very proud of that," Mrs. May said. "This group of ladies, I think to start there were 10 or 14. They got together once a month, and they never sewed -- or maybe a couple of them did, but they were good friends, and it was a social time."

Three members of the group survive, Mrs. May said.

Mrs. Neiderhouse and her husband married in March, 1952. He died Oct. 8, 1996.

Surviving are her daughters, Jane May and Marilyn "Mickey" Schmitt; eight grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be at 7 Saturday night in the Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Perrysburg, where the family will receive friends after 5 p.m.

The family requests tributes to First Presbyterian Church of Perrysburg; the endowment fund of Marklund at Mill Creek, a community for adults with development disabilities where her grandson Jeffrey lives, or Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.



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