Obituary for Albin "Al" Obed
Albin “Al” Obed, 98, of Coldwater, passed away on Sunday, March 31, 2013 at Drews Place of Coldwater.
A funeral will be held on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 11:00 A.M. at the First Presbyterian Church in Coldwater with Pastor Renee Whitaker officiating. Interment will follow at Oak Grove Cemetery in Coldwater. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 from 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. at Dutcher Funeral Home in Coldwater.
Albin was born on April 1, 1914 in Avella, Pennsylvania, a small coal mining town southwest of Pittsburgh and east of the West Virginia panhandle. His father, Martin Obed, and mother, Mary Vidmar, came to the United States in the early 1900s from Slovenia and Croatia respectively. In 1928, the family, including Albin’s two brothers and four sisters, moved from Avella to Detroit. While living there, Albin met Esther Adeline Moffitt of Sigourney, Iowa, and the two were married on January 1, 1937.
Albin’s education began in Pennsylvania with primary school and the Cross Creek Academy (high school), and in 1931 he graduated salutatorian of his class at Southwestern High School in Detroit. As a young man he completed studies at Detroit’s Business Institute and the Chrysler Institute of Technology. Over the years, he continued his education through various state university extension courses and technical training offered by IBM, Honeywell and other corporations.
Mr. Obed came to Coldwater with the Federal Mogul company in the summer of 1946. Wife Esther followed in October with daughter Diane Lynne, age 6, and son, martin Evan, age 18 months. For twenty years the family resided at 25 S. Michigan Avenue and in 1967 moved to their newly built home at 183 Fairfield Drive. While in Coldwater, the family attended the First Presbyterian Church, where Albin was a deacon and elder and also sang in the choir for many years. Esther died on November 28, 1994, and Albin married Myrtle Mae (Koser) Ruse on December 27, 1997. After two years of maintaining two households, the couple settled at the Ruse home at 151 N. Hudson Street in Coldwater.
Mr. Obed worked for Federal-Mogul Corporation from 1942 through 1976, principally in capacities of production Control Manager in Detroit and Inventory Control Manager in Coldwater. While in Coldwater he held the position of Warehouse Manager from 1972 and finally Plant Manager until his retirement in February 1976. Federal Mogul ultimately moved its operations to Alabama and sold its Coldwater facilities to the Essex Corporation.
Obed was active in community affairs, serving as treasurer of the Fiske School board from 1947 to 1952 and as a member of the Coldwater Community Schools Board of Education (1952-56 and 1959-63), where he served as treasurer and vice president. He also served as chairman of the Coldwater Area Study Committee on Schools in 1962-63 and was a member of the Branch County Community College Feasibility Study Committee in 1966.
In Coldwater, he was a member of the Kiwanis Club, charter member of the Exchange Club and charter member and organizer of the former Toastmasters Club. Mr. Obed served from 1964 to 1985 as director, including service as vice president, of the Board of Branch County Federal Savings and Loan Association. In the 1970s he was a member of the Board of Directors and Finance Committee of the Branch County Historical Society, serving the organization in many capacities, including Wing House Museum restoration chairman and grants coordinator.
Frequently involved with fundraising for local charitable and cultural organizations, Mr. Obed served as chairman for the Coldwater Mile-O-Dimes campaign in 1955 and was a chairman of the industrial division for the United Way Fund in 1972 and industrial solicitor for the Tibbits Opera House campaign in 1977. In 1988 he played a major role in the creation of a memorial tower to house the clock rescued from the burning of the Branch County courthouse in 1972. For the Clock Tower Committee, he served as fund chairman, state marker chairman and treasurer. Obed was a member of the Maple Lawn Auxiliary and also was Branch District Friends of the Library volunteer of the year in 1987 and 1996. As a member of the First Presbyterian Church Coldwater, her served on the Bicentennial Celebration Committee and was Chairman of the State Historical Marker Committee. He was also Branch County United Way volunteer of the year for 1998-99. In recent years he was both a sponsor and solicitor for the Community Health Center Hospice Duck Race and also served on the Hospice liaison committee. In 2005, Obed was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer service to CHC Hospice and recognized again in 2010 for his many years of “duck ticket” sales.
Among his many hobbies were book collecting, fishing, ping-pong, horseshoe pitching and golf. He was a member and past president of the Coldwater County Club and twice garnered a hole-in-one: first in 1949 making him eligible for the CCC’s hall of fame and second in 1974. Obed was an avid ping-pong player, winning the city championship in 1955 and 1956. In horseshoe pitching he was city champion in 1957 and defeated former state champion Martin “Pete” Leatherman to win the Coldwater top prize in 1962. He also pitched horseshoes in the Branch County 4-H Fair Class A tournaments, becoming champion in 1970, 1979, 1980, 1985 and 1986. In addition, his lifelong love of music included playing the cornet in the Detroit All-City (high school) Orchestra, singing along with the player piano, listening to recorded music and dancing at social gatherings.
In 1987 he and Esther celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and Albin was honored as “Man of the Year” by the Coldwater and Branch County Area Chamber of Commerce and awarded the “Book of Golden Deeds” by the Exchange Club of Coldwater. In 1999 the Community Health Center Hospice Association nominated him as candidate for senior citizen of the year sponsored by the Michigan Office of Services for the Aging.
Mr. Obed was preceded in death by his first wife Esther; two brothers, Martin and Daniel; and four sisters, Geraldine, Ann, Irene and Leonora. He is survived by his wife, Myrtle Ruse-Obed, a daughter, Diana Obed-Harris of Jacksonville, AL; a son, Martin Evan Obed (Pamela) of Kalamazoo; two grandchildren, Deborah Snyder (Michael) and Albin Harris (Lynn), both of Anniston, AL; seven great-grandchildren, Leah Martin, Alec, Phillip, Eden, Stephen, Anna and Lydia Snyder; and three great-great-grandchildren, Reagan and Ashton Martin and Gabriel Snyder; his step-children David Ruse (Mona), Michael Ruse (Cindy), R.J. Ruse (Darilyn), Kim Davidson and Kristen Harris (Bruce) and many step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Coldwater First Presbyterian Free Health Clinic or the Community Health Center Hospice.