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Published: Monday, 7/6/2009

North Toledoan dies in apparent drowning


A 67-year-old North Toledo man died in an apparent drowning while swimming in his backyard pool Sunday, authorities said.

A next-door neighbor found Norman Orzehowski, Sr., floating face down. The neighbor, aided by others, tried to resuscitate him but was not successful. Mr. Orzehowski was pronounced dead at 2:15 p.m. at his residence, 5451 Tulane Ave., Toledo fire and police personnel said.

"We're going to miss him, because you don't find neighbors like that all the time," said Jerry Grimes, who lived next door to Mr. Orzehowski for nearly 20 years and helped try to save him .

Mr. Grimes added: "No spats, no nothing. He was just a super- nice guy."

The Lucas County coroner will investigate what caused Mr. Orzehowski to drown, although it appears natural, said Jeff Dorner, a Toledo police officer.

Coroner's investigator Charlie Hunt said the death appears to have been an accidental drowning, and that an autopsy would be performed.

Next-door neighbor Al Smith said he was getting ready to wash his pickup and noticed Mr. Orzehowski floating in the corner of his backyard pool.

Initially, Mr. Smith said, he didn't think anything was wrong, but then he rushed to get Mr. Orzehowski out and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Mr. Grimes said he saw Mr. Smith and helped him get Mr. Orzehowski out of the pool. His wife, Karen Grimes, called 911, he said.

Emergency personnel took over rescue efforts when they arrived, said Lt. Charles Jones of the Toledo Fire Department.

Mr. Orzehowski's wife, Linda, had been inside the house when her husband drowned, Mr. Grimes said. A float had been in the pool near Mr. Orzehowski, he said.

"He always had a smile for you, whether it was raining or otherwise," said Mr. Grimes, whose wife was comforting Mrs. Orzehowski. "It's just horrible. It's terrible."

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:


or 419-724-6087.

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