The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, May. 29, 2020

Obituaries can be emailed to or faxed to 419.238.2578. As of January 15, 2020, the Van Wert independent will no longer accept no-cost death notices. The cost of full obituaries will remain at $50 (including a photo). Obituary payments can be sent to: Van Wert independent, P.O. Box 546, Van Wert, OH 45891. Local funeral homes are billed for full obituaries, while out-of-town funeral homes can also be billed, if so requested.

POSTED: 12/28/10 at 3:42 pm. FILED UNDER: Info

Dennis Kimmet, 72, of Delphos, passed away Tuesday, May 27, 2020, at Majestic Care of New Haven, Indiana.

Dennis Kimmet

He was born May 4, 1948, the son of Joseph and Betty (Bardo) Kimmet. His father preceded him in death, while his mother survives in Delphos. On May 9, 1975, he married Dianne LaRue, and she survives in Delphos.

Dennis is also survived by two sons, Brian Kimmet and Jason Kimmet, both of Delphos; a grandson, Collin Kimmet; three siblings, Deb (Dareld) Nye of Elida, Dave (Deb) Kimmet of Delphos, and Dan (Cindy) Kimmet of Elida; his mother-in-law, Ruth LaRue of Delphos; and a sister-in-law, Donna (Jerry) Sampson.

His father-in-law, Lavon LaRue, also preceded him in death.

Dennis was a member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Delphos. He had served in the United States Army, and was also a member of American Legion Post 268, a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3035, and a member of the Delphos Sportsman Club. Dennis became a Delphos police officer in 1970 and was chief of police in Delphos from 1976 until his retirement in 1998. He was court reporter/bailiff for Van Wert County Common Pleas Court for many years before retiring from that position. He served on the Children’s Service Board of Allen County and the Van Wert County Veterans Service Commission.

A private family service will be held at a later date. Graveside military honors will be rendered by the Delphos Veterans Council.

Preferred memorials: Delphos Sportsman Club’s Children’s Fishing Derby, Legion Post 268, or VFW Post 3035.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/27/20 at 2:02 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Letta M. Stetler, 88, of Van Wert, passed away early Sunday morning, May 24, 2020, at The Laurels of Shane Hill in Rockford.

Letta M. Stetler

She was born April 1, 1932, in Mercer County, the daughter of Cecil and Amy (Davies) Walls, who both preceded her in death. Letta married John Doyle Stetler on September 17, 1950, in Van Wert, and he passed away May 29, 2010.

She was a member of Willshire Union United Methodist Church in rural Decatur, Indiana, and had taught Sunday school for many years.

Letta worked on the family dairy farm all her life. She had also worked at Tuway American in Rockford for over 10 years.  

She was an excellent seamstress and cook and enjoyed bird watching and gardening. Her life revolved around her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

She is survived by five daughters, Nancy (Don Gray) Stetler of Warren, Indiana, Brenda (Steve) Johnson of Ohio City, Marilyn (Donny) Baxter of Willshire, Penny Sue (Calvin) Heller of Reading, Michigan, and Jody (Tom) Bigham of Venedocia; a brother, Bill (Barbara) Walls of Rockford; one sister-in-law, Marjorie Knittle of Nashville, Tennessee; five grandchildren, Ryan (Kelly Ann Lancaster) Dailey, B.G. Baxter, Trudy Baxter, Brittany (Matt) High, and Savannah Bigham; six stepgrandchildren, Drew, Whitney, and Tegan Johnson, Leigh Martin, and Mike and Mac Gray; and five great-grandchildren, Sidney Baxter, Libby Baxter, Maddy Baxter, Josie Baxter, and Hendrix Matthew High.

John & Letta Stetler

Letta was preceded in death by four grandchildren, Karmen and Tina Baxter and Jacob and Jessica Heller. 

A private graveside service will be held at Willshire Cemetery in Willshire, with Pastor Bud Larimore officiating.

Preferred memorials: Willshire Union United Methodist Church, Salvation Army of Van Wert, or Willshire Park (donations may be mailed to Zwick & Jahn Funeral Home, 520 N. Second St., Decatur, IN 46733.

Arrangements are by Zwick & Jahn Funeral Home in Decatur. 

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/26/20 at 3:20 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Juanita June Barrientos, 82, of Van Wert, passed away at 10:47 a.m. Friday, May 21, 2020, at Van Wert Health. 

Juanita June Barrientos

She was born October 6, 1937, in Frankfort, Illinois, the daughter of Ervie and Florence (Freeman) Beers, who both preceded her in death. On May 23, 1959, she married the love of her life, Richard Barrientos. Together, they shared 61 years of marriage. 

Juanita worked for many years as a surgical nurse at Van Wert County Hospital before finding her true calling as a nurse for over 35 years at Vancrest Health Care Center. Juanita was an amazing cook and made the best meatloaf. She was a devoted wife and an exceptional, caring, and accepting mother and grandmother who loved unconditionally.  

Juanita was a longtime member of member of First Baptist Church of Van Wert. She had strong Christian moral standards that she instilled in her family. 

Juanita is survived by her loving husband, Richard Barrientos of Van Wert; two children, Laura (Mark) Holcomb of Wichita Falls, Texas, and Lisa (Steve) Adams of Van Wert; six grandchildren, Levi (Lauren) Barrientos of Texas, Rusty Halcomb of Texas, Alyson Putman (Anthony) Carter of Nebraska, and Ashley Compton, Brian Berning, and John Putman, all of Ohio; and seven great-grandchildren, Madilyn Compton, June “Lilly” Compton, Evelyn Carter, Harper Carter, Averret Carter, Kalen Barrientos, and Evaleigh Ann Barrientos.

Five siblings, Ervie Beers Jr., Dorothy Sowers, Alma VanWay, Ruth Lambert, and Charlotte Pedigo, also preceded her in death.

A private family service will be held, which will be livestreamed at approximately 11 a.m. Monday May 25, at

A public memorial service will be held at a later date at First Baptist Church of Van Wert. 

Condolences may be expressed at

Arrangements have been entrusted to Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert.

POSTED: 05/25/20 at 8:56 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

David Michael Baxter

David Michael Baxter, 40, of Van Wert, passed away naturally on Saturday, May 23, 2020, at his residence.

He was born September 6, 1979, in Van Wert, the only son of Michael S. and Debrah C. (Spoor) Baxter. 

David worked as an artist and writer.

He is survived by his parents, Michael and Debrah Baxter of Van Wert; his aunts and uncles, Linda Spoor of Columbus, Brenda (Darren) Watkins of Van Wert, and Rick Spoor of Van Wert; and many cousins.

He was preceded in death by an uncle and aunt, William “Bill” and Chris Spoor.

In keeping with David’s wishes, he is to be cremated.

To share in David’s online memorial, visit

Arrangements have been entrusted to Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert.

POSTED: 05/23/20 at 7:01 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Justin Lee Snyder, 40, of Van Wert, left this life at 6 p.m. Friday, May 15, 2020, at his residence.  

He was born August 22, 1979, in Van Wert, the son of Kim B. and Vicki (Perl) Snyder. His mother survives in Van Wert.  

Other survivors include his grandmother, Ange Dahling of Van Wert; his brother, Trinity (Theresa) Snyder of Convoy; a half-brother, Jordan Perl; his children, Sara Vogt, Lexi Snyder, and Arianna Snyder; a niece, Hailey Snyder; and two nephews, Trinity Snyder Jr. and Kyler Perl.

He was preceded in death by his father, Kim B. Snyder, and his parental grandparents, Hermie Snyder and Roxie Grieshaber.

Mr. Snyder was employed in the sanitation business.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic there will be no funeral or visitation.  Services are planned for a later date.

Arrangements by Brickner Funeral Home in Van Wert.

Condolences may be expressed at or emailed to

POSTED: 05/21/20 at 5:09 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Brian Taylor Bess, 52, passed away Wednesday, May 13, 2020. 

Brian Taylor Bess

He was born December 23, 1967, in Seoul, South Korea, then emigrated with his mother, Kelly Bess (Ok Cha Kim), who preceded him in death, and father Paul Stephen Bess, who was then serving in the U.S. Army. His father survives.

Brian studied organizational leadership at Purdue University at Fort Wayne, Indiana, after his three-year service in the army. He worked for 16 years for SRK/DTR Industries. 

Brian is survived by his 2-year old daughter, Aubrey Brianna Bess; and her mother, Amber G. Henninger; a sister Linda Ruth Bess; his aunt and uncle, Charlene and the Rev. Jan D. Brumbaugh; one cousin, Stephanie Ruth Brumbaugh; and many relatives from South Korea.

Private services will be held at noon Tuesday, May 26, at Cowan & Son Funeral Home in Van Wert. Public services will be via Livestream and later posted online by the family. Burial will follow in Woodland Cemetery in Van Wert, with military honors rendered. 

Visitation is an hour prior to services Tuesday at the funeral home. Ohio Department of Health guidelines, such as facial coverings and social distancing, must be observed. 

Send flowers, donations, and sentiments to the funeral home.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/21/20 at 4:29 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Eldon Lynn Habegger, 82, of Convoy, passed away Monday evening, May 18, 2020, at his residence.

Eldon Lynn Habegger

He was born May 19, 1937, in Decatur, Indiana, the son of Eldon Huser Habegger and Dolores (Book) Habegger-Reichard, who both preceded him in death. Eldon was united in marriage with the former Carolyn A. Newman on August 18, 1956, in Lima, and she passed away April 1, 2016.

Eldon served his country in the United States Army National Guard for 10 years and earned the rank of staff sergeant. He was a 1955 graduate of Willshire High School. 

Eldon and his business partner, Royce Cantrell, operated a flooring installation company in Southern California. He retired in 2008 as founder of Habegger Floors in Decatur.

Eldon was a member of Willshire Union United Methodist Church in rural Decatur and was a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow. He was also a member of the American Coach Association.

Eldon enjoyed woodworking in his spare time.

He is survived by his daughter, Jolene (Bryan) Spray of Van Wert; a son, Lynn (Patti) Habegger of Bluffton, Indiana; a daughter, Jayne Habegger of San Jacinto, California; a daughter, Evelyn (Matthew) Hammond of Decatur; a daughter, Rhonda Habegger of Decatur; one brother, Daniel Reichard of Vichy, Missouri; 12 grandchildren, Jennifer and Allison (Corey Purvis) Spray; Matthew (Samantha Estep) Habegger, Eric (Kim) Habegger; Patrick Habegger, Melissa (Cyle) Alverson, Michael Metz, Christie (Kiel) Dager, Michael Hammond, Jessica (Anthony) Bertsch, Clayton and Koryn Foss; and seven great-grandchildren, Caydyn, Haydon, Chloe, Maddix Eldon, Carter, McKinley, and Calvin Wrynn.

Eldon was preceded in death by a brother, James Habegger; a stepbrother, Eugene Reichard; and his stepfather, John Reichard.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 24, at Zwick & Jahn Funeral Home in Decatur, with Pastor Bud Larimore officiating. Military honors will be rendered by American Post 43. Social distancing will be followed at the public service.

Family will receive friends from 1-3 and 5-8 p.m. Saturday, May 23, and an hour prior to services Sunday at the funeral home. 

Due to guidelines established by the State of Indiana in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, up to 25 people will be allowed in the funeral home at a time.

Preferred memorials: Willshire-Union United Methodist Church.

POSTED: 05/20/20 at 11:14 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Kristine A. Breisch, 44, of Decatur, Indiana, passed away at 4:03 p.m. Friday, May 15, 2020, at her residence after a brief illness.

Kristine A. Breisch

She was born December 18, 1975, in Van Wert, the daughter of Larry and Carol (Miller) Wilkin, who both survive in Van Wert. On October 31, 2013, Kristine married the love of her life, Todd Breisch, who also survives in Decatur,

A 1994 graduate of Van Wert High School, Kristine went on to earn her nursing degree from Northwest State Community College.  She worked for a time as an LPN before becoming a care taker at Bi-County Services, Inc. of  Adams and Wells Counties.

A lover of antiques, Kristine was co-owner, with her husband, of K&T’s Relics. She could often be found selling her wares at the flea markets or attending auctions. 

Other survivors include her stepchildren, Michael Breisch of Decatur and Anthony Breisch of Portland, Indiana; and a brother, Andrew Wilkin of Glenn Wood Springs, Colorado.  

While family and friends are invited to attend Kristine’s graveside service at 3 p.m. Friday, May 22, in Woodland Cemetery in Van Wert, those who are at most risk or those feeling sick are asked to remain home. Attendees are asked to observe social distancing and refrain from hugging, kissing, shaking hands, and close contact.

A live webcast and video recording of her service will be viewable after 3 p.m. Friday at

Preferred memorials: To the family.

Call 419.238.1112 or go to to express condolences.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert.

POSTED: 05/18/20 at 3:57 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Phyllis Rose Marie Beair, 79, of Delphos, died 2:38 p.m. Saturday, May 16, 2020, at her residence.  

Phyllis Rose Marie Beair

She was born May 17, 1940, in Delphos, the daughter of Lloyd Robert and Leona Alvera (Purdy) Butler, who both preceded her in death. On February 13, 1960, she married Ira Leroy Beair, who died November 22, 2019.

She is survived by three sons, Rick (Lori) Beair of Van Wert, Douglas (Peggy) Beair of Rockford, and Thomas Beair of Delphos; four grandchildren, Devin Beair, Taylor Beair, Job Beair, and Rachael Beair; seven siblings, Lloyd (Barb) Butler and Don (Ima) Butler, both of Continental, Darlene (Jerry) Howard and Bev (Russ) Agner, both of Oakwood, Carol Barnhart of Van Wert, and Sue (Art) Hoehn and Marlene Butler, both of Delphos.

A son, Mike Beair; two sisters: Betty Butler and Patty Butler; and a brother-in-law:  Jim Barnhart, also preceded her in death.

Phyllis was a homemaker and was a member of the Delphos Eagles.

Due to the restrictions regarding public gatherings, a private funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, at Love-Heitmeyer Funeral Home, Jackson Township, with Chaplain Larry Oberdorf officiating. Burial will follow in Antioch Cemetery, Ottoville. 

A visitation will be held from noon until the time of services Tuesday at the funeral home. 

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 05/18/20 at 10:37 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

David W. Gilbert, 71, of Van Wert, passed away peacefully Friday, April 24, 2020, in Chesapeake, Virginia. He was surrounded by loving family.

David W. Gilbert

Born in Van Wert on June 1, 1948, to Dale and Marianne (Robinson) Gilbert, who both preceded him in death, Dave spent his youth in Van Wert and graduated from Van Wert High School in 1966.  

Dave was a true American patriot. He joined the United States Navy just one week shy of his 18th birthday. He proudly served two tours to Vietnam aboard the USS Okinawa

He was honorably discharged after three years of active duty service and continued to serve in the Naval Reserve for nearly three additional years.

After his naval service, Dave worked as a supervisor for Teleflex, where he worked for 20 years. He eventually retired as a supervisor from Bhar Inc. of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He was well known for, and took great pride in, taking care of his people. Many of his closest friends were, at some point in time, his co-workers. He truly enjoyed making others laugh. 

Dave was a longtime member of both American Legion Post 178 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5803 in Van Wert. He also enjoyed spending the holidays with his family in Virginia Beach and Van Wert, golfing, playing cards, watching game shows on TV, compulsively obsessing over every detail, and spending time at his camper where he had many friends. He spent his last month at home accepting visitors, reminiscing, and being showered with love and affection by those closest to him.

He was preceded in death by his twin brother, Donald.  

He is survived by his sister, Connie Francis of Meansville, Georgia; a son, Keith (Trisha) Gilbert of Port Richey, Florida; one daughter, Jennifer (Chris) Gemmer of Chesapeake, Virginia; five grandchildren, Austin (Haley) McNeilan, Andrew Gilbert; Tyler (Lee’Hannah) McNeilan, Brooke Gemmer, and Leigha Gilbert; and five great-grandchildren, Brodie, Kaizer, Aurora, Carter, and Dakota. In addition, he is survived by his longtime girlfriend, Melinda Trinosky of Van Wert, and her children, Jennifer (Brandon) Hundley, Stephanie Fannon, and Melissa Fannon; and grandchildren Justice Glossett, Liberty Dickerhoof, Trinity Story, Alexavier Mason, Serenity Fannon, and Jevin Moton.

Patriotic, loud, and comedic, Dave, will be dearly missed by many. He cherished a life filled with much love and laughter. And in true Dave style, we will have a back-up to the back-up.  

A graveside memorial service with military honors will be held at Woodland Cemetery in Van Wert at 10 a.m. Friday, July 3, to be followed by a celebration of his life from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at American Legion Post 178 in Van Wert.  

Preferred memorials: Community Health Professionals or The Angel Foundation of Van Wert.

POSTED: 05/13/20 at 11:35 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries