The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Aug. 15, 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

Maxine R. Pond died Monday, August 10, at the Defiance Inpatient Hospice Center after a hard-fought battle with cancer.

Maxine R. Pond

Maxine was the oldest child, and only daughter, of Vernon O. and Ruth L. (Mosier) Pond. She was born March 27, 1937, and loved being a big sister to her three brothers.

Maxine graduated from Haviland High School and Defiance College. She went on to teach high school students for 31 years, mainly at Van Wert High School.  Maxine taught college government in the summer and loved traveling with her classes to Washington, D.C., every year. 

After retiring, Maxine felt the need to be around people. She worked many years at 4 Aces in Tillman, Indiana, and the Century Bar in Van Wert. Maxine’s last job was at Willow Bend Country Club. She loved her job and co-workers and made many friends. Everyone loved Maxine’s quick wit and her wonderful sense of humor.

Maxine is survived by her daughter, Laura; three brothers, Milford and Roger (Marianne Renz) Pond, both of Seal Beach, California, and Fred (Marcia) Pond of Scott; and her former husband Greg Stemen. Maxine was also an aunt to 14 nieces and nephews as well as many great nieces and nephews.  

Maxine was proceeded in death by an infant daughter, Nancy; her parents; and her former husband and Nancy and Laura’s father, Jim Jones.

Maxine choose to have no services. A celebration of Maxine’s life will be scheduled at a later date.  

Preferred memorials: Van Wert YWCA Domestic Violence program.

Condolences may be expressed at

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

POSTED: 08/13/20 at 2:35 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Judith Ann Sanderson, 74, of Grover Hill, passed away at 12:35 p.m. Thursday, August 6, 2020, at Community Health Professionals Inpatient Hospice Center in Defiance. 

Judith Ann Sanderson

She was born April 17, 1946, in Lima, the daughter of Woodrow W. and Claudeane C. (Wollet) Dotson, who both preceded her in death.

She was previously employed by Federal Mogul and was a beautician at her own shop, as well as at Van Wert Manor. She was formerly a member of the Lions Club and was very active in the Wayne Trace Boosters.

Judith truly enjoyed hair styling and especially the work she did with the clients at Van Wert Manor. She also loved the time spent with her family and grandchildren.

She is survived by two sons, Graig (Daphne) Sanderson and Chris (Holly) Sanderson; two brothers, John and James Dotson; three sisters, Carolyn Powell, Deb Dotson, and Donna Miller; six grandchildren, Bret (Adeline) Sanderson, Brenda (Cade) Mansfield, Brad (Michelle Young) Sanderson, Kara (Abe) Eddir, Hannah Sanderson, and Tyler Sanderson; four great-grandchildren, Remington and Noah Mansfield, James and Debra Sanderson; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews.

In addition to her parents, Judith was preceded in death by three sisters, Barbara McClure, Patricia Priest, and Mary Fast.

Judith will be interred privately in Middle Creek Cemetery in Grover Hill and services will be private.

Preferred memorials: CHP Hospice in Defiance or a church of the donor’s choice.

Condolences may be expressed at

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

POSTED: 08/11/20 at 10:07 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Debora J. Kramer, 57, of Van Wert, passed away at 11:57 p.m. Saturday, August 8, 2020, in the Van Wert Health Emergency Room. 

Debora J. Kramer

She was born July 27, 1963, in Toledo, the daughter of Albert Errett, who preceded her in death, and Mary Jane (Clink) Davis, who survives. On July 18, 1998, she married the love of her life, Larry Kramer.

A 1981 graduate of Parkway High School, Debora went on to serve in the United States Army. She worked for many years as a truck driver with Conrad’s Trucking and Freymiller Trucking before devoting her life to caring for her children and grandchildren.

With the gift of gab, Debora never met a stranger. She enjoyed shopping, doing crafts, and listening to music. She was an avid reader and had a huge collection of books. She loved animals, especially birds, and always looked forward to beach vacations. Debora adored her family and would always attend her grandchildren’s events.  

She is survived by her husband, Larry of Van Wert; two sons, Brad (Melissa) Kramer of Michigan and Larry (Jessica) Flory of Van Wert; five daughters, April Kramer of Van Wert, Rachelle Kramer of Cridersville, Jami Flory of Van Wert, Ashton Kramer of Indiana, and Autumn Vrabel of Toledo; two brothers, Jeffrey (Jennifer) Davis of Tennessee and Tim (Karin) Errett of Sandusky; 16 grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.  

She was preceded in death by her father, Albert Errett; her stepfather, JR Davis; and a brother, Mike Errett.

A memorial service will be help at 1 p.m. Saturday, August 15, at First United Methodist Church in Van Wert, with Pastor Chris Farmer officiating. 

Visitation is an hour prior to services at the church. 

Preferred memorials in Debora’s memory: Van Wert Animal Shelter

Condolences may be expressed at

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

POSTED: 08/11/20 at 9:59 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Beth Ann (Snyder) Ford, 73, of Van Wert, passed away Monday, August 3, 2020, at Van Wert Health. 

Beth Ann (Snyder) Ford

She was born December 6, 1946, in Van Wert, the daughter of Leon D. and Mary R. (Pollock) Snyder, who both preceded her in death. On June 12, 1965, she married J.C. Ford.

She was a member of Wesley United Methodist Church in Van Wert and was also a member of Phi Beta Psi Sorority. Beth was a graduate of Decatur (Indiana) High School in 1965. 

Beth worked for more than 20 years as a bank teller at First Federal Savings and Loan Association, retiring in 2014.

She was an Ohio State Buckeyes fan and also enjoyed UConn women’s basketball. Beth loved attending her nieces and nephews sporting events, loved cats, and spending time with her family.

Beth is survived by her husband of 55 years, J.C. Ford of Van Wert; a son, James A. “Tony” (Tammy) Ford of Van Wert; one daughter, Kelly M. Ford of Hamler; a brother, Mike (Connie) Snyder of Decatur; two sisters, Deborah Kay (Ken) Heyerly and Jo Witte, both of Decatur; a sister-in-law, Cindy S. Snyder of Geneva, Indiana; a stepgrandson, Derek Grandstaff; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by a brother, Jeffrey L. Snyder, and a brother-in-law, Jay Witte.

A private family memorial service will be held at Haggard-Sefton-Hirschy & Zelt Funeral Home in Decatur. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, August 15, in Woodland Cemetery in Van Wert, with Pastor Steve Austin officiating.

Preferred memorials: Phi Beta Psi Sorority.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 08/10/20 at 8:00 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

John Andrew Cowan, 47, of Van Wert, passed away at 9:25 a.m. Saturday, August 8, 2020, at Mercy Health in Lima.

John Andrew Cowan

He was born April 22, 1973, in Van Wert, the son of Beverley Jean (Camp) Cowan, who preceded him in death, and Philip M. Cowan, who survives in Van Wert.

Survivors include his six children, Tryston Cole, Thane David, Avery Claire, Ian Andrew, Caylin Ann, and Micah Philip; their mother, Renee (Haines) Cowan of Van Wert; two sisters, Laura C. (Christopher) Henkaline of Owasso, Oklahoma, and Nicole A. (David) Webb of Ann Arbor, Michigan; a brother, Benjamin A. (Amber) Cowan of Van Wert; John’s longtime friend, Heather Klausing of Van Wert; and nine nieces and nephews.

John was a 1991 graduate of Van Wert High School and attended Wheaton College and the Cincinnati School of Mortuary Science. He was a funeral director with Cowan & Son Funeral Home for 22 years. 

He had been a member of the board of Community Health Professionals, Elks Lodge, Van Wert Rotary Club, Century Club, and YMCA.

Visitation is from 3-7 p.m. Wednesday, August 12, at Cowan & Son Funeral Home in Van Wert. 

Preferred memorials: His children’s educational fund.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 08/09/20 at 12:07 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Connie Sue Johnson, 66, of Convoy, passed away at 1:58 p.m. August 7, 2020, at Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

Connie Sue Johnson

She was born October 15, 1953, in Van Wert, the daughter of Carl and Bonnie (Harter) Schaadt, who both preceded her in death. On June 27, 1980, she married the love of her life, Robert W. “Bob” Johnson. Together, they shared many years of memories.

Connie formerly owned and operated the Candy Bin in Van Wert for many years and retired from Central Insurance Companies in 2013 after 39 years. She was an incredible cook and enjoyed playing cards, gardening, sewing, quilting, and playing the slots at the casino. However, her favorite times were time spent with her family and friends. 

is survived by her husband, Bob Johnson of Convoy; three children, Chuck A. (Shawnee) Foehl of Indiana, Elizabeth R. (Travis) Rhoades of Swanton, and Michael R. Johnson of Decatur, Indiana; her stepmother, Marvel Schaadt of Portis, Kansas; four siblings, Doris (Ken) Kundert of Delphos, Marie (Mike) Sheets of Van Wert, Robin (Doyle) Sheets of Convoy, and Mark (Laura) Schaadt of Van Wert; three grandchildren, Avery and Megan Foehl and Courtney (Gary) Lyons; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. 

A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, August 12, at Gearhart-Sauer Funeral Home in Convoy, with the Rev. Wayne Kargas officiating. Burial will follow in IOOF Cemetery in Convoy.

Visitation is from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, August 11, and an hour prior to services Wednesday, all at the funeral home. Attendees are asked to observe social distancing, refrain from close physical contact, and wear facial coverings as required by state mandate.

Preferred memorials: Donor’s choice.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 08/09/20 at 12:04 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Mary Kathryn (Davis) Hargesheimer, 97, of Van Wert, passed away Wednesday morning, August 5, 2020, at Hearth and Home of Van Wert.

Mary Kathryn Hargesheimer

She was born October 16, 1922, in Union Township, Van Wert County, the daughter of Orel J. and Viola M. (Hessel) Davis, who both preceded her in death.  On July 17, 1948, she married Charles A. Hargesheimer, who also preceded her in death.

Mary graduated from Union High School and Bowling Green State University. She was a retired home economics and sociology teacher, having taught at Rockford, Willshire, Hoaglin-Jackson, and Paulding schools. She was a lifetime member of North Union United Methodist Church in rural Van Wert County. She was also a member of Van Wert County Church Women United, Van Wert County Retired Teachers Association, Van Wert County Historical Society, and the Van Wert County Genealogical Society.

Mary is survived by her daughters, Rose (David) Wherry of Van Wert, Vicky Racster of Van Wert, Wanda (Gary) Evans of Troy, and Rita (Charles) Kreinbihlof Findlay; 10 grandchildren, Kris Kill, Angela Plumley, Tim Racster, Steven Racster, David Racster, Bryan Long, Eric Long, Nathan Long, Laura Kreinbihl, and Marisa Kreinbihl; and seven great-grandchildren, Kenyon and Carolina Kill, Stella and Lincoln Plumley, and Case, Eli, and Gracelyn Racster.

An infant daughter, Dixie Sue Hargesheimer; three brothers, Ralph, Russel, and Jim Davis; a sister, Esther Painter; and two sons-in-law, Daniel Long and Rick Racster, also preceded her in death.

Due to current health concerns, a private service will be held in Woodland Cemetery in Van Wert.

Preferred memorials: North Union United Methodist Church or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Condolences may be expressed at

Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert is handling the arrangements.

POSTED: 08/06/20 at 1:32 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Lois Brann, 95, went to her Heavenly home on Sunday, August 2, 2020, at Van Wert Manor.  

Lois Brann

Lois was born September 5, 1924, in Lilly, Pennsylvania, the daughter of William and Alice (Hall) Carruthers, who both preceded her in death.

Lois graduated from Lilly Washington High School in Lilly, Pennsylvania.

Lois enjoyed crocheting, quilting, and reading. She spent many hours hand quilting and crocheting for the children and grandchildren — all gifts that will be cherished for many generations. She was rarely found without a needle or book in her hands.

In 1946, Lois married the love of her life, George Brann, who preceded her in death on November 5, 1981. Together, they raised their family in Eastlake. Lois retired from the City of Eastlake after many years as assistant finance director. After retirement, she moved to Van Wert to be near family.

Lois was a woman of faith and read her bible daily. She was a member of the former Bethel United Methodist Church and a current member of First United Methodist Church in Van Wert.

Lois is survived by her sons, George “Ric” (Peggy) Brann of Anson, Texas, and Ron (Marci) Brann of Stafford, Virginia, and her daughter, Judi (Jim) Loughrie of Van Wert. Lois is also survived by her grandchildren, Jim (Tracy) Loughrie of Mooresville, North Carolina, Rich Brann of Anson, Texas, Michael (Colleen) Brann of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Chris (Crystal) Brann of Coleman, Texas, Jeremy (Dawn) Brann of Avoca, Texas, Jeff (Kris) Loughrie of West Chester, Ron Brann of Stafford, Virginia, Dr. Corinne (Nate) Summers of Seattle, Washington, Jared Loughrie of Van Wert, Brandon (Emily) Brann of Tallahassee, Florida, and Alison (Ted) Brann of Maryland. She also leaves behind 25 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren, along with many very special nieces and nephews.

She was also preceded in death by her brothers, William, Ralph, Donald, and Kenneth Carruthers, and her sisters, Jean Carruthers, Esther Claar, Ethel Campagna, Dorothy Evon, and Margaret Bart.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, August 8, at First United Methodist Church in Van Wert, with the Rev. Chris Farmer officiating. A graveside committal will take place at 1 p.m. Monday, August 10, in Knollwood Cemetery in Mayfield Heights.

Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Friday, August 7, at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert, and an hour prior to services Saturday at the church. Attendees are asked to observe social distancing, refrain from close physical contact, and wear facial coverings as able, per state health department mandates.

Condolences may be expressed at

The family would like to thank Dr. Rebecca Adams and the staff at Van Wert Manor for their loving care of Lois.

POSTED: 08/04/20 at 3:10 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Mary L. Looser, 62, died Friday evening, July 31, 2020, as the result of a bicycle-automobile accident on Convoy Road.  

Mary L. Looser

She was born February 23, 1958, in Van Wert, the daughter of Richard and Barbara (Wilkie) Sowers, who both preceded her in death. On October 10, 1987, she married John S. Looser, who survives.

Other survivors include two daughters, Amanda (Josh) Rigdon of Delphos and Megan Elizabeth Looser at home; two siblings, Jim (Cathy) Sowers of Van Wert and Laura (Jerry) Koenig of Van Wert; four grandchildren, Trenton and Addison Ricker and Ryan and Delaney Rigdon; six nieces and nephews, Jackie (Bill) Evans and Steve Sowers, both of Van Wert, Britney (Cory) Richmond of Columbus, and Alena, Carsyn, and Jevan Looser, all of Middle Point; four great-nieces and nephews; and her brothers- and sisters-in-laws, Kerry (Mandy) Looser and Lisa (Andy) Colgan all of Middle Point.

Her father- and mother-in-law, John and Ann Looser; her aunts and uncles, William and Charlotte Wilkie and Marge and Dan Morris; and a cousin, John Morris, also preceded her in death.

Mary was a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Van Wert and the United Way of Van Wert County. She was a longtime employee of Eaton Corporation.  

Mary was an avid bicycle rider and gardener. She loved spending time in the kitchen and family time, especially going for ice cream on Thursday with the grandkids. She loved her four dogs and especially her grand-dog.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday, August 7, at Brickner Funeral Home in Van Wert, with Pastor Will Haggis officiating. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Ottoville.  

Visitation is from 2-7 p.m. Thursday, August 6, at the funeral home. Due to the present pandemic conditions masks and social distancing will be observed.

Preferred memorials: Education Fund of the Looser grandchildren, in care of Superior Credit Union.

Condolences may be expressed at or emailed to

POSTED: 08/04/20 at 10:45 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries

Mark L. Hanover, 70, of rural Rockford, passed away at 3:25 a.m. Monday, August 3, 2020, at Lima Memorial Hospital.

Mark L. Hanover

He was born November 16, 1949, in Bryan, the son of Margaret (Walton) Hanover, who survives in St. Marys, and the Rev. Marion L. Hanover, who preceded him in death. On May 29, 1971, he married the former Donna J. Dukes, who also survives in Rockford.

Other survivors include his three daughters, Leah (James) Jacobs of San Diego, California, Bethany (Andy) Gries of Perrysburg, and Adrienne (Steven) Varrato of Delaware; two granddaughters, Jocelyn and Emery Gries; three brothers, the Rev. Dr. Thomas (Cathy) Hanover of Delaware, Timothy (Cindy) Hanover of St. Marys, and Michael (Nancy) Hanover of Mayfield, Kentucky; and a sister, Christina “Tina” (Mark) Basinger of Ottawa.

Mark was a 1968 graduate of Liberty-Benton High School and attended Taylor University and Wright State University. He taught school at Ohio City-Liberty and then Crestview School for 37 years. He was a valued member of Blind Squirrel Missions Team for many years. He also enjoyed gardening and, in his earlier years, coaching.

The family will have a private memorial at a later date.

Preferred memorials: Donor’s choice.

POSTED: 08/04/20 at 9:54 am. FILED UNDER: Obituaries