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Harold Dreeze(1920-2012)

(NEWS ARTICLE) World War II veteran Harold "Hal" Dreeze, who completed his bachelor's degree at the University of Toledo 48 years after his studies were interrupted by his service in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific Theater, died Thursday at the Lutheran Village at Wolf Creek in Springfield Township.

He was 92 and died of natural causes, said his son Ken.

Mr. Dreeze was employed by Owens-Illinois Inc. as a draftsman in the glass container division for 43 years, retiring in 1982.

One of his primary tasks there was designing glass containers for Avon products, including fragrance bottles in the shapes of everyday objects that are sought after by collectors.

"He enjoyed his work immensely," his son Ken said. "Owens-Illinois was a very good company to work for."

As a youth, Mr. Dreeze enjoyed playing softball, and he continued to play on the O-I company team, said his son, who also played ball with a youth team the company established.

Mr. Dreeze was born Nov. 3, 1920, in Toledo to Elmer and Mabel Steuwe Dreeze.

He graduated from Libbey High School in 1938 and joined O-I a year later. He attended the University of Toledo until he was drafted in 1942.

Mr. Dreeze was an intelligence officer with the Army Air Corps, stationed in Saipan, the largest island of the Northern Mariana Islands. He participated in the air offensive against Japan as well as other campaigns.

His son said Mr. Dreeze was not part of a flight crew, but worked from the base. He left the Army as a sergeant and returned to his job with O-I.

Mr. Dreeze met his future wife, Bonita Crouse, in another division of the company and they were married in 1954. That marriage ended in divorce.

In 1968, he married Judith Brott, who survives. He married a third time, to Helen Robinson on May 2, 1992; she died in July, 2010.

After retiring from O-I, Mr. Dreeze took up a new career as a guard at the Toledo Museum of Art, where he spent 13 years. He retired from the museum in 2003.

"He really enjoyed that job. He was friends with everybody there," Ken Dreze said.

He also completed his degree work at the University of Toledo, receiving a bachelor's degree in history in 1990 at age 70.

In April, 2012, Mr. Dreeze joined other World War II veterans on an Honor Flight, after two years on the waiting list.

"He was really touched to go on that flight," said his son, who escorted his father on the one-day trip. "He had a very memorable time. He said he got more of a welcome coming back to Toledo than he did when he returned home from the war."

He was a longtime member of Olivet Lutheran Church and served as an usher, his son said.

He was a member of American Legion Post 335, the University of Toledo Alumni Association, the Owens-Illinois Golden Emblem Club, and the Sylvania Senior Center.

He was an avid golfer, a bowler, and he took up cross-country skiing when in his late 60s.

In retirement, he enjoyed traveling in his motor home with his wife, Helen.

Surviving are his sons, Ken, Thomas, and Martin; daughters Kim Rosin and Wendy Bub; 10 grandchildren, and a great-grandson.

Visitation will be from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Reeb Funeral Home, Sylvania. The funeral is at 11 a.m. Thursday, with viewing an hour before, at Olivet Lutheran Church, Sylvania.

Memorials are suggested to Olivet Lutheran Church.

Contact Jim Sielicki at: jsielicki@theblade.com or 614-724-6050.

Published in Toledo Blade on Dec. 24, 2012
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