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Jean Ruth and Richard Lee DeWine

News Death Notice

DeWINE, Jean Ruth (Liddle) DeWINE, Richard (Dick) Lee Jean Ruth (Liddle) DeWine (83) passed away on October 28, 2008 at home in Yellow Springs, OH. Her husband of 65 years, Richard (Dick) Lee DeWine (85) passed away shortly after on November 1, 2008, also at their home. For many years, they were the owners of DeWine Seeds and the Ohio Twine Company in Yellow Springs. Jean was born on June 16, 1925, in Princeton, NJ, to Dr. Albert W. and Ruth P. Liddle. Dick was born on February 18, 1923 in Yellow Springs to George and Alice DeWine. Jean's family moved to Yellow Springs when she was two years old, after her father, who was a professor of literature, accepted a teaching position at Antioch College. When Dick was 17 and still in high school, his best friend went away for the summer and asked Dick to look after his girlfriend -- who happened to be 15 year-old Jean Liddle. Dick did -- and he and Jean were inseparable forever after. They married on September 2, 1943, when Jean was 18 and Dick was 20. After marrying, Dick and Jean lived in Sabina, OH. At just 18, Dick had started running the grain elevator there until he went into the U.S. Army as a Private in 1944. As a member of K Company, he fought in World War II, seeing combat in France, Germany, and Austria. Dick and his Company were sent to the Dachau concentration camp shortly after it was liberated in spring 1945. Throughout his life, he never forgot the horrific things that they saw there. He also never forgot the men with whom he served, having maintained friendships that spanned six decades. When Dick was discharged from the Army in 1946, he returned to Jean in Yellow Springs and joined his parents' seed business. In time, he would run it. With Jean right there working at the front desk, they turned the company from a local feed, coal, and seed business into an international trading giant and the country's leading exporter and importer of seed grains and grasses. Dick was a brilliant negotiator, trader, dealmaker, and investor, who built DeWine Seeds and the Ohio Twine Company on close personal relationships -- whether they were with local farmers, seed dealers, elevator operators, or international businessmen. These relationships, which he maintained until his death, allowed him to keenly understand the markets and to gather information to make trades and deals across the country and around the world in places as different as Uruguay, Poland, and Ireland. In January 1947, Dick and Jean's son Richard Michael (Mike) DeWine was born. Dick and Jean were devoted, loving parents, who taught Mike about life by their own example. Dinner table conversations in the DeWine home covered many topics, including current affairs and politics. Both Dick and Jean were always interested in politics. In the early 1960's, Jean began writing a weekly column in the local Yellow Springs News, articulating a conservative viewpoint -- a position that was not especially mainstream in Yellow Springs. She titled her column, "A View from the Right," and wrote it for a number of years with wholehearted support and encouragement from her husband and son. In 1959, Dick and Jean built a home on 24 acres on the edge of Yellow Springs. They spent years converting a pasture field on the property into a mosaic of grape vines; berry thickets; vegetable and flower gardens; and fruit, nut, and stately trees. It was here that Dick and Jean, who were extremely involved in the lives of their eight grandchildren (and eventually 11 great-grandchildren), put their grandchildren to work as they were growing up, teaching them how to weed; paint fences; prune trees; pick apples, cherries, and raspberries; and mow grass. Dick and Jean were both extraordinary teachers, who taught their grandchildren how to enjoy hard work and appreciate a job well done. After selling the seed business, Dick and Jean began to buy farmland. Having been involved in agriculture his whole life, Dick especially loved the land. They loved to travel to Ireland to visit the places from which Dick's ancestors had emigrated to Yellow Springs in the 1840s. Dick and Jean were also very active in their support of Father Tom Hagan and his organization Hands Together, who run the Becky DeWine School (named after their deceased granddaughter) in the poorest slum in Haiti. Over three years ago, Dick was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which he battled heroically. Jean was always there for him. The two were inseparable, sharing over 65 years of marriage. (Continued next column)
Published in Dayton Daily News from Nov. 2 to Nov. 3, 2008
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