The Krotzer Kids

Wayne Krotzer

These were Bonnie Jackson’s aunts and uncles.

The Clink-Krotzer union produced thirteen offspring, each of whom had full and varied lives. First daughter, Dorotha represents the direct link to Bonita Jackson, and will be discussed later. Below are thumbnail biographical summaries of her twelve siblings. There is no attempt to be complete here; these notes hopefully provide some context for the kind of family and social life Dorotha and her daughter might have had roughly in the years 1930 through 1960.

I have only the vaguest recollection of just a few of these individuals. I personally met a few and heard of the others in conversations; probably in the early 1950s. I recall Howard and John because we ate in their restaurants on a few occasions. And John was memorable to a little boy, of course, because he had just one arm.  Aunt Esther sticks in my mind because she looked so much like her sister, Dorotha, my grandmother. “Oppie,” Janette, and Rolly are just names I remember hearing.  Ruby passed away before I was born and I have no recollection at all of Robert or Paul.

Wayne W. Krotzer, Sr.

Wayne W. Krotzer, Sr. (1900-1973) worked at the Gibsonburg Gypsum Plant. He married Clara Bowe (1905-1992); they had four children. Wayne died in 1973 at age 73. His last child, Joanne, died in April of 2017 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. There’s a sad footnote to Wayne’s life. His grandson, U.S. Marine Lynn R. Krotzer (1950-1969) was killed in action in Vietnam in March of 1969, just two days after his 19th birthday.

Howard Dawson Krotzer

With bother, John, Howard Dawson Krotzer (1901-1954) operated the Garden Inn restaurant (5290 Monroe Street) in Toledo and before that, Howard’s Bungalow (on Chicago Pike).  He married Myrl Myrtle Mizner (1902-1976) in 1923; they had no children. Howard died in a car crash in March 1954 when his car struck a disabled semi from behind.

Susana “Susie” Belle Krotzer Sams Ollom

Susie Belle Krotzer (1904-1967) was born June 13, 1904, in Gibsonburg, Ohio.  She had no formal education. She married Clarence Leroy Sams (1900-1981), at age 17, already three-months pregnant with daughter, Dorothy Mae Sams (1921-2002). In 1924 she gave birth to twin sons, Harold R. Sams (1924-1987) and Robert L. Sams (1924-1997). Barely a year later, a fourth child, Howard Dawson Sams (1923-2004) was born. Susie divorced Mr. Sams and remarried, to Clarence Richard Ollom (1908-1961). She passed away in July of 1967, at age 62, in Waterville, and is buried in the Bradner Cemetery.

Esther A. Krotzer Foley

Esther A. Krotzer (1906-1980) married Emmet Eugene Foley (1897-1980) in 1926. Their daughter, Audrey June Foley (1926-2003), was born ten weeks later. They separated soon thereafter and eventually divorced.  She was a cook at Edith’s Restaurant and Lutz’s Inn in Gibsonburg. In declining health, she spent the last four years of her life in Columbus, Ohio, with her daughter, Audrey, who had become a police woman and eventually a judge. Esther died in April of 1980 at age 73. She is buried at Eisenhour Cemetery.

Robert Eastman Krotzer

Robert Eastman Krotzer (1908-1979) graduated from Gibsonburg High School where he was President of his 1927 senior class and captain of the football and track teams. He also acted in the Drama Club. At age 26 he was working as a signalman for the railroad. In May of 1934 married Viola Gracemeyer (1911-2004).  The early years of their marriage corresponded to the later period of the Great Depression and may have been challenging economic times for the couple. In the 1940 Census, they were living with Robert’s younger brother, Luther, -only a block from brother Wayne- and he appears to have been unemployed. Viola was employed in a factory.

Robert attended Wittenberg University and received an undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University in 1940. He taught at Gibsonburg High for 35 years (shop and physical education and drivers ed) and coached for 18 years.  He is most remembered as the varsity football coach. He retired in May of 1975; the school’s football venue is named after Robert: “Krotzer Field.”  Robert was a WWII vet, serving in the Army infantry from February 1943 through September 1945. He was stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, and Camp Swift, Texas. He did not see any combat action. He died in July of 1979 after a year-long illness. He is entered in West Union Cemetery, in Gibsonburg.

Luther Alfred “Lutz” Krotzer

Luther Alfred Krotzer (1909-1984) operated Lutz’s Inn on Main Street in Gibsonburg. He married Ada Elizabeth Gracemeyer (1913-1966), Viola’s younger sister, in 1935.  Luther was a life-long member of the Gibsonburg Volunteer Fire Department. He was an avid golfer with membership in the Sandusky County Sportsmans Club, and Sugar Creek Golf Club in Elmore. He died of a heart attack in 1984 as did his wife in 1966. He was 74 years old.

Albert Griffith “Oppie” Krotzer

Albert Griffith Krotzer’s (1910-1996) first job was as a truck driver for a coal company. He was a U.S. Army veteran and after the War served as a fireman at the Erie Army Ordinance Depot in Port Clinton for twenty-five years. He was a life member of Gibsonburg Volunteer Fire Department and served as Commander of the local VFW Disabled American Vets. He married Velma Elberta Reimer (1918-2005) March 12, 1947. They had two children.  “Oppie” was also a custodian at Gibsonburg High School from 1966 to 1975. He died at age 86 in December 1996.

Avis Rownia “Ruby” Krotzer Jurski (1912-1935)

Avis Rownia “Ruby” Krotzer (1912-1935) married Ernest J. Jurski (1900-1966) in September of 1932 in Indiana. She graduated from Mercy Hospital nursing school in 1933. Avis gave birth to a son, Thomas James Jurski (1934- ), in 1934 and a daughter, Constance Jurski (1935- ), in 1935. Just nine months later, she contracted a sever sore throat and died from septicemia at Mercy Hospital. Her eight brothers served as pall bearers at the funeral. These events occurred at the height of the Great Depression. Following Avis’s death, the two children lived with their grandparents, Alfred and Tillie, while their father, Ernest became a parks maintenance worker with the W.P.A. Her daughter, Constance, became a dental hygienist, graduating from Ohio State University in 1956; she operated a dental practice with her husband Samuel Gruner (1931-2019).

Roland “Rolly” Harold Krotzer

When Roland Harold Krotzer (1915-1993) was born on April 16, 1915, in Gibsonburg, Ohio, his father, Alfred, was 41 and his mother, Matilda, was 36. He married Faye Irene Kuns (1916-2007) on October 31, 1936. They had one child, Scott K. Krotzer (1942-2016). He retired in 1979, after a forty-two-year career with the Toledo Edison Company. He died on May 14, 1993, in Fremont, Ohio, at the age of 78, after a long illness. His wife, Faye, lived another fourteen years, passing away in 2007 at age 90.

John R. KrotzerKrotzer_accident_2

John R. Krotzer (1917-1969) was perhaps the most entrepreneurial of the Krotzer offspring. He was born in June 1917 in Fremont. He was another star athlete in high school, excelling in football. In May of 1936 his car was side-swiped by a tractor-trailer truck and his badly damaged left arm was later amputated. He married Viola R. Staschke (1917-1972) (a waitress) on February 11, 1936, in Monroe, Michigan. They had one child during their marriage. John owned and operated Krotzer’s Steak House (4782 Monroe St., Toledo) for eleven years and the Garden Inn (at 5290 Monroe Street) from 1952 to 1958. For a time, he was also an investor in the Toledo Tornados semi-professional football team.[1] He died on August 30, 1969, in Toledo, Ohio, at the age of 52.

Janette Gertrude Krotzer

When she was 20 years old, Janette Gertrude Krotzer (1918-1994),[2] married Hugh Sage (1914-1987) in 1939; they had five children, all of whom were very active in high school sports. Their daughter, Judith Sage Migliori (1940-1999) was very involved in civic affairs, serving as Woodville Clerk-Treasurer and on the Woodville Board of Education, among many others.  Janette worked as a toll booth at the Ohio Turnpike for ten years, retiring in 1975.  Her husband passed away in 1987 and Janette died in February of 1994 at age 75.

Paul Wallace Krotzer

The youngest of the Krotzer kids, Paul Wallace Krotzer (1921-2002), was perhaps the most energetic. His father was 47 and his mother was 42 when he was born and there were already ten older siblings living at home. Paul excelled at sports at Gibsonburg High School and was later a minor league baseball player and on occasion a golden gloves boxer. Paul served in the Navy from March 1942 through January 1946. Trained as a parachute rigger, he was stationed for a time in the South Pacific. After the War, Paul obtained a degree from Bowling Green State University in 1947. He became Lima Bath High School’s first varsity football coach and later took that same position at Delphos Jefferson High School. He also taught social studies and history. When he was 24, Paul married Constance McKiernan (1922-2012) (a Washington State native), whom he probably met while he was stationed at the Bremerton Naval Shipyard. They had three children. For a short time, the couple operated the Bluelick Grocery Store in Lima. After twenty-four years in teaching, Paul and wife retired to Ellenton, Florida. He died in February of 2002 at age 81. Wife Connie, passed away in June of 2012 at age 89.

Gibsonburg, Ohio

The Krotzer and Jackson families have a long connection to the hamlet of Gibsonburg. Daniel Kratzer first moved to eastern Ohio in 1831; soon after, his sons set up residence in Sandusky and Wood Counties. Based on birth and burial locales it appears they moved gradually westward from Hessville (where Daniel and son, Samuel are buried) to Pemberville, where sons Joseph and Peter are interred. The Wood County, Pemberville area was the home for most of Daniel’s grandchildren and for Krotzer and Eisenhour kin who are Bonnie Jackson’s great grandparents. Indeed, the Krotzer, Clink and Eisenhour families were nearly next-door neighbors in the 1900 Census. Many ancestors of this period are buried in the Pemberville Cemetery: nine Krotzers and four Clinks.

Census and birth records indicate that soon after their marriage in 1897, Alfred and “Tillie” Krotzer moved ten miles east to Gibsonburg which became a hub for Krotzer and then Jackson ancestors for several generations. The city had only just been incorporated in 1871 after railroad service reached the area and oil drilling and limestone processing drew farmhands to congregate in the growing hamlet. The 1900 Census records “Gibsonburg Township” with just 422 families and 1,841 inhabitants. They include a very wide range of occupations: grocer, blacksmith, carpenter, cook, dressmaker. The majority, however, were employed in some manner by the oil extraction industry. It seems likely that Al relocated there due to his employment in the oil business as well. The town was closely associated with the petroleum industry; the local newspaper was titled the Gibsonburg Derrick.[3]

Nowadays, there are still dozens of Krotzers living in Gibsonburg and scores —if not hundreds— more, in neighboring communities like Pemberville, Rollersville, Fremont, Toledo, Woodville, Risingsun, etc.

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[1] The Tornadoes were part of the United Football League that operated from 1961 through 1964. The Tornadoes, in existence from 1962-63-64, were mostly a .500 team but did finish 10-3 in the 1963 and lost to the Wheeling Ironmen in the league’s championship game. They won their first two games that year by scores of 63-2 and 62-0.
[2] Spelled “Janette.” Some documents use the more common “Jeanette” but most of the time and on her gravestone, it’s the shorter form.
[3] It ceased publication in 1981.
{last update: 3-Mar-2020}