50 Years Together

Bob & Marie Hartzell

By Stephen J. Hartzell

Bob & Marie Hartzell
Seneca County Fair, 1947

Bob & Marie Hartzell
About 1982

The Robert & Marie Hartzell Family
Summer 1989
Top Row
Agnes "Ag" (Hartzell) Welling; Barbara "Barb" (Hartzell) Factor;
Dorothy "Dort" (Hartzell) Robenalt; Clara Hartzell; Helen "Weezer" (Hartzell) Guinther
Bottom Row
Peter "Pete" Hartzell; Stephen "Steve" Hartzell; Robert "Bob" Hartzell;
Marie (Kirian) Hartzell; Joseph "Joe" Hartzell

The following is the expanded version of an oral presentation given by me on the occasion of the 50th wedding anniversary of Bob & Marie Hartzell.

Today we gather together in this place to celebrate the 50th Wedding Anniversary of Bob & Marie Hartzell. Together they have proven that opposites really do attract. On the one hand you have a quiet, unassuming introvert. On the other, a sociable extrovert. Together they have stood the test of time.

Marie Anna Kirian was born in Hancock County, Fostoria, Ohio, on October 30, 1925, to Urban Frank & Agnes (Werling) Kirian. She was the 3rd of 5 children. The birth was attended at 3:00 a.m. by Dr. Charles F. Daniel. It appears as though she was named for an aunt, Anna Marie Kirian Boes, sister of Urban Kirian. Anna was also the Matron of Honor in Agnes & Urban’s wedding. Older siblings were Alfred Leander & Helen Laura, while the younger ones were John Edward & Louis Raymond.

The Kirians lived in Big Springs Twp. in the Alvada - Frenchtown area where Urban was employed primarily as a farmer. On February 4, 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, Urban Kirian died in his parked car near a home on Martha St. in Tiffin. The presence of bootleg whiskey, and some missing money made the death appear at first to be suspicious. However, a subsequent autopsy revealed a chronic heart condition to be the cause of death. The autopsy was performed by the same Dr. Charles F. Daniel.

Soon thereafter the family moved into Tiffin. Here the family lived through the Great Depression, and Agnes Kirian raised the children by herself. The children attended St. Joseph’s School, and attended mass in the school gymnasium after the church burned as a result of a bolt of lightening which struck the steeple.

In time, Marie was sent to the Marybrook Academy in Maumee. This was a girls boarding school which was operated by the Ursuline Sisters in the Toledo area. Here she spent several years. On returning to Tiffin she went to work as a marker for the U. S. Glass Co., just down Vine St. from the Apple St. home. There she made money to help out the family, and made some new friends as well.

With the war came the sad news that Uncle Raymond Werling had been killed. But the terrible war did eventually end, and people began to get on with their lives.

This brings us to the year 1947.


Robert Joseph Hartzell was born November 11, 1921 to Thomas Harrison & Rosalie (Reiniche) Hartzell. The birth took place at 1:00 a.m. at 475 West Perry St. in Tiffin, and was attended by Dr. R. B. Leister, who was now caring for his 3rd generation of Hartzells. It appears as though Robert was named at the urging of some older siblings who insisted ”Let’s name him Bobby”. Bobby was the 6th of 8 children. Older siblings were Victor Francis, Harry Thomas, Eugene Thomas, Paul Charles and Mary Louise. Younger ones were Ellen Rose & Regina Marie.

The house at 475 West Perry was built by Tom Hartzell on land given him by his father. After the death of his father he also inherited the house at 471 West Perry. Behind this house was a large grape arbor, which nourished 5 generations of Hartzells.

Tom supported his family as a Shoemaker & sometimes Barber, while Rose was the housekeeper at the Ursuline Convent for a number of years. In these trades they made just enough to feed, clothe & shelter their family, and to them this was sufficient.

Bobby attended St. Mary’s School, and later went to Calvert. For a long time he was terribly afraid of girls. Eventually he got over this fear and became one who “played the field” dating more than one at the same time, if he could get away with it.

In August of 1940 the family was deeply saddened by a telegram which stated that Paul, Brother Cesaire, had been killed in an automobile accident. He was buried in Notre Dame, Indiana.

After his Junior year he quit school. Shortly thereafter he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC. He spent some time on a project in Montana. Here he began to learn the value of hard work, and the young man grew in confidence.

In 1942 our nation entered World War II. A confident young Bobby applied and was accepted into the 101st Airborne Division, an elite paratrooper infantry. Of this outfit, the Germans themselves once said “ Everything they do has a certain swagger to it.” After training at Ft. Benning, GA and Ft. Bragg, NC, they were shipped overseas toEngland to prepare to enter the fray in the European Theater of Operations.

Bob Hartzell, 101st Airborne Division, 1942

Ultimately came the Invasion of Normandy, the largest massing of troops in American History. After intense training the order came on the morning of June 6, 1944. The 101st was the very first unit to arrive in the early morning hours. They jumped in the newly flooded area of Utah Beach. Landing in water, it took Bob nearly a half hour to free himself of his parachute. On the 5th day of the Battle Bob was wounded when a shell exploded near him, and the pieces sprayed one side of his body. After a while in the hospital, he was returned to service.

After the liberation of France, the army continued their push toward Berlin. In April of 1945 the troops, and all Americans were saddened by the news of the death of President Roosevelt.

Ultimately word came that the Germans had surrendered and the war was over. Bob remembers this day well. The military issued each man 2 bottles of French champagne. Those who didn’t drink gave theirs away. Bob remembered “That was the worst hangover I’ve ever had in my life.”

Bob was discharged, and arrived home on November 19, 1945. Regina was the only one home, as the rest of the family was in Defiance to attend the funeral of Vic & Margies infant son, Paul Charles.

Bob was extremely unsettled, and suffered much from flashbacks & other post-war related trauma. His mother became very worried about him, and talked to Msgr. Kinnanne about the situation. His advise to her was “He didn’t become a soldier overnight, and he won’t become a civilian overnight either.”

Through his years in service Bob was able to save $2600. Paratroopers made $50 more per month than a normal soldier, and he later admitted that he was very lucky at poker. He took some of the money and went to Koontz Motor Sales, which was located where Riley’s Car Wash now operates. There he spotted a 1937 Packard. Inquiring as to the price, the salesman picked up the Blue Book & said “Let me see how much I’m allowed to charge ya.” Finally they agreed on a price of $547, and he drove the car home.

After a period of time Bob did finally settle into a steady job at the U.S. Glass Company on Vine St. There he worked as a cutter.

This brings us to the year 1947.


It was a typical evening in 1947. Marie Kirian was at the Bubble Bar in downtown Tiffin with friends Helen Rogala, Judy Ranker & Mary Jo Kastner for an evening of dancing. Ultimately a handsome young man approached the shy young lady and asked her to dance. She recognized him as Bob Hartzell, a co-worker of hers at the Glass House. They had seen each other at work before, but on this night it was different. They danced together the rest of the night, and he gave her a ride home from there. Marie knew right away that this was her guy, and the courtship began. Asked later if he tried to kiss her she responded, “Oh, they always do that.” Her brother John, always a kidder, kept asking her “Hey Marie, what kind of an Armstrong Heater does this guy have in his car?” On each occasion, she insisted that she didn’t know.

It didn’t take long before Bob asked Marie to be his wife. Bob then took $400 of his savings and bought the hollow lot directly across from his parents house. By now, a WPA project had built a sewer line which cut directly across this hollow, and placed a manhole in the center of it to keep it from flooding. With the help of his brother Vic, Bob began to build a home facing West Perry St. It was a 2 story frame structure with asphalt shingle siding. The 1st floor was finished and the 2nd floor was left as one big room, with rooms to be formed as needed. By the time they got married it was ready to move into.

The following article is taken from the May 22, 1948 edition of the Advertiser-Tribune.

Kirian - Hartzell Nuptials June 12

Mrs. Agnes Kirian, 93 Apple St. is announcing the forthcoming marriage of her daughter Marie Anna, to Robert J. Hartzell, son of Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Hartzell, 471 West Perry St.

The wedding will take place in St. Mary’s Church at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 12.

The following article is taken from the June 4, 1948 edition of the Advertiser-Tribune

Showers Arranged For Marie Kirian By Two Hostesses

Mrs. Eugene Elchert and Mrs. Paul Elchert complimented Miss Marie Kirian with a miscellaneous shower, Thursday evening in the Paul Elchert home on Main St. Miss Kirian will be married June 12th to Robert Hartzell.

Mrs. Herman Goshe, Mrs. Earl Elchert, Mrs. Thomas Hartzell, Miss Werling and Mrs. Dorothy Reinhart won in games.

Roses were used in bouquets through the rooms. On one table was an entire miniature wedding party, with the clergyman, bride and groom and attendants posed before a candle-lit alter. The small bridesmaid figures were given the guests as favors.

The hostesses served a lunch. Other guests were Mrs. Agnes Kirian, Mrs. Clarence Werling, Mrs. Leander Werling, Mrs. Harold Miller, Mrs. Alfred Kirian, Mrs. Nicholas Kuhn, Jr., Miss Mary Ann Werling and Miss Regina Hartzell.

Miss Regina Hartzell is entertaining next week for Miss Kirian’s pleasure.

The following article is taken from the June 11, 1948 edition of the Advertiser-Tribune.

Closing Bridal Courtesy Given For Miss Kirian

Miss Regina Hartzell was hostess at a bridal shower Thursday evening in her home on West Perry street, honoring Miss Marie Kirian. Miss Kirian’s marriage to Robert Hartzell will be solemnized Saturday.

Games were played, and the winners presented their prizes to the bride. Pink and white streamers extended from the chandelier to the corners of the dining room table. Bouquets of roses and smaller rose corsages completed the decorations.

Lunch was served by the hostess. Included were the bride-elects mother, Mrs. Agnes Kirian, and Mrs. Thomas Hartzell, Mrs. Donald Welty, Mrs. Eugene Elchert, Mrs. Paul Elchert, the Misses Helen Rogala, Mary Jo Kastner, Dorothy Kastner, Rosalie Elchert and Judy Ranker.

Weather-wise, June 12, 1948 was warm & wet. The high temperature was 81, and throughout the day .71 of an inch of rain fell. It is also interesting to note that the paper of this date announced that pilot Charles Yeager in the Air Force XS-1 had broken the sound barrier for the 1st time in history.

St. Mary’s Church was a busy place on this particular day. At 8:00 a.m. was the Kirian-Hartzell wedding. At 9 was the wedding of Mary Lou Binder & Robert Ranker; and at 10 the Juanita Malone - Joseph Stein wedding. So needless to say, there was no time to hang around the church after the ceremony.

The following article is taken from the June 12, 1948 issue of the Advertiser-Tribune


The Rt. Rev. Msgr. R. I. Kinnane officiated at the single ring ceremony and celebrated the nuptial mass uniting Miss Marie Anna Kirian and Robert J. Hartzell, this morning at eight o’clock in St. Mary’s Church.

The bride is a daughter of Mrs. Agnes Kirian, Apple St. Mr. Hartzell is a son of Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Hartzell, West Perry St.

Garden flowers were in vases on the church alters. Miss Mary Huff was organist for the wedding. Gregory Elchert, nephew of the bride-groom, served the mass.

The bride wore white marquisette over taffeta, with flared skirt, V-neckline on the fitted bodice, and full, puffed sleeves. Her double veil of illusion in fingertip length was held in place with a headdress of flowers, and her shower bouquet was of white roses. She carried a white silk covered prayer book, with blue and white streamers extending to the floor.

Miss Regina Hartzell, sister of the bridegroom, was maid of honor in a powder blue taffeta gown, which was styled with bustle-effect in the back. She also wore a flower headdress, and carried a shower bouquet of red roses.

Henry N. Kuhn, Jr., served as best man for the bridegroom. Ushers were brothers of the bridal couple, Victor Hartzell of Defiance and Louis Kirian of Tiffin.

The bride’s mother wore a dress of brown and white print, and the bridegroom’s mother had a black and white printed frock. Both wore white accessories and pink rose corsages.

The bridal party had breakfast at the Ursuline Convent. Dinner was served to 40 guests in the VFW clubrooms. Bouquets of the bride and her attendant were on the table. The wedding cake, with it’s miniature bridal couple, was decorated in blue and white, to match the gowns of the bride and bridesmaid. Blue and white ribbons extended to places marked for the bridal couple. A reception is being held this afternoon from 2 to 4 o’clock at the home of the bride’s mother.

The couple is taking a week’s wedding trip. The bride will wear a dress of yellow crepe, with white accessories, and a corsage of white roses.

Mr. & Mrs. Hartzell will reside in their recently completed home at 472 West Perry St.

The bride was formerly employed at the U.S. Glass Co. The bridegroom, an employee of the Glass Co., was in the army for three and one-half years, serving 26 months in Europe as a paratrooper.

Guests were from Defiance, Bucyrus and New Riegel for the wedding.

The wedding party
Maid of Honor Regina Hartzell, Marie Hartzell, Bob Hartzell & Best Man Nick Kuhn


So the couple made their home at 472 West Perry. Three months passed, and one day Bob found Marie crying. It seems that Marie was growing worried that she wouldn’t be able to give him any children. Before long everyone began to realize how wrong this fear really was.

Bob & Marie in front of their new home at 472 West Perry
Notice that the upper floor is not yet finished, and there is not yet a front porch.

In the next 11 years she gave birth to 8 babies! It wasn’t long before Bob was sent scrambling to add enough rooms in the upper floor to house this small army of screaming children. Imagine for a second that you have 8 children, with the oldest being only 11 years old! Enough to tax the patience of Job himself!

In order of birth they are Joseph Raymond, named for his father, and Raymond Werling; Agnes Rose, named for both of her grandmothers; Clara Marie, named for great grandmother Werling, and her mother; Dorothy Anna, named for Dorothy Zeiger and her mother; Peter Francis, named for Peter the Apostle and St. Francis of Assisi; Helen Louise, named for her mother’s sister; Stephen John, named for St. Stephen the 1st martyr and Pope John; and finally Barbara Lynn, named for the saints of the same names. All of the children were delivered by Dr. Walter A. Daniel, son of the above named Dr. Charles Daniel. He remained our family doctor throughout our childhood. Also, a nephew, Richard P. Hartzell, son of Eugene Hartzell lived with us after his parents were divorced. He was with us from the mid 1950’s until he graduated from Calvert and entered the service in the early ‘60’s. To us, he was like our big brother.

The 10 of us lived in that house until 1967, when the house at the rear of the property was doubled in size and we moved into it. What a sight we surely must have been to the neighborhood as the 10 of us paraded back and forth across the yard like an army of soldier ants carrying the entire household to it’s new location. Finally in 1969 the old house was torn down. I remember how mom cried on that day as the wrecking ball took it’s first bite out of that old place where so many fond memories had been made. We remembered that long kitchen, the coal bin, the tall back steps, the full width front porch, the stairway, the living room with it’s single davenport and kids strewn about on the floor watching television. And who could forget how we watched the Beatles 1st appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show through the register in the upper floor. How we played games of “begins with & ends with” and “BZZZZT” until dad finally heard us and came up to say “Be quiet up there.”

The following is taken from a June 1983 edition of the Advertiser-Tribune

Mr. & Mrs. Robert J. Hartzell of 313 Wentz St. observed their 35th wedding anniversary on June 12. Mr. Hartzell married Marie A. Kirian June 12, 1948, at St. Mary’s Church, and they are parents of 8 children, grandparents of 18.

In honor of the occasion, the Hartzell children hosted a family style dinner June 11 at the Windmill Inn in Alvada. The evening was spent reminiscing.

Attending were Joe and Jane Hartzell, Agnes and Warren Welling, Dorothy and Rob Robenalt, Pete and Charlene Hartzell, Helen and Bob Guinther, Steve and Cindy Hartzell and Barb Factor. Clara Canton of Toledo was unable to attend.


The experience of growing up in a large family leaves one with many memories.

The weekly trip to the grocery store. One of us kids was always chosen to go along. This was necessary because a weeks supply of groceries filled 2 shopping carts heaping full. How would you like to try to keep up with THAT grocery bill!

We all remember the weekly ritual of getting to Sunday mass. The front seat was reserved for dad, mom & grandma Hartzell. The remaining space was for the children. The youngest sat on the laps of the oldest. That’s 11 people in the same car! But it didn’t seem extraordinary to us at the time, because that was just the way it was done.

And just before going to bed, we all turned and knelt on the floor while dad led us in prayer. Brothers and sisters, maybe you can clear up a mystery for me. Have any of you figured out who Tom Chowber is?

The 4th of July. Each of us got a cap gun and some caps. Do you remember what a thrill it was to borrow one of dad’s hammers and shoot off a whole roll with a single swing? And do you remember how well you used to be able to see the fireworks from the porch of the old house?

The bathroom. As you can imagine, it was impossible to think that 10 people could all take a bath every single day. Baths were all taken on the same day, and the bath water was saved for the next person. The very young were bathed in the kitchen sink. And naturally, normal use of the bathroom for nature’s call was always a race, especially in the morning. It was not at all unusual to see a long line of kids dancing outside the bathroom door and hollering for the occupant to hurry up. And we all know why the screen in the boys bedroom window was the only one in the house that was green.

And Helen. Isn’t it about time that you finally admit that it was you who turned the chicken pink? When was the last time you ate fried chicken seasoned with a dash of crayon? Believe me it does nothing for the flavor!

And Dort. Don’t you feel just a little bit guilty about all the work you put your father through in repairing the holes that were left in the walls after you had just thrown one of your dear brothers and sisters through it? Or for telling Clara to keep her mouth shut because she couldn’t lie as well as you?

And Pete. Did you really think that dad wouldn’t figure out why you put on his long, thick coat just as he went to get the stick of correction?

And Steve. Do you remember the time I laid my forehead wide open while sliding down the hill on that old tar shovel? How Dr. Daniel was almost crippled with laughter when he saw me in dad’s coat, oversized boots on the wrong feet and a pink bandanna? How they caught me at the door when I said “Oh no” and tried to escape?

And I wonder if Barb felt bad about the spanking I got for hitting her after she chopped up my Herman’s Hermits record with an ax?

And Dad. Do you remember who “The Mad Underwear Stomper” is?

Yes, we have all written an episode in this comedy of memories. Everyone has taken their turn. Oh, there are many more of these stories, but it might take days to tell them all. These are the things that will always take us home, wherever we may be. We weren’t rich, but we weren’t deprived either. We weren’t the cream of society. We didn’t have a multi-car garage, and yes we had but one bathroom. But tell me. would you trade places with anyone? Would you trade it all in for anything in the world? I feel sure that none of us would. Folks, we had everything we needed. We had a neighborhood that was just full of kids. We never went to bed hungry. We had parents who tried very hard to teach us right from wrong, to teach us that you have to work for everything you get in this life. And above all, we had as much love as we could ever need to sustain us through whatever the world could throw our way.

Each time we remember & reminisce in this way we go home to that old house at 472 West Perry St. Mom & dad, brothers & sisters, return home often.

And now, to steal a line from “It’s A Wonderful Life”, Here’s to Bob & Marie Hartzell, the richest couple in town.

See Also
Little Sister, Sweet Lesson Of Love

1998 - 2001 By Stephen J. Hartzell
All Rights Reserved