Rollin E. Heidlebaugh

August 09, 1919 ‒ September 13, 2003

Lexington, Ohio

LEXINGTON: Rollin E. Heidlebaugh, 84, of Township Road 49, Lexington, died Saturday morning September 13, 2003 in his home, following a short illness.

He was born August 9, 1919 near Lexington in the house that would become his lifelong home, to Henry E. and B. Marie Meckley Heidlebaugh, and was graduated from Lexington High School in 1937.

Rollin served with the US Army and 20th Air Force during WWII in the Pacific Theater, with the 24th Squadron, 313th Bomb Wing, 6th Bomb Group (Very Heavy). He was one of the first to be drafted from Morrow County, and quickly stationed at Fort Stevens, Oregon, as part of the Coast Artillery Force.

Following two years at Fort Stevens, he was sent to Santa Ana, California for Air Force Cadet school to become a pilot, and trained to fly open cockpit planes, twin engines and the four-engine B-17.

His 6th Bomb Group was sent to Tinian Island in the Marianas, and flew 17 missions over Japan. While piloting a B-29 bomber, he was shot down over Tokyo on May 24, 1945 during a fire raid, and was held as a prisoner of war for 100 days in the Kempi Tai and Omori prison camps. He was awarded the Purple Heart.

He was a member of the Prisoner of War Association and a life member of the Disabled American Veterans.

For 40 years Rollin operated his family farm, many of those years including dairy herds, a family farm homesteaded by his ancestors in 1831. In 2001 the Ohio Department of Agriculture awarded him the Ohio Outstanding Century Farm Award, an honor bestowed on families with a rich heritage and inspiring dedication to agriculture in Ohio. He was a former member of the Morrow County Farm Bureau.

Rollin also worked for the Lexington Local School District 34 years, as both a school bus driver and also as Bus Driver Supervisor, retiring in 1980.

He was a member of the Steam Corners United Methodist Church, and served his community as a member of the Morrow Rural Electric Co-Op Board for 36 years, and had formerly served that Board as its treasurer, and also served on the Ohio Rural Electric Board for 16 years.

He is survived by his wife Gloria M. Ferguson Heidlebaugh, whom he married November 9, 1946; their daughter and son-in-law Sharon and Steve Schwarzwalder of Shreve; their son and daughter-in-law Randy and Cindy Heidlebaugh of Lexington; five grandchildren Scott, Stacey and Stephanie Schwarzwalder and Lindsey and Chelsea Heidlebaugh; and brother and sister-in-law Gene and Mary Heidlebaugh of Lexington; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother Gerald Heidlebaugh, and two sisters Edwina Emminger and Helen Courtright.

The family will receive friends Monday, September 15, 2003 from 2-4 and 6-8 pm in the Lexington Avenue Snyder Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held Tuesday at 11 am in Lexington Cemetery, with Pastor James Jensen officiating. The Richland County Joint Veterans Council will hold military graveside honors.

Memorial contributions to Steam Corners United Methodist Church may be made at the funeral home.

Online condolences may be made to the family by visiting: www.snyderfuneralhomes.com