Joseph T. Ankenbrandt, a 30-year veteran of the Maumee police force who was still called "Juvie Joe" by adults whom he set straight when they were children during his service as a full-time youth officer, died Tuesday in his Maumee home. He was 79.
He had a form of Parkinson's disease and was in declining health the last two years, daughter-in-law Terry Mausser said.
He retired as a police officer in 1985, but not as a worker. He was a bailiff in Maumee Municipal Court until February, 2010. He also delivered materials and maintained tools for his brother-in-law Robert Scott at Brookside Construction until 2009.
Mr. Ankenbrandt was an Army veteran of the Korean War and was an employee of a gas station when the late Mayor George McIntyre suggested he take a test for a police department opening. He passed and became an officer on June 4, 1955. First he had to buy his own gun and cap; his uniform cost $25, and a shirt was $2.98.
Officers responded to medical calls then, and "one of the things he was proudest of was he delivered eight babies," son Mark said. He was named a juvenile officer in 1970 when Maumee got a grant.
He gave regular talks in schools and for a time taught law enforcement to an eighth-grade social studies class. His duty was to handle all juvenile complaints, from crime and truancy to misbehavior at home and sporting events.
"In those days you could talk to kids, and they still listened," Mr. Ankenbrandt told The Blade at his retirement. "We did everything we could to keep them out of the court system. Talking to the culprits and their parents helped most of the time, although there were always those you could not help.
"We set up a program where the juveniles would have to check in with us every week and be on their best behavior for a period of time. If they didn't cooperate, they went to court, but we got a lot of cooperation."
From that contact, Mr. Ankenbrandt got the nickname by which he was hailed even decades later.
"He was always recognized," his daughter-in-law said. "You never went anywhere ever without running into somebody who knew him."
His son said: "He was proud of that name. A lot of people would say, 'If it wasn't for your dad, my life would have taken a different direction.'"
"People respected him," his son said.
He became a detective after funding for the juvenile program ended. He also took charge of reporting police department statistics to state and federal agencies.
He was born June 5, 1932, in Maumee to Nellie and Joseph W. Ankenbrandt. He was a 1950 graduate of Maumee High School.
Mr. Ankenbrandt was a former parish council president at St. Joseph Church, Maumee, and volunteered at St. Luke's Hospital.
He was a former president of the Maumee Exchange Club and for a decade was cub master of Cub Scout Pack 32.
Surviving are his wife, Dorothy, whom he married Sept. 17, 1955; sons, Mark, John, Paul, and Gary; brothers, Raymond, David William, Richard "Tiny," Charles, Douglas, and Timothy Ankenbrandt; sisters, Mary Beaber, Marcia Miko, Jane Ankenbrandt, Ruth Bensch, and Nancy Joyce; nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Visitation is to continue today from 1 to 9 p.m. in the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home, Maumee, where a Rosary service is to be at 7 p.m. and a Maumee Elks service is to be at 7:30 p.m. The funeral will be 1 p.m. Saturday in St. Joseph Church, Maumee.The family suggests tributes to the church.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.
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