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Published: Friday, 9/27/2013

Rudolph A. Peckinpaugh; 1925-2013: Grocery giant heir was civic-minded

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
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Rudolph A. Peckinpaugh, whose gentlemanly demeanor bespoke an era of good civic works and grand Collingwood Boulevard mansions, including the home of his great-grandfather, R.A. Bartley, founder of a wholesale grocery business, died Wednesday in Advanced Specialty Hospital of Toledo. He was 88.

He’d had recent respiratory problems, his son, Rudy, Jr., said.

Mr. Peckinpaugh of Perrysburg Township was married to Dorothy Rainie, society editor of The Blade, from June 20, 1985, until her death on Dec. 23, 1999.

He was treasurer and secretary of the Bartley Co., joining brothers Richard and David in managing the firm.

Begun in 1872, Bartley had stores, schools, and restaurants among its customers in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Their father, Charles W. Peckinpaugh, was president and chairman of the board, and at his death in 1954, the firm was the oldest wholesale grocer in Toledo and was a sponsor of the Red & White grocery chain.

Bartley in 1979 merged with Defiance Grocery Co., another family-operated concern.

The Bartley name “was huge here in Toledo,” said longtime friend Jean Smith. “The Peckinpaugh name meant a great deal. He admired his father immensely, and his mother he not only loved, he admired tremendously.”

His great-grandfather was a philanthropist, his father active in civic groups. Yet he did not flaunt his heritage.

“You would never know that he came from, the background he came from, any kind of aristocracy,” his son said. “He just didn’t talk about it. He’d want to be remembered as an old-fashioned Victorian gentleman who came from a bygone era — that age was important to his family.”

Mr. Peckinpaugh was selected among the annual top 10 outstanding young men of Toledo by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and was on the boards of Sertoma Club of Toledo and Conlon Service Center for people with disabilities. He was a leader in a forerunner to the United Way, and was a supporter of the Toledo Opera, the Toledo Symphony, and the Toledo Area Humane Society.

“He loved Toledo,” his son said. “He contributed to every cause and somehow was visible in all kinds of community and civic events and activities.”

Mr. Peckinpaugh was born Jan. 5, 1925, to Charles and Virginia Bartley Peckinpaugh and grew up in a red brick mansion that had been a fixture at 2115 Collingwood since the 1890s. He and his brothers regularly visited their great-grandparents’ stately home at 1855 Collingwood, which became known as Bartley Mansion.

He attended St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wis., and The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. He was an Army veteran of World War II and served stateside in the military police. Afterward, he received a bachelor of business administration degree from the University of Toledo. He took post-graduate accounting courses at the University of Michigan.

Mr. Peckinpaugh was three times a widower. He and his first wife, the former Jean Luan Snearing, married in October, 1953, and renovated a house on Corey Street in Maumee as they raised their sons. She died Jan. 26, 1964.

“I was 10. My brother was 8,” son Rudy said. “I think we were a challenge in our own right. My father devoted himself to us.”

He married Martha Adams Secrest on June 18. 1966, and they had a daughter, Paulene, in 1968. His second wife died Dec. 20, 1979, and he again was a single father.

“I don’t know how he did it,” son Rudy said. “He took us all around the country. He wanted us to be cultured. My father used to invite foreign students from the University of Toledo, who had no place to go during the holidays, to our home. My father was introducing us to diversity when we were kids. That’s pretty remarkable, and he did it every holiday.”

He often accompanied Dorothy Rainie to social events before they married. Afterward, he was with her at every one. She also had grown up on Collingwood, and for decades chronicled the social scene and families of Toledo’s elite.

He brought her to The Blade at least once a week so that she could drop off her columns, and was by her side as she made her way through the editorial department. His aid increased as she continued to work after suffering minor strokes, until her failing health forced her retirement in 1995.

“That’s just who my father was,” son Rudy said. “He was a very loyal person who was going to stay with her through the end.”

Mr. Peckinpaugh spent summers at the family home in Lakeside, Ohio, a family tradition. He caught every play in the Broadway series at the Stranahan Theater. He swam until about a year ago at the Toledo Club, where he was among the oldest members. Most Mondays for a quarter-century, he met his son Rudy there for the turkey buffet.

In recent years, Mr. Peckinpaugh remained active with the help of Ted Franks, who was his caregiver and driver and became a family friend, son Rudy said.

Surviving are his sons, Rudolph, Jr., and Carter Peckinpaugh; daughter, Paulene Wilson, and four grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 3 to 9 p.m. Monday in the Walker Funeral Home, Sylvania Township, with a service by American Legion Post 335, where he was a member, at 7 p.m. Memorial services will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday in First Presbyterian Church, Maumee, where he was a longtime member.

He set up a trust to help four people annually who otherwise could not afford to go through the last phase of cardiac rehabilitation at the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio. The family suggests tributes to the Rudolph A. Peckinpaugh Cardiac Rehabilitation Trust in care of Mark H. Boss at the law firm of Eastman & Smith Ltd.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.



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