The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2023

Obituaries can be emailed to The Van Wert independent no longer accepts no-cost death notices. As of February 1, 2023, the cost of full obituaries will be $85 (including a photo). Local funeral homes are billed for full obituaries, while out-of-town funeral homes can also be billed, if so requested. Obituaries submitted by individuals must be paid in full prior to publication. The Van Wert independent accepts credit cards by telephone from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Monday-Friday at 419.238.1220. 

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

Suzie Schlosser, 55, of Delphos, passed away unexpectantly surrounded by her family on Tuesday evening, March 28, 2023, at Mercy Health St. Rita’s.

She was born August 13, 1967, in Indiana and was adopted by Earl and Connie (Sipe) Miller, who both preceded her in death. She married Lynn E. Schlosser July 14, 2001, and he survives in Delphos.

Suzie Schlosser

Suzie is also survived by two sons, Wyatt (Trista) Saam of Van Wert and Dylan (Beth Yates) Schlosser of Melrose; a daughter, Sheena Sellers of Ottoville; four grandchildren, Noah, Luke, Ella and Remi; a brother, David (Shelly) Miller of Ohio City; a niece, Bella Chorvas and two nephews, Sonny Chorvas and Brandon (Stephanie Rosebrock) Miller. She is also survived by many aunts and uncles especially her Aunt Pam Osborn of Van Wert; and her grandmother, Alice Sipe of Wilshire whom she thought the world of.

She was also preceded in death by her grandfather, Bob Sipe; and an uncle, Greg Sipe.

Suzie worked at Federal Mogul (Tenneco) for 31 years in the teflon and pinion departments. She was exceptionally proud of her son, Wyatt, and was looking forward to watching him marry Trista this October. Suzie enjoyed purse bingos, trips to Shipshewana, shopping, playing with her granddog, Hershey and spending any free time with her husband. She will be missed tremendously by everyone that loved her.

A memorial visitation will be from 2-6 p.m. Sunday, April 2 at Weber Funeral Home, Delphos.

Preferred memorials: Van Wert County Humane Society.

Online condolences may be shared at

POSTED: 03/29/23 at 2:13 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Barry A. Crone, 69, of Van Wert passed away at 5:15 a.m. Monday, March 28, 2023, at Vancrest Healthcare Center.

He was born on May 5, 1953, to Donald and Helen (Tribolet) Crone, who both preceded him in death. Barry was married to his wife Lesley (Caulfield) for 50 years.

Barry Crone

Family survivors include one son, Jason (Kasandra) Crone; one daughter, Tamara (Joe) Bruns; three granddaughters, Lindsey (Andrew) Whitcomb, Lilly Crone and Bella Bruns; four step-grandchildren, Tyler Lautzenheiser, Jared Lautzenheiser, Gavin McMichael and Ryley Rohrbacher; a brother, Brent Crone; mother in law, Brenda Caulfield; nephews, Bret (Ekta) Prybylski and Dylan (Amanda)Koch; nieces, Stacie (Matt) Lautzenheiser, Susan (Paul) McDaniel, Lisa (Donnie) Sigman and Megan Prybylski; great nephew, Nolan Sigman; great nieces, Gretchen and Ella Sigman; brother in law, Neville (Kathy) Caulfield; sister in laws, Gwen (Hank) Prybylski, Jill (Craig) Koch; and his Van Wert Propane family of over 45 years, Bonnie (Kim) Hoverman and Travis (Jodi) Knittle.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, March 31, at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory, Van Wert, with Rev. Stuart Wyatt, officiating. Visitation will be held from 1-3 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, preferred memorials: Van Wert County Relay for Life or the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Online condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 03/28/23 at 3:48 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Joan K. Kiehl, 74, of Van Wert passed away on Monday, March 27, 2023, at Hearth & Home of Van Wert.

She was born on July 1, 1948, in Van Wert, the daughter of Byron Wermer and Carma (Marshall) Wermer, who both preceded her in death. She married Raymond G. Kiehl December 30, 1967, and he survives in Van Wert.

Joan Kiehl

Family survivors include her son, Alan J. (Vickie) Kiehl of Westerville; one grandson, Brady G. (Lindsey) Kiehl of Baltimore, Maryland; three step-grandchildren, Alex Morrow, Andrew (fiance Charleigh) Morrow and Jordan (Jack) Miller all of Westerville; one great-grandson, Baylor Kiehl of Baltimore; three brothers, Randy Wermer of Convoy, Jerry (Jill) Wermer of Van Wert and Jeff (Lori) Wermer of Convoy, and one sister, Janice Wermer of Convoy.

Joan was a 1966 graduate of Crestview High School and was a member of St. Paul’s Church, Harrison Township. She retired from Parker-Hannifin Corporation in New Haven and was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Post 178 in Van Wert.

A memorial service will be held at 12 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at St. Paul’s Church, Harrison Township, with Pastor Steve Drake officiating. There will be calling hours 11:00 a.m. until time of services on Saturday. Interment with take place at I. O. O. F. Cemetery, Convoy at 3:30 p.m. also on Saturday.

In lieu of flowers, preferred memorials: St. Paul’s Church.

Expressions of sympathy may be forwarded at, Tribute Wall.

POSTED: 03/28/23 at 1:33 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Winifred Frey, 98, passed away Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Decatur, Indiana.

Winifred and her twin brother Fred were born near Glenmore on December 27, 1924, to Charles L. and Mary Anna (Jones) Voltz. Fred passed away January 31, 1929.

After graduating from Wren High School, Winifred attended Iowa State University, earning a degree in foods and nutrition. She became a registered dietician following an internship at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati.

Winifred Frey

She was helping out in her father’s elevator in Wren when her future husband came in looking for a job – and she gave him one for life. Winifred and Lloyd C. “Bud” Frey married on July 20, 1950, and lived and worked in Arlington, Virginia and Kodiak, Alaska, before returning to Ohio to spend the rest of their lives farming near Willshire. They were blessed with four children, Angeline (Jerry) Buckles of Fort Wayne, Moira Rose (Donald Swanson) Frey of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Valerie (Virgil) Baird of Waterville, and Daniel Christian (Jennifer) Frey of rural Willshire.

Winifred enjoyed teaching and read to her children constantly. When her children were finally all in school, she went “pro” for a few years, teaching home economics at Parkway Junior High School in Willshire, then she returned to full-time farm homemaking.

The family attended Winifred’s childhood church, Bethel E.U.B., where she taught Sunday school. When Bethel closed, Winifred faithfully attended Willshire and then Union United Methodist churches, continuing to teach and leading an active church life. In recent years she turned her teaching skills to giving short inspirational and humorous talks at church.

Winifred was a very active lifelong member of the Order of Eastern Star, having joined Hyler Chapter, Ohio City. She held many local and district offices over a span of more than 75 years, serving most recently as secretary of Van Wert Chapter. Her records were meticulous and her minutes elegantly written.

Family and friends have appreciated Winifred’s thoughtful messages in cards and letters over the years. Her many nieces and nephews will also recall Aunt Jim’s dab hand at making pies – a skill honed in her early years cooking for haying crews. Jim loved to sing and literally whistled as she worked around the house. She enjoyed gardening and road trips and was an avid reader, working through the unabridged journals of Lewis and Clark last year, then immediately undertaking to read the complete Sherlock Holmes, all while keeping up with several periodicals including a weekly news magazine and the local papers.

Winifred was predeceased by her parents and all nine of her siblings, Maryhelen Barnes, Amy “Betty” Huls, Mae Neate, Alice Etter, Carl Voltz, LoAnn Baxter, Fred Voltz, Ivan Voltz and Alfred Voltz; her husband Bud, who passed away March 17, 1998, followed by his brothers Wayne, Robert, Charlie, Jim, Keith and Rodger, and son-in-law Donald Swanson, who died in 2009.

Loving survivors include all four children; brother-in-law John (Kathy) Frey of Utah; sister-in-law Mary Frey (Richard) Butler of Virginia; and numerous nieces and nephews scattered throughout the country. Grandchildren being gifts from God in compensation for growing old, Winifred was well rewarded with six surviving grandchildren, Nikki Bullins, Ian (Kim) Buckles, Sharley (Derick) Blake, Samuel (Erika) Frey, Virginia (Chase) Palagi, and Heather (Jeremy) Schweinsberg. She is also survived by 11 great-grandchildren, Gabe and Molly Younker, Emily Hussey. Cooper and Elcey Blake. Oaklynn Frey, Sawyer Palagi, and Bentley, Jaxson, Trenton and Lamont Schweinsberg.

Throughout her long life as daughter, sister, aunt, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend, Winifred remained steadfast and true to herself. While we mourn her physical absence, her impact on our lives means she is truly with us forever.

Visitation and all services will be held at Cowan & Son Funeral Home, Van Wert. Family and friends may visit 3-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 29 and one hour prior to the funeral at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 30, with Pastors Bud Larrimore and Gary Ginter officiating. Interment will follow at Woodland Cemetery, Van Wert. Order of Eastern Star services will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 29.

The family suggests memorials to Union United Methodist Sunday School, Monroe, Indiana; Shriners Hospitals for Children; Wren EMS, or the Adams Memorial Hospital, Decatur, Indiana.

Online condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 03/27/23 at 8:37 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Courtney Sue Trammell, 29, of Van Wert, passed away unexpectedly at Van Wert Health ER on Tuesday evening, March 21, 2023.

She was born on November 29, 1993, in Lima, to Kenneth W. and Cindy (Noggle) Trammell.

Courtney Trammell

Courtney was a 2012 graduate of Crestview High School and worked at Danfoss for the past six years. A devoted mother, Courtney loved spending every moment she could with her son. She also enjoyed visiting with her family and being the best aunt to her nieces.

She is survived by her son, Trayson Lampy of Van Wert; parents, Kenneth W. and Cindy Trammell of Convoy; sister, Karlee Trammell of Van Wert; nieces, Kenslee and Rosalee; grandmother, Jo Ann Noggle of Haviland; uncles, James Trammell of Tennessee, and David (Amy) Noggle of Payne, as well as several cousins.

Courtney was preceded in death by her grandparents, Roy Noggle, Hilda Trammell, Wallace Trammell, and her uncle, Darrell Borroff.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 28, at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home, Van Wert, with Pastor Monica Kleman officiating. Interment will follow in Blue Creek Cemetery, Haviland. Family and friends will be received from 3-7 p.m. Monday, March 27, and again one hour prior to the funeral on Tuesday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, preferred memorials: to the family for the continued care and future education of her son, Trayson.

To share in Courtney’s online memorial, visit

POSTED: 03/24/23 at 5:40 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Shirley (Mamasan) DeSanto, 87, of Sevierville, Tennessee, passed away during the early morning hours of Sunday, March 12, 2023. She was in her Nashville family home and was surrounded by her grandchildren. 

Her personal battle with cancer was her own decision. Her immediate family knew little or nothing about it. Her decision was to live on as long as she could on her own terms. 

Shirley DeSanto

“I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7 

She was born in Celina, Ohio, December 5, 1935, to Robert Roth and Ferry Roth Walters, who both preceded her in death.  

Shirley worked all of her life and retired from retail management at the age of 74. In her retirement she was able to do her favorite things, hang out with her family and read books. She said “as a little girl all I wanted to do was climb up in the hay loft for peace and quiet and escape in a good book.” 

She was the mother of a son, Kim Anthony DeSanto; a daughter, Cynthia Jo DeSanto, and grandmother to Ashley DeSanto.  

She is survived by her family; her sister, Kittie Wise; her grandchildren, Chaim and Brittany Chavarria, Anthony and Tori DeSanto, and Same Lefkowitz; great-grandsons, Gavin DeSanto and Cruz Chavarria, and a great-granddaughter, Maleah DeSanto.  

There will be a gathering of friends and family to celebrate Shirley’s life at a later date.  

POSTED: 03/24/23 at 8:37 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Jacob Earl Gall, 65, of Van Wert, passed away at home surrounded by all his children on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.

Jacob Gall

Jake was born on April 2, 1957 to the late Richard Oscar and Earlen Elizabeth (Spencer) Gall in Lima, OH. On May 21, he married the late Sonya (Evans) Gall.

Jake and Kathryn Armentrout of Lima had three children, Rebecca (Steven) Rode of Van Wert, Domonick Gall of Ohio City and Kari Gall of Celina. He has three additional daughters with the late Sonya Gall; Tabatha Gall of Van Wert, Kalynn (Aaron) Snyder of Van Wert, and Tiffany (Joshua) Kenyon of Delphos. One God daughter, Kris Waldron of Van Wert. He’s also survived by 19 grandchildren with one great grandchild on the way and four sisters, Charlotte Spencer, Suzanne Spencer, Patricia Bradford and Wilma Tallman.

Jake loved being outdoors, fishing, working on vehicles, mowing and gardening. He was also a member of multiple pool leagues in younger years. Jake recently retired from Eagle Print in Delphos. Jacob was very loved by all of his family and friends.

There will be a visitation from 1:00-3:30 p.m. followed by his funeral service at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at Thomas E. Bayliff Funeral Home in Spencerville with Pastor Bryan Harruff officiating. Memories may be shared and viewed by visiting

POSTED: 03/22/23 at 3:45 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Frederick M. Strawser, 76, of Coldwater, Michigan, passed away Tuesday, March 14, 2023, at Lutheran Hospital in Ft. Wayne.

He was born February 17, 1947, to Marion and Wilma (Heffley) Strawser in Cloverdale. Fred married Linda K. Boroff March 22, 1965,in Decatur, Indiana, and she survives.

Fred Strawser

Fred had been employed with BF Goodrich Tire for the length of his career until his heath no longer permitted him to do so. He was a dedicated member of the East Ovid United Brethren Church, the Moose Lodge in Fremont, Indiana, and the Fraternal Order of Masons in Van Wert and lastly the Masonic Lodge in Kinderhook, Michigan, until its closure. He was fun-loving man that enjoyed fishing, socializing with friends, and above all, spending time with his family and grandchildren.

In addition to his wife Linda, Fred leaves behind his children James (Holly) Strawser of Scott and Sherry (Brad) Graham of Van Wert; his siblings Joyce Baker of Haviland, and Clay Strawser of Scott; his grandchildren, Tara Manson, Megan Strawser, Erin Angel, Mason (Brooke) Webster, and Tiffany Webster; 16 great-grandchildren; his many loving nieces and nephews; close friends (Jeff) Tammy Agler, and his beloved dog Luke.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Lillian English, and his brother-in-law Glen Baker.

In accordance to his wishes, cremation has taken place and a celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Dutcher Funeral Home in Coldwater.

POSTED: 03/15/23 at 7:02 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Janet Fraters, 78, passed away on the morning of Monday, March 12, 2023, at St. Rita’s Hospital in Lima.

She was born October 23, 1944, in Norfolk, Virginia, and was raised by her mother, Winnie (Phillips) Morgan, who preceded her in death.

Janet was a fierce, strong independent woman who raised her five children as a single mother. Her strong faith in God gave her strength and joy to persevere throughout her life. Janet was an avid reader and kept meticulous records of the books she read each year. She kept journals and saved them all.

Janet Fraters

Janet enjoyed many crafts, she crocheted and did needle work. She made many treasured Christmas ornaments for her family members and was famous for her cute crochet topped hand towels. She enjoyed traveling to visit family and made several road trips with family.

She is survived by her children, Brenda (Troy) Mitchell of Fort Worth, Texas, Becky (Michael) Copas of Miller City, George (Kryket Cunningham) Fraters of Van Wert, Jennifer (David) Heyn of Fort Wayne, and Sandra (Jim) Barnes of Northwood; siblings, Peggy Morgan of Van Wert, Richard (Nancy) Morgan of Iowa, Rick (Kathy) Morgan of Shadyside, and Donna (James) Stiffler of Van Wert; 20 grandchildren; 34 great grandchildren as well as several nieces and nephews.

In addition to her mother, Janet was preceded in death by her sister, Winnie Repka.

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 18, at Trinity Friends Church, Van Wert, with Pastor Matt McGovern officiating. Family and friends will be received 30 minutes prior to the service, from 3:30 to 4 PM, at the church.

Preferred memorials: American Cancer Society,

To share in Janet’s online memorial, visit

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

POSTED: 03/15/23 at 1:08 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Gary Lynn Thomas, 73, of Van Wert passed away Monday afternoon, March 14, 2023, at his residence.

He was born on November 10, 1949, in Van Wert, the son of Paul E. Thomas and Naomi R. (Oehlhof) Thomas, who both preceded him in death. He married the former Roberta L. Balyeat on August 24, 1973, and she preceded him in death on July 13, 2017.

Gary Thomas

Family survivors include his children, Brad Thomas of Van Wert, and Andrew Thomas of Van Wert; and two grandchildren, Gage Thomas and Kiersten Thomas.

Gary was a employee of Teleflex for over 40 years as a toolmaker. He proudly served his country and was a Vietnam Veteran as well as a VFW member. He participated in the 2014 Honor Flight to Washington D.C.

He volunteered at Lincolnview High School Boys and Girls Basketball for 42 years, driving both the game-day bus and video recording the games. In 2010, Gary was awarded the Paul Smith Service Award for his volunteer work. The award is given to the volunteer who serves his school’s athletic department with game-day behind the scenes work.

In retirement Gary enjoyed working outdoors and growing sweet corn with his son Brad to sell at Farmers Markets.

There will be a graveside service at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 16, at Tomlinson Cemetery with Pastor Dan Custis of New Life Fellowship officiating. Military honors will be conducted by the combined honor guard of the American Legion and V.F.W. Posts of Van Wert.

Online condolences may be expressed on the Tribute Wall at

POSTED: 03/14/23 at 12:43 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries