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Published: Monday, 5/21/2012

Delmar Jay Sauder, 1930-2012: Co-founder devoted to Sauder Village


ARCHBOLD, Ohio — Delmar Jay Sauder, a longtime employee of Sauder Woodworking Co. and Sauder Village, died Friday in his home in Fairlawn Haven in Archbold. He was 81 years old. The cause of death was unknown, according to his brother Maynard Sauder.

Delmar Sauder was passionate about Sauder Village, which offers activities and demonstrations of daily rural life in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The village was founded by his father, Erie Sauder, in the 1970s, and Delmar often said he wanted to keep his father’s dream alive, Maynard said.

“He was very sincere about keeping that going,” Mr. Sauder said.

Delmar Sauder spent decades assisting with maintenance and grounds at the village and caring for the animals.

“His nature was just a soft-spoken, kind, caring, tender-hearted nature. The animals really took to him,” said Debbie Sauder David, the village’s executive director and the third generation of the family to oversee it. Mrs. David said her uncle was a fixture around Sauder Village, helping out in “every way that he could,” including numerous financial contributions in recent years.

Mr. Sauder attended Archbold High School until age 16, when he took a job in the factory at Sauder Woodworking. He worked there for many years until 1974, when he joined his father in creating Sauder Village.

Mrs. David said her uncle, who had a learning disability, was known for being welcoming to all people, especially international students and migrant-farm families.

He also was known for closely following high school sports and keeping track of every score, team, and ranking.

In 1976, he married Evelyn Lee, who died in 1993.

He is survived by brothers Maynard and Myrl Sauder.

Visitation is to be today from 3 to 7 p.m. in the chapel of Fairlawn Haven. Services are to be Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at Tedrow Mennonite Church. Interment is to be in the Pettisville Cemetery. The family suggests tributes to Sauder Village. Arrangements are made by Grisier Funeral Home in Archbold.

Contact Kate Giammarise at: kgiammarise@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.

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