EARL NORMAN WITZLER
Earl N. Witzler, formerly of Waterville, passed away February 28, at Whitehall, Michigan. He had been in declining health for the last several years. He was born in Perrysburg, Ohio, March 5, 1929, a descendant of one of the town’s pioneers, his great-grandfather Peter Witzler. His parents were Norman A. Witzler and Marcena Hobart Witzler, owners of the Witzler Funeral Home at 128 East Front Street until Norman’s death in 1964. The family with six children lived upstairs over the mortuary.
Earl attended Perrysburg Schools, graduating in 1947 from the high school building then on Indiana and Elm Street. He maintained friendships with classmates and attended most of the reunions. He received a degree in government from Oberlin College in 1951 and waived a deferment for law school and went into the U.S. Army two weeks following graduation. Since he had been in the National Guard for three years while in high school, he was qualified to receive training as a cryptographic specialist at Camp Gordon, Georgia, with assignment to the White House with top secret clearance. This was during the Korean War. He worked for a year for President Truman and traveled with him on his whistle-stop train trip in the Stevenson campaign. He then served in the White House under President Eisenhower for six months.
Following military discharge in 1953 he attended Ohio State Law School. He began the general practice of law with Wayne Leatherman in an office on Louisiana Avenue. They built a new office on the corner of Elm and Indiana Avenue, where he practiced law until his retirement in 1993. He served on the board of directors of Perrysburg Banking, later the Bank of Wood County and finally Huntington Bank’s Toledo board. He worked several years with the Toledo United Way, having chaired the budget and allocations committee. He also served on the Board of Community House.
Earl was baptized in the First Presbyterian Church of Perrysburg in 1929 and has remained a faithful member all his life. He served as elder and legal advisor. He became interested in the ecumenical movement and became active in the Toledo Area Council of Churches, serving as president during years of change and transition. He particularly enjoyed supporting children in many countries through the Christian Children’s Fund for almost 50 years, regularly writing personal letters and sending special gifts. In 2014, Earl was recognized for 65 years of faithful service to Freemasonry by Phoenix Lodge of Perrysburg, and the same year honored by the American Legion for 60 years of membership.
The study of archaeology, anthropology and theology were of great interest to Earl. He acquired a collection of antiquities from the ancient world as well as local Native American artifacts. He helped organize the Toledo Area Aboriginal Society in 1969. He was a member of Historic Perrysburg, the Perrysburg Area Historic Museum, the Wood County Historical Museum and the Waterville Historical Society. While serving on the board of the Waterville group he was instrumental in obtaining the Sargent House, which has become a museum.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Dr. James Witzler; sisters, Dolores Witzler and Margaret Furlong, and survived by his wife, Phyllis of Montague, Michigan, his brother’s widow whom he married in 1977; stepchildren, Norman (Maggie) Witzler of Leander, Texas, Sally (Jon) Whitbeck of Montague, Michigan, Brian H. Witzler of Liberty Hill, Texas and Elizabeth Witzler of Muskegon, Michigan; granddaughter, Phoebe Whitbeck of Montague, Michigan; sisters, Marilyn Hovorka of Valley City, Ohio, Joyce (Dave) Walker of Lexington, Kentucky, and many dear nieces, nephews and cousins.
A memorial service is planned for a later date. The family suggests tributes be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Perrysburg, 200 East Second Street, Perrysburg, Ohio 43551, or to a charity of their choice. Arrangements entrusted to Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Perrysburg, 419-874-3133. Online condolences may be shared at witzler shank.com.