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Obituaries

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James L. Merrell

Died: Monday, January 19, 2015
Age: 84
The Rev. Dr. James L. Merrell, 84, died Jan. 19 at his home in Kirkwood.

A former resident of Oakville, the Rev. Dr. Merrell was born in 1930 in Indianapolis.

He celebrated his 63rd year of ministry in 2015. A graduate of Indiana University, where he was named outstanding journalism graduate in his class of 1952, the Rev. Dr. Merrell received his master of divinity degree from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. He was ordained by the Christian Church — Disciples of Christ — at Third Christian Church in Indianapolis.

During his career, he served as editor of two national magazines of the Disciples of Christ and was founding editor of The Disciple and a vice president of the Christian Board of Publication after moving to St. Louis in 1973. This leadership qualified him for inclusion in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who in Religion.

The Rev. Dr. Merrell received an honorary doctor of letters degree in 1974 from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, where he served as temporary chaplain and a professor. He served as interim minister at many area churches, including Affton Christian Church and St. Johns United Church of Christ. The Rev. Dr. Merrell authored five books and traveled in more than 57 countries.

He was the husband of 63 years to Barbara (nee Burch); father of Deborah Griffin Gibbar (David), Cynthia Archer and Stuart (Nancy) Merrell; and had six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. He is also survived by brother-in-law Walter Ballew and family; and cousin Carole Linneman and family.

Visitors may call on the family from 3 to 8 p.m. today — Thursday, Jan. 29 — at Bopp Chapel, 10610 Manchester Road, Kirkwood, and from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday at Affton Christian Church, 9625 Tesson Ferry Road. A memorial service will take place at 5 p.m.

Jeanne B. Crews (nee Brader)

Died: Sunday, January 11, 2015
Age: 85
Jeanne B. Crews (nee Brader), 85, died Jan. 11.

Mrs. Crews was born April 7, 1929. She was a proud educator for nearly 50 years. She taught in the Mehlville School District for 42 years, and more recently at St. Charles Community College.

Mrs. Crews was the Missouri State Teacher of the Year in 1984 and was active in the National State Teachers of the Year.

She was a professional storyteller, contributing to the St. Louis Gateway Storytellers.

Mrs. Crews belonged to the South County Kiwanis Club and was instrumental in promoting and implementing the club’s educational programs, particularly the Terrific Kids of the Month.

Her legacy is inspiring children and educators in the St. Louis area.

Survivors include her daughters and son-in-law, Judy Griffin, Kathie and Ahmed Khalifa and Janet Crews; and six grandchildren.

Mrs. Crews was preceded in death by her husband, James E. Crews.

Visitation and services were at John L. Ziegenhein and Sons, south county.

Interment was in Mount Hope Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Louis Gateway Storytellers.

John Foote

Died: Thursday, January 08, 2015
Age: 80
Former Crestwood Ward 4 Alderman John Foote, 80, died Jan. 8 at St. Anthony’s Medical Center after a battle with cancer.

Mr. Foote, a longtime Crestwood resident, was born Nov. 1, 1934. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington University.

Mr. Foote worked for the Brown Shoe Co., ultimately becoming general manager of warehousing and systems.

He then joined a research group in space science at Washington University’s Physics Department Compton Labs, where he worked for 15 years before retiring.

Mr. Foote also served as a volunteer at the St. Louis Science Center.

Mr. Foote’s interest in Crestwood government began during 2003 when the city experienced fiscal anomalies and could not close its books. He was elected to the city’s Board of Aldermen in 2007, serving two three-year terms.

A statement issued by the city Monday afternoon recognized Mr. Foote “for his able, intelligent and conscientious services to the city ... He served the city faithfully and with distinction on various boards or commissions, including the Public Works Board, Ways and Means Committee, Veterans Memorial Committee, Disabled Citizens Advisory Committee and the Business License Review Committee.

“He continued to provide counsel even after he was no longer an alderman,” the statement concluded.

Survivors include his wife, Carol; daughter, Pamela; and grandchildren. Mr. Foote was preceded in death by a son, Gary.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, at the Oak Hill Funeral Home, 10301 Big Bend Road.

James Hefner

Died: Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Age: 79
James Linard Hefner, 79, died Jan. 7.

Mr. Hefner, a south county resident, was a retired tool and die machinist. He coached and managed both baseball and soccer, and also refereed in soccer.

Mr. Hefner was a member of the National Bowling Hall of Fame, avid gardener, an Eagle Scout and a huge Cardinals fan who never missed a game. He was a proud member of St. Louis Concert Choir.

He was the beloved husband of 56 years of Kathryn Hefner (nee Reed); loving father of Jim Hefner, Sue (Russ) Johnson and John (Launa) Hefner; and grandfather of four.

Visitation was at Kutis Affton Chapel. Brother Bob Pickett officiated the funeral service.

Donations may be made to: Concert Ministries Inc., 66 Gray Owl Garth, St. Charles, Mo. 63304.

Rose Marie Horn

Died: Monday, January 05, 2015
Age: 86
Rose Marie Horn, 86, of Festus, died Jan. 5 at St. Anthony’s Medical Center.

She was born March 16, 1928, in Festus, the daughter of the late Eva Rose (nee Jacket) and Cyprian Carrow. Mrs. Horn was a member of Sacred Heart Church in Crystal City.

Survivors include sons, James H. Horn Jr. of Festus and Rick L. Horn of Oakville; daughters, Shirley L. (Mark) Haegele of Oakville, Beverly M. (Mark) Fisher of St. Louis County and Janet L. (Mark) Harrison of Houston, Texas; sister, Emily Thomas; 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, James H. “Jim” Horn Sr.; brothers, Arthur L. (Geraldine survives of California) Carrow, Earl, Sylvester, Edwin and Woodrow (Alberta survives of Festus) Carrow; and sister Ida Carrow.

Visitation was at Vinyard Funeral Home in Festus. Father Clark Maes, pastor, officiated a Mass at Sacred Heart Church.

Interment was in Sacred Heart Cemetery.

Robert Frederick Schmidt

Died: Friday, December 19, 2014
Age: 92
Robert Frederick Schmidt died Dec. 19 at his residence in St. Louis.

Mr. Schmidt was born on June 15, 1922 in Rush Tower and was raised there on the family dairy farm. He attended Rankin College, training as a tool and die maker.

He entered the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, where he served from Southern Italy to France as a flight mechanic. After World War II, he attended Shurtleff College, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. He returned to the machine shop, working at Century Electric and St. Louis Shipbuilding and Steel.

He worshiped at the Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Rush Tower during his youth and later served in various positions of trust at Crusade Baptist Church in Lemay.

Survivors include his sons, Vernon (Debbie) Schmidt, John (Jennine) Schmidt and Paul (Belle) Schmidt, all of St Louis; and four grandchildren, Christopher (Amy), Paul Jr., Elizabeth and Elijah Schmidt.

Mr. Schmidt was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Kathryn Louise (nee Cook) Schmidt; brothers, Milton (Gertrude) Kiepe of Rush Tower and Harold (Marie) Kiepe of Fayette; sisters, Irene (George) Westmeyer of Burnsville, Minn., and Dorothy (Wayne) Rouggly of Rush Tower; and parents, Adolph and Elizabeth (nee Klienschmidt) Kiepe Schmidt.

A private burial, officiated by Rev. Randy Casey, took place Dec. 23 at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

A memorial service will be announced for early 2015.

Marvin C. Breitenfeld

Died: Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Age: 86
Marvin C. “Marv” Breitenfeld, 86, died Dec. 16.

Mr. Breitenfeld was born Jan. 7, 1928, the oldest son of Karl and Dora (nee Frentzel) Breitenfeld. An Oakville resident, he was a 50-year member of Peace Lutheran Church and taught Sunday school there for 50 years and four years prior at Emmaus Lutheran Church.

Mr. Breitenfeld was proud of being a sergeant in the U.S. Marines during the Korean War. He was a Mehlville Optimist Club member for over 50 years. Mr. Breitenfeld also served as president of the Centerville Cemetery Association for 15 years and as director and officer of the Reynolds County Fair from 1978 to 2008.

He owned and operated B-Z Sales Inc. from 1960 to 1989 and Big B Farm in Centerville from 1957 to 2014.

Survivors include his wife and best friend of 57 years, Helen J. Breitenfeld (nee Bowles); children, Jan Todd and Michael Carter; three grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and siblings, Pearl (Herman) Niehaus, Howard (Jackie), Richard (Judy) and Robert (Karen) Breitenfeld.

Visitation was at John L. Ziegenhein & Sons, south county, and at Peace Lutheran Church, where the service was conducted. Interment was in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

Jan Crandall Polizzi

Died: Saturday, November 29, 2014
Age: 65
Jan Crandall Polizzi, 65, of Concord, a former state representative and former member of the Mehlville Board of Education, died Nov. 29.

Mrs. Polizzi represented the 97th District in the Missouri House from 1993 to 1995 and received a Certificate of Recognition for Health through legislation in 1993. She then served on the Mehlville Board of Education from 1995 to 1998.

Mrs. Polizzi was president of the Missouri Nurses Association from 1987 to 1997, named Member of the Year in 2003 and inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame in 2014. She belonged to the Webster Groves Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

A registered nurse, Mrs. Polizzi earned an associate’s degree from Maryville University, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Louis University and a master’s degree from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. She was inducted into the National Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau, in 1980.

Mrs. Polizzi was a member of Prince of Peace United Church of Christ, as well as a board member and Sunday School teacher. She was a member of the St. Louis Gateway Singers and worked with Nurses for Newborns.

Mrs. Polizzi graduated from Hazelwood High School in 1967 and was a diehard fan of the Cardinals baseball team.

Survivors include her husband, Pete J. Polizzi; son, Joseph J. (Stephanie Brasier) Polizzi; parents, Charles and Anne Crandall; siblings, Charles J. (Sherry) Crandall Jr. and Susan Crandall (Dr. Richard) Swier; and brothers- and sisters-in-law, Dominic (Regina) Polizzi, John (Karen) Polizzi, Mary Ann (the late Tom) Peters and the late Joseph (Linda) Polizzi; and Rosalie (the late Tom) Brennan and Vito (the late Mary Ann) Polizzi.

A memorial service was conducted Dec. 3. Interment was in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

Donations may be made to Prince of Peace United Church of Christ, 4966 Towne South Road, St. Louis, Mo. 63128.

Vernon Oswald Hoelscher

Died: Sunday, November 16, 2014
Age: 88
Vernon Oswald Hoelscher died Nov. 16 at the Meramec Bluffs Retirement Center in Ballwin, surrounded by family and under hospice care.

He would have been 89 on Jan. 3.

Mr. Hoelscher lived in south county for almost 60 years and was an active member of St. Johns United Church of Christ.

He was born in Okawville, Ill., a son of Oscar and Mary (nee Brinkman) Hoelscher, and grew up on a farm in Centralia, Ill. Mr. Hoelscher attended classes in a one-room school house until he completed the eighth grade, when his father took him out of school to work on the farm.

Two days after his 19th birthday, he entered the Army. Two months later, his older brother, Virgil, was killed in the Battle of the Bulge. Mr. Hoelscher then received an honorable discharge. In the 18 months he served, he earned the rank of Tech 5 and served as a communications specialist, a military policeman and drove 2.5-ton trucks, transporting cargo and soldiers.

He attended Ranken Trade School and earned certification as a tool room machinist and later became a mold maker making molds for plastic objects. Still desiring a high school diploma, he earned one at the age of 34.

Mr. Hoelscher was the devoted husband of Darleen Hoelscher (nee Keller); father of Verleen Schmidt of St. Peters and Denise (David) McDougall of Poplar Bluff; brother of Vera Rallo of St. Louis, Verle (Matilda) Hoelscher of Belleville, Ill., and Vilas (Frieda) Hoelscher of Centralia, Ill.; and grandfather of three.

A memorial service was conducted at St. Johns United Church of Christ. Interment was in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery with full military honors.

Obed C. "Obie" Knudtson

Died: Saturday, November 08, 2014
Age: 80
Obed C. “Obie” Knudtson, 80, died Nov. 8 in St. Louis.

Mr. Knudtson was born May 1, 1934, in Blue Earth, Minn., to the late Carl and Elma Knudtson.

Survivors include his beloved wife of 55 years, Marian (nee Overlie) of Oakville; his sons, Bruce (Denise) Knudtson of Seattle, Wash., and Todd (special friend Robyn) Knudtson of St. Louis; his grandchildren, Jensen Knudtson and Philip Schreffler; brothers-in-law, Merlin Overlie and Don (Barb) Overlie; and many nieces, nephews and dear friends.

He was a proud veteran of the U.S. Army. Mr. Knudtson enjoyed traveling the country with his wife in his RV, camping and just being in the great outdoors.

A memorial service was conducted at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2030 Union Road, St. Louis, Mo. 63125, or to a charity of your choice.

His ashes will be buried at the churchyard of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Butternut, Minn., at a later date.

St. Louis Cremation assisted the family.
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