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I never knew my Great Grandpa Hochstetler. My mother never knew him, either. He is a shadowy figure in my mind. I’m not even sure what He looked like. He passed away on March 6th, 1926, before my mother was born.

I’ve always pictured him being stern for some reason. I know he was Baptist. His family was Amish, but I’m not sure when he actually left the church. I know they had financial issues when the last child, my mom’s mother, was born. The census shows he was an engineer at a foundry. Until last night, that’s all I knew. At some point, I was going to research him more but I’ve been spending my time unearthing my husband’s relatives.

I sourced a short bio of him on WikiTree last night, realizing that I don’t know this man at all. Ancestry showed an obituary existed but the link was obsolete. I did some searching and found an obituary on I was surprised, stunned, and sad when I read the headline: Massillon Man Dies Beneath Car In Garage.

My first thought was that the car fell on him. Reading through the article, I found that he had died of heart failure and he was found dead under the car. He was only 54.

Who found him? His wife or one of his kids, calling him in for dinner? He left 5 children. His only son had married 3 years earlier. At home, there were 4 daughters. The youngest was 8.

I’m sure this was a shock to the family. The funeral was held at their house in Ohio. I have an address and I will definitely look for it on Google Earth. I want to know more about him and his legacy. My great-grandma did eventually remarry and move to Illinois where her youngest daughter met her husband. Without that event, I wouldn’t be here.

Sobering thoughts. According to my mom, my great-grandma was a wonderful person. I’m even named after her! I think I will try to flesh out a better picture of her first husband’s life. It seems like the right thing to do.

(Copied from my blog at

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