PEMBERVILLE -- A former minor-league professional baseball player and a retired educator who taught at elementary schools in northwest Ohio, Dennis Aeschliman died Friday in Otterbein Portage Valley Retirement Village. He was 87.
Mr. Aeschliman lived in the retirement home with his wife, Barbara, for seven years, after living many years in Genoa.
Family members did not know the cause of death.
After graduating from Bowling Green State University in 1953, Mr. Aeschliman began a career in teaching in the elementary grades that spanned nearly 25 years.
He taught for one year in Bowling Green and six years at Luckey and Lemoyne elementaries in the Eastwood School system, where he also was the high school baseball coach for a year.
But Mr. Aeschliman was best remembered for his 17 years at Oregon Schools, where he taught sixth graders at Starr, Wynn, and Jerusalem elementaries.
Mrs. Aeschliman said students had difficulty pronouncing his last name so they abbreviated it to "Mr. A."
His daughter, Elizabeth Bermudez, said her father was a role model for many children, especially middle-school-aged boys who lived in single-parent homes.
"He had such a positive effect on so many young people throughout the area," she said.
"He was, for some kids, the only male model they had. I was so proud that he was able to provide that to them at a delicate age," Ms. Bermudez said.
Mr. Aeschliman grew up in Wauseon and graduated in 1942 from Wauseon High School, where he excelled in basketball, baseball, and track.
He went to the state championships in the pole vault.
He attended BGSU as part of the U.S. Navy's V-12 college training program, which was created to supplement the force of commissioned officers in the Navy during World War II.
Mrs. Aeschliman said her husband served on the USS New York in the Pacific Theater.
He was discharged in 1946.
Mr. Aeschliman returned to college on the GI Bill after the war and played in the minor league system of the Chicago Cubs organization.
An outfielder, he played three seasons, hitting .267 in 349 games.
"He was never called up to the big leagues," Mrs. Aeschliman said.
"When he was younger he tried out for the Detroit Tigers. But they didn't want him."
However, his career came to an end about 1950 when he was hospitalized for tuberculosis, a disease that he contracted while in the Navy, his wife said.
After his release from the hospital, he continued his studies, receiving a bachelor's degree in secondary education.
He obtained certification to teach primary grades later.
He met the former Barbara Phillips at a dance in Wauseon. They were married July 7, 1948.
Surviving are his wife, Barbara, daughters, Deborah McGuire, Diane Skevington, Elizabeth Bermudez, Mary Janis, and Karel Hasselbach, sister, Pauline Palmquist, 10 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Services are to be at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Trinity United Methodist Church, Genoa, Ohio.
Visitation is to be 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Robinson-Walker Funeral Home and Crematory, Genoa.
The family requests tributes the Trinity United Methodist Church or to Otterbein Portage Valley Retirement Community.