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NAPOLEON — Paul Neuhauser, who was a vice president in the family hatchery business that grew to 30 branches in the United States and Canada, died Monday in Henry County Hospital. He was 92.
He’d been in failing health for years, “but was still enjoying life,” his son, David, said.
Mr. Neuhauser grew up alongside the burgeoning family concern. He was born Aug. 18, 1921, in Berne, Ind., to Wilma and David Neuhauser.
Not long after, the family moved to Ridgeville Corners in Henry County, where Ezra Neuhauser had started a chicken hatching and egg-laying operation. His father joined in, as did another uncle, Menno.
The brothers expanded to Napoleon and maintained a large poultry farm near Ridgeville Corners, where “flocks are culled regularly and only prize stock is bred,” according to a 1929 newspaper account. “The Neuhausers have paid as high as $1 per single egg for hatching purposes.”
Demand rose, and the business grew to a firm with facilities in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, New York, West Virginia, and Canada.
“It was a time, during the Depression, people knew the value of having a few chickens,” Mr. Neuhauser’s son said. “There were not only eggs every day, but meat to eat later.”
Mr. Neuhauser as a schoolboy cleaned the coops. When he returned from medical corps service in World War II, he worked as a service manager for the Neuhauser Hatcheries. He sold chickens to area farmers, oversaw egg production, and eventually became a vice president.
By the 1960s, as big farms became more efficient and small farms fell by the wayside, so did business for Neuhauser Hatcheries, his son said. The Neuhausers sold the business in 1967 to International Multifoods Corp. Mr. Neuhauser continued to work for the new owner, retiring in 1979 as a hatchery and district sales and service manager.
He played basketball and baseball in high school and was a 1939 graduate of the Ridgeville schools. He was a medical corps technician during the war and served in the New Hebrides islands and the Philippines.
He grew up as a member of the Evangelical Mennonite Church in Archbold, Ohio.
He later was a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Napoleon, where he sang in the choir for more than 50 years. He’d been Sunday school superintendent, was a church lay leader, and church historian — and led most of the congregation’s committees. He’d been a lay leader for the United Methodist Defiance district and a member of its United Methodist Union.
A hobby the last 15 years was to collect pennies by date and mint mark in folders holding 80 coins each — “penny books,” he called them — and give folders to grandchildren, to children and grandchildren of friends, and to many other children he met.
“He enjoyed the process of making them and giving them,” his son said. “He really got a lot of thanks. He didn’t put his name on them. He didn’t want any recognition.”
Over the years, he made and gave away at least 3,000 of the penny books.
Surviving are his wife, Marjorie, whom he married May 18, 1943; son, David; daughter, Judith Ann Kahn; sister, Evelyn Rosebrock; five grandchildren, and a great-grandson.
Services are at 11 a.m. today in St. Paul United Methodist Church, Napoleon, with visitation at 10 a.m. Arrangements are by the Rodenberger Funeral Home, Napoleon.
The family suggests tributes to the church or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: email@example.com or 419-724-6182.
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