Walter H. Stinebaugh, 88, of Wapakoneta, died at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday, July 20, 2011, at the Wapakoneta Manor, surrounded by his family.
He was born on Oct. 22, 1922, in Auglaize County, the son of Oscar and Edith (Weadock) Stinebaugh, and they preceded him in death.
On Nov. 21, 1942, he married Jean (Cogan) Stinebaugh, and she preceded him in death on April 4, 2002.
He is survived by three children, Barbara (Jack) Haehn of Wapakoneta, Tina (Joe) Helmstetter of Wapakoneta and Ralph (Shelley) Stinebaugh of Hattiesburg, Miss.; 12 grandchildren, Tom (Michelle) Cole, Kimi (David) Brown, Kristina (Ray) Diederich, Kelly (David) Goff, Jenni Haehn, Andrea (Mike) Schmidt, Beth (Mike) Stinebaugh, Cristy (Chris) Stinebaugh, Ben (Naomi) Stinebaugh, Amy (Colby) Helmstetter, Tony (Amanda) Helmstetter and Amber (Colin) Helmstetter; 16 great-grandchildren, Brittany, Mallory, Natalie, Emily, Mackenzie, Ryan, Gavin, Nathan and Cameron Brown, Kayden Diederich, Abbi Brown, Gabrielle, Vaughn, Annika Schmidt, Liam and Lyla Helmstetter; a sister, Theresa Schipper of Botkins; a brother, John (Joan) Stinebaugh of Wapakoneta; a sister-in-law, Ilo Stinebaugh of Cridersville.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Herb Stinebaugh; a sister and brother-in-law, Mary Catherine “Kate” (Virgil Sr.) Kohler; a brother-in-law, Norb Schipper.
Walter had some German ancestors, but most were Irish. He was very proud of his Irish heritage.
He attended rural school through the sixth grade and then went to St. Joseph Catholic School, from which he graduated with honors in 1941. He loved carpentry and working with wood from a very early age. For his third birthday, he asked for a hammer and nails. He received these items and set about building footstools and wagons. He loved to sing and made his debut at age 3, when he performed, singing and playing toy guitar at a local Grange Hall meeting. He had a great work ethic, doing farm work when very small. He raised rabbits, which he dressed and sold. He also drove a milk route truck in high school.
The year after his graduation, he attended a Fryburg square dance, where he met the love of his life, Jean Cogan. They were married at St. Joseph Catholic Church the next fall, and at the time of her death, they were six months away from celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. The early years of their marriage were World War II years, and the young couple worked seven days a week at the Lima Locomotive Works.
Walter’s long-term dream of carpentry was finally realized in 1945. The couple purchased a home (108 Brighthorn Street), which was the catalyst that started Walter on the road of which became a long-time construction business, which eventually employed almost 100 employees.
The house was old and in disrepair. It did not have a furnace. Walter had always promised himself that he would provide his family with a furnace with central heating. He began to work on the remodeling of the home and the installation of a furnace. His friends and neighbors watched the progress as Walter was doing the work. They saw that he changed the floor plan and resided in the house. Impressed with his expertise, people began asking him if he would remodel their homes. Gradually, with the help of his brother, John, and Herman Roby, his efforts became a business in its own right, and he gave up the job at Lima.
Not long after his first daughter was born, they outgrew the humble home on Brighthorn, and plans were made to build a new home in the new subdivision called Oakwood Hills. The post war years were good for the Stinebaugh Company. Business was booming, and a construction office building was erected on North Street (presently the Bicycle Shop).
The Stinebaugh Lumber Company opened next door to the first building on May 23, 1953 (presently Uppenkamp Body Shop). Homes and commercial building were built all over Wapakoneta, Lima and many other cities. The home in Oakwood Hills was purchased by Ed and Doris Stroebel in 1960, and a new home was built on Glynwood Road at horse shoe bend. Interesting to note, the Stroebel home is now owned by Walter’s great-nephew, Tony, and Dawn Stinebaugh. The Stinebaughs lived at the Glynwood Road home until Jean passed away in 2002. At that time, Walter was in the Wapakoneta Manor due to a stroke he had in 1997. He resided there until his recent death.
Walter worked very hard, but he also knew how to have fun. He enjoyed action and adventure, including boats he owned that went over 100 mph, snowmobiles, deep sea fishing, salmon fishing on the great lakes, hunting big game and traveling all over the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and Cuba with Jean.
They entertained their many friends at their homes in Wapakoneta, Florida and Indian Lake. He loved parties with singing, dancing, country western, polka, Hawaiian music, and of course, Irish songs. His family was his priority, and he loved to share all the fun with them. When his first child, Barbara, went off to nursing school, Walter was devastated with the emptiness of their home. He and Jean (and Barbara) adopted a son and daughter, Ralph and Tina, who brought much joy to their lives. At this present day, he had three children, 12 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
Walter was a lifelong member of St. Joseph Catholic Church. He served as president of the Holy Name Society and the parish council. He was a member of the former Wapakoneta Elks and a Knights of Columbus 4th Degree, of St. Gaspar del Bufalo General Assembly in Minster. He served as president of the National Home Builders Association in the past. He also served on Wapakoneta City Council. He was a past president of the Wapakoneta Rotary Club and was a member of the Power Squadron.
Walter retired from his business in 1982. After many years in business, he was known for a great reputation of quality, custom homes. His business handled everything from the blueprints right down to the floor coverings, appliances and call back service if needed, even years later.
He took on unusual jobs such as taking the bell tower off the fire station in 1950. He was a prominent, well loved man with a very exciting life, until he met with illness in 1997. He will be missed and fondly remembered by his family and friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wapakoneta, with the Rev. Matthew Lee officiating. Burial will follow in the St. Joseph Cemetery.
The family will receive friends from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at the Bayliff and Eley Funeral Home, Ohio 501, Wapakoneta. Memorials may be directed to the St. Joseph Catholic Church Renovation Fund. Condolences may be expressed at Baylifandeleyfh.com.