FREMONT — Merl E. Hetrick, a farmer and an officer in farm-related organizations who was a former trustee of Rice Township in Sandusky County, died Saturday in the home where he was born. He was 92.
He’d been in declining health, his daughter Brenda said.
Mr. Hetrick left behind day-to-day farm responsibilities in 1987, a retirement of sorts, and his son, Jerry, took over.
“He kept helping,” his son said. Mr. Hetrick drove a grain-hauling truck until he was 88 years old.
“That’s just the way farmers are. It’s in your blood,” his son said. “Even once you turn it over, you stay in it and help out.”
Mr. Hetrick was named Retired Farmer of the Year in 2000 by the Sandusky County Farm Bureau.
He took over the farm after his father died in the mid-1950s. He raised at various times dairy cattle, chickens, sheep, and pigs. He switched to beef cattle, which he had into the 1970s. He grew wheat, corn, and soybeans, but later tomatoes, cucumbers, and sugar beets as well.
He was a past president and director of the Sandusky County Farm Bureau. He was a past president of the boards at Peoples Elevator and Agway and had been a director of Lin-Mor grain elevator in Lindsey, Ohio.
He also was a member of the Fremont Pickle and Tomato Growers Association and the Fremont Sugar Beet Growers Association. He was active in 4-H and the Sandusky County Fair and served on the junior fair steer committee.
“That was his personality,” his son said. “He liked being around people and working with people and being involved. He wanted to help the community, I guess.”
Mr. Hetrick was a township trustee for 20 years.
“He was a snow plow driver while he was a trustee,” his daughter said. “That goes with the territory.”
For several years, he drove a truck for Pet Milk, picking up old-style milk cans from area dairy farms and delivering them to the Pet Milk dairy in Fremont. He also drove a school bus for Washington Township School in Lindsey.
He was born Oct. 15, 1921, to Minnie and Clarence Hetrick and attended Fremont Ross High School.
He was an Army veteran of World War II and served in the Pacific Theater until November, 1946, much of that on Guam as a supervisor of airplane parts warehouses.
Mr. Hetrick liked to hunt — deer to rabbit —and to fish, from catfish and bullheads in Mud Creek to perch and walleye in Lake Erie.
Surviving are his wife, Norma, whom he married Feb. 14, 1953; daughters Deborah Grayson, Brenda Fulkerson, Bonnie Heminger, and Cindy Abdoo; son, Jerry Hetrick; 10 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m. today in Herman-Kinn-Karlovetz Funeral Home, Fremont. Services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday in Faith Lutheran Church, Fremont.
The family suggests tributes to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the church, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.
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