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Published: Wednesday, 3/9/2005

Tragedy on pond nearly took another life

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

NEY, Ohio - Edward Singer raced to his parents' farm Saturday morning thinking his 81-year-old father had fallen into their ice-covered pond.

When he got to their Defiance County home - less than 5 minutes away from his - he found his mother had slipped into the pond as well in an attempt to rescue her husband.

Frantic at the sight of his father's floating body and his mother in water up to her chest, Mr. Singer didn't remember the mobile phone he brought with him and sent his 17-year-old son Robert to call 911.

Today he credits his son with helping him save his mother.

"If he wouldn't have been there, I would have been real confused about what to do first," Mr. Singer said.

But knowing that Robert was calling for help, Mr. Singer, 50, said he was able to grab a broom that his mother kept hanging inside the garage and ease onto the ice on his belly to try to reach her.

His mother, Mary, 75, was strong enough to reach the broom, hold onto it, and get out of the pond.

Meanwhile, Robert found his grandparents' house locked when he ran to call 911. He broke a window with a rock and found a ladder to crawl inside.

If only their efforts had allowed them to save their father and grandfather, Gerald Singer, it would be a story that the family would be eager to tell in an effort to warn others about the dangers of walking on ice-covered ponds.

But Gerald Singer died Saturday on the farm where he was born, 5314 State Rt. 15 in Defiance County's Washington Township. And the family is wracked with grief at the loss of the farmer who was married to his wife, Mary Eleanor, for almost 55 years.

Mr. Singer walked out onto his pond with a hatchet, intending to make a hole in the ice that he thought might help his fish survive the winter.

It was about 9 a.m. Saturday when Mrs. Singer called her son, saying she had looked all over for Mr. Singer and couldn't find him. As they talked on the phone, Mrs. Singer spotted something red in the pond and remembered that her husband had been wearing a red jacket.

Mrs. Singer ran out of the house, and her son and grandson jumped in a car and raced to the farm.

By the time rescue workers arrived, all that remained for them was to pull Mr. Singer out of the deep part of the pond.

Contact Jane Schmucker at:

jschmucker@theblade.com

or 419-337-7780.



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