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Published: 5/14/2013 - Updated: 11 months ago

Louis Wehde, 1929-2013: Perrysburg man served as fire chief

BY KELLY McLENDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Louis Wehde Louis Wehde
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Louis Wehde, who helped create the Perrysburg Township Fire Department and then served as its fire chief for almost three decades, died at home on Monday.

The cause of death was not available late Monday.

He retired from the department in December, 2003, after more than 25 years of service as a part-time chief.

Mr. Wehde was instrumental in serving on the committee that was involved in forming the township’s fire department in the 1960s.

Perrysburg Township Police Chief Mark Hetrick said Mr. Wehde was one of the founding members.

“He was one of the original fire chiefs. He’s a very good guy. He helped develop the fire department into what it is today," he said.

In September, Mr. Wehde was able to attend a banquet to celebrate the department’s 50th anniversary.

The police chief said it was difficult to think back to all of the calls that they were both on together, because it was so long ago and there were so many.

Mr. Wehde was appointed fire chief in May, 1977, by township trustees. Mr. Wehde, who worked as a brick mason, served as senior assistant chief, before his appointment to chief. After his official retirement, he stayed on for several years as a volunteer.

“I don’t make a whole lot of runs anymore, but I used to make all the runs I could,” Chief Wehde told The Blade in 2000, when he was first considering retirement. “I know better than to suit up and go charging into a burning building.”

Chief Hetrick said Mr. Wehde’s presence in the community would be sorely missed. “He’s going to be very much missed by the township employees,” he said. “He’s a very good guy — just very proactive for the fire department and he’ll be greatly missed.”

Mr. Wehde’s influence on employees was another aspect that made him stand out from the crowd as a chief.

Gary Britten, township trustee and former township maintenance supervisor, said Mr. Wehde was a good fit for the volunteer fire department because he had the ability to motivate the men and women to be near the department and available for runs.

“He was the perfect chief for that. He got them to hang out at the office,” Mr. Britten said. “There was a lot of camaraderie when he was the chief, and you needed that when you didn’t have a full-time department. It was important to have those guys available. It wouldn’t be nothing to have the guys hanging around at night.”

Services have been scheduled for Louis Wehde, who helped form the Perrysburg Township Fire Department and became its chief.

Mr. Wehde, 88, died at home on Monday. He was township fire chief for about a quarter-century.

Visitation will be from 2-9 p.m. Thursday in the Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Perryburg, with a Perrysburg Township firefighter service at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Friday in the funeral home.

Mr. Wehde's  first wife, Marcia, died Jan. 29, 1980.

Surviving are his wife, Mary Wehde, whom he married May 1, 1982; daughters, Nancy Swigart, Beverly Palmer, Amy Wehde, Karen Wolf, Marcia Verbrugge, and Brenda Siebenaler; sons, Jeff D. Lewis and David A. Lewis; sisters, Ruth Shaffer, Cathryn Descamps, and Elizabeth Adkins; 23 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

The family suggests tributes to the township's Operation Breadbasket; Reach at Blessed John XXIII Community, Perrysburg, or Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

Staff writer Mark Reiter contributed to this report.

Contact Kelly McLendon at: kmclendon@theblade.com or 419-206-0356, or on Twitter at @KMcBlade.



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