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Published: Sunday, 2/24/2013

Lynn B. Lubell, 1926-2013: WWII Navy vet led Westgate Kiwanis

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Lynn Lubell. Lynn Lubell.
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Lynn B. Lubell, a career salesman whose skill translated into fund-raising success for civic and charitable causes, died Saturday of respiratory failure in the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical of Ohio Hospital. He was 86.

He had Parkinson’s disease, his son, Bob, said.

Mr. Lubell of West Toledo retired in the late 1980s after more than 30 years as a representative of wholesale floor covering distributors. He visited clients and prospects throughout northwest Ohio and into Michigan.

“He could talk to anyone and make them very comfortable and remembered who they were and what their specific needs were,” his son said.

A former president of the Westgate Kiwanis Club — with perfect attendance besides — Mr. Lubell for more than two decades organized and ran the annual peanut sale staged by the Kiwanis Clubs in northwest Ohio to benefit Kiwanis, community, YMCA, and youth projects.

At busy intersections, Kiwanis members in distinctive red ponchos sold packs of peanuts for what motorists and pedestrians cared to donate. His outpost was at Central Avenue and Secor Road. And if Mr. Lubell was a sales natural, one year he had the help of Toledo Mud Hens’ mascot, Muddy Mud Hen.

“Muddy was a great salesman. Nobody could refuse him,” Mr. Lubell told The Blade in 1995.

Mr. Lubell dashed into traffic to makes his sales, as did the other volunteers. But as organizer, he also ordered the peanuts and posed for presale publicity photos and contacted local police departments. He helped count the proceeds, but some of what he found in the canisters couldn’t always be deposited.

“People have been great,” Mr. Lubell told The Blade in 1995, “but some have tossed strange things in the cans. We’ve been given screws, washers, foreign coins, even some hashish!”

Another Kiwanis project he helped lead resulted in construction of the Huntington Farms Community Center in Sylvania in the late 1960s. The Westgate club offered support to Beach House Family Shelter in North Toledo, and Mr. Lubell was a former board president.

“Lynn might have been the most charitable person we’ve had in the organization,” said Mark Ralston, a former president of the Westgage Kiwanis. “Whenever we had a fund-raiser he was there. Whenever we had a project he was there. He was a driving force behind the club.”

He was born May 23, 1926, in Toledo to Sadie and Irving Lubell. He was an Eagle Scout and played bugle in a Boy Scout drum and bugle corps.

He was a graduate of Scott High School and, in 1944, enlisted in the Navy. He was sent to Navy bugler school and was required to know 120 tunes — although on his first watch aboard ship, he ran afoul of the captain by playing “Torpedo Defense Battery” when told to play “Officer’s Call.”

He later served in the Pacific Theater on the USS Birmingham, which survived several kamikaze hits, his son said. Until recent years, he took part in USS Birmingham reunions. He took an Honor Flight last year and visited the World War II Memorial in Washington.

He attended Bowling Green State University and received a bachelor’s degree from what is now Case Western Reserve University. At the urging of his father, he went through the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine. He had a short-lived practice of podiatric medicine in Cleveland, but did not care for the profession.

He returned to Toledo and worked in the family business, Lubell Furniture, until it closed in 1956.

Mr. Lubell was a member of Chabad House and The Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim

He and his wife, Gertrude, married June 27, 1948. She died July 6, 2012.

Surviving are his son, Robert Lubell; daughter, Kathy Badger, and a granddaughter.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the Robert H. Wick/Wisniewski Funeral Home.



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