George F. Ackerman, 83, of Oregon, OH passed peacefully into the presence of Jesus Christ on Saturday, August 23, 2014, at his home with his four sons and loving family by his side.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Elaine; parents, George and Elsie; daughter, Kay; brothers, Harold and Jim, and sister, Dorothy Bauer. His father George R. died 62 years ago to the day, and was instrumental in starting the family farm equipment business in 1939.
George is survived by sons, Paul (Kathy), Mark (Debra Ann), Kurt (Beth) and Glen; eleven grandchildren, two great grandsons and sister, Ruth Cummerow, as well as numerous nephews, nieces and cousins.
George was born on August 20, 1931, at the family farm, Corduroy and Coy Rds. in Oregon. He graduated from Clay High School in 1949, serving as class President and District V.P. of the Ohio Future Farmers of America.
On October 10, 1953, George married Elaine Louise Helmke. They were married for over 59 years.
George farmed with his two brothers until 1958. From that point on, he custom sprayed vegetable crops for local farmers and operated the George F. Ackerman Co. on Bury Rd., which sold and serviced specialized fruit and vegetable machinery including spraying, irrigation, harvesting and packing equipment. In 1969, he expanded the business by distributing tomato harvesting and related equipment. The business grew, necessitating a move in 1980 to the current location in Curtice, OH. He served as the company's President until 2006. In 1989, he diversified with the addition of Ackerman Industrial Equipment, doing business as a Nissan forklift dealership.
George was well respected by his customers and people associated with the tomato industry in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. He contributed much to the Mid-America Food Processors Association. He was honored to receive the Tomato Achievement Award by his peers in 1991, which recognized his outstanding service to the tomato industry. He was awarded the distinguished H.D. Brown Food Processing Person of the Year award in 1995, as well as awards for distinguished service to the Ohio Vegetable and Potato Growers Association and received Purdue University's Romanowski award for Cooperation and Excellence to the Mid-America Tomato Industry.
George served on the Board of Directors for the Ohio-Michigan Equipment Distributors Association from 1990-1997, and served as President 1995-1996.
He was elected to the Oregon School Board in 1958, and served as President from 1960-1961, and was instrumental in the development of both Fassett and Eisenhower Middle Schools. George was active in the Toledo Swiss Singers and sang in the First St. John Lutheran Church choir for 60 years. George was active in the Oregonians, where he served as a vice-president, and was a past President of the Oregon Chamber of Commerce from 1976-77. George and Elaine established a Clay High School Agricultural Scholarship fund to assist students pursuing careers in agriculture.
In 2010, George received the Outstanding Citizen Award from the Curtice Community Club "for setting an example for all of us."
George's entrepreneurial spirit and generosity to his family and community were defining characteristics of his life and will be his legacy. He liked to be the life of the party and had a good sense of humor. He enjoyed bringing people together to see familiar faces and have a good time. He was a great man and will be missed by many.
Special thanks go to George's at-home caregivers and Hospice of Northwest Ohio who provided excellent care.
Visitation will be held at Eggleston Meinert & Pavley Funeral Home, Oregon Chapel, 440 S. Coy Rd., on Wednesday from 4:00-8:00 p.m. and Thursday from 2:00-8:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held at First St. John Lutheran Church, 2471 Seaman Rd. in Toledo on Friday at 10:30 a.m., where the family will greet friends beginning at 9:30 a.m. Interment will be in the church cemetery. A luncheon will follow. Memorials in George's memory may be given to First St. John Lutheran Church, The Gideon's International or First Alliance Church.
Eggleston Meinert & Pavley
440 S. Coy Road
Oregon, OH 43616
Published in Toledo Blade on Aug. 26, 2014