Karl W. Wolfert, 82, a butcher, grocer, and sausagemaker who, like his father, offered generations of customers fresh-cut meat, personal service, and European-style specialties, died Wednesday in his Waterville home.
He had dementia, his daughter Heidi said.
Mr. Wolfert retired in 1996 from his market on Airport Highway and, after more than four decades on his feet, hip surgery was high on his to-do list, he told The Blade then.
Loyal customers appreciated the service they received and offerings available few other places.
“It was the meat that kept that store going,” said his sister Rosemary McCammon, who worked in the store with other family members. “We had probably the best meat in town I thought.”
Mr. Wolfert posted his code on the wall, visible to customers: “Our Guarantee: You Must Be Satisfied or We Will Correct It.”
“We were all behind the counter, and it was like a hometown market to come to,” said daughter Heidi, who worked in the store. “You talked and you knew people’s faces and names. People came in for that kind of service you don’t get these days.”
He smoked his own bacon and made lunchmeat. Sausage became a specialty, and he made Italian, Polish, and Hungarian varieties. German sausages took the spotlight — his parents were German immigrants — and he made bratwurst, but also head cheese and blood sausage and the semidried sausage called landjaeger. His mother, wife, sisters, and daughter made the German potato salad.
Born Aug. 27, 1931, to Bertha and Karl Wolfert, he was 11 when he started helping at his father’s store and at its slaughterhouse. He was a graduate of Libbey High School.
He was a University of Toledo student and aspiring veterinarian in 1953 when his father died. His mother wanted to sell the store, his sister recalled.
“He said, ‘We will keep it going,’ ” his sister said. He’d learned about the business from his father, “and he knew he could succeed in it,” she said.
Mr. Wolfert was a former president of the Red & White Food Stores, a cooperative of independent grocers. Wolfert’s later joined a similar group and the shop was a 5-Star Market.
His mother died Oct. 5, 1984. He and his first wife, Patricia, were married for 38 years. She died Dec. 6, 1999.
Surviving are his wife, Billie, whom he married in November, 2002; son, Paul Wolfert; daughters Heidi Oswald and Heather Winkler; stepson, Chris Barnett; stepdaughter, Jamie Boothe; sisters, Rosemary McCammon and Ruthie Baeumel; seven grandchildren, and seven step-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. Sunday in the Bersticker-Scott Funeral Home. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday in Westgate Chapel, where he was a member. The family will receive guests at church after 9:30 a.m. Monday.
The family suggests tributes to the Cherry Street Mission or Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.
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