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Published: Monday, 9/26/2011

Walter C. Kolb, 1923-2011: Wauseon resident ran family grain business


WAUSEON — Walter C. Kolb, who was the third generation of his family to own and operate a feed and grain mill, died Friday in Heartland of Wauseon. He was 88.

Mr. Kolb, who had been in the nursing home since May 24, suffered a heart attack, said his daughter, Denise Drummer.

Mr. Kolb was a teenager when he began working at Kolb’s Feed Mill, a business that his grandfather Al Kolb took over in 1918 when it was the A.L. Kolb Ten-Cent Barn.

He worked in the family business during the summers as well as after school and on Saturdays during the rest of the year.

When his father, Albert Kolb, Jr., suffered a stroke in 1967 and no longer could run the mill, Mr. Kolb took over. The mill sold grain to area farmers to feed livestock.

“He worked in the feed-mill business his whole life,” Mrs. Drummer said.

“He first worked for his grandfather and then his father.”

Mr. Kolb was born in Chatham, Ohio, in Medina County.

When he was 12, his father moved the family to Wauseon so he could help in the family business. He graduated in 1941 from Wauseon High School.

He was drafted into the Army in 1944 and was assigned to driving a truck. After the war, he returned to Wauseon to work at the mill.

He retired in 1992 and closed the business, which still operated in the same wooden structure on Commercial Street.

Mr. Kolb married the former Dottie Wahl on May 14, 1954. They divorced in 1967. He married the former Glendora Fahringer on May 10, 1974. Ms. Drummer said they met at the Moose Lodge in Napoleon, Ohio.

Among Mr. Kolb’s hobbies was fishing. Ms. Drummer said he made many trips to local fishing holes as well as to Michigan, Canada, and Lake Erie with two lifelong friends.

Ms. Drummer said her father was very generous. She said that years ago he learned about a family who had fallen on hard times and ran out of heating oil as the holidays approached.

She said her father paid to have fuel delivered to their home and took toys, food, and a turkey to their home so they could have Christmas.

“When they made him, they broke the mold because he was definitely one of kind,” his daughter said. “He had a lot of friends who thought the world of him.”

He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign War, Post 7424.

Surviving are his wife, Glendora, son, Allen Kolb, daughter, Denise Drummer, stepson, Randy Fahringer, stepdaughter, Laura Precht, sisters, Alberta Wyse and Marion Dinius, two grandchildren, and three stepgrandchildren.

Services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Edgar-Grisier Funeral Home.

Visitation is to be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the funeral home.

The family requests tributes to the American Heart Association, VFW Post 7424, or Heartland of Wauseon.

— Mark Reiter

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