LIMA — Raymond L. Dorley was born Glynwood in 1898, the same year the Lima Packing Company came into existence on the North Main Street site of the former King and Day Co., a meat-packing firm which traced its roots to 1855.
Dorley eventually went to work for the Lima Packing Company, becoming the first of four generations of Dorleys who have carried Allen County’s tradition in the meat-packing industry through to the present day.
A part of that heritage was the Cantieny-Strawn Co., which was formed in 1906 as Hoegner and Cantieny at 324 N. Main St.
Hoegner & Cantieny touted the quality of its meats in a Feb. 13, 1912, ad in the Lima Daily News. “Good fat steers cost more than thin cows; good fat lambs cost more than thin sheep and good, fat calves cost more than thin western calves or bucket calves … . Our long experience in the meat business gives you the best meats at the lowest prices because we buy in large quantities. Our facilities for prompt service cannot be excelled.”
By 1948 Hoegner & Cantieny had become Cantieny-Strawn and was operating out of a plant near Columbus Grove. Wood County native Lee M. Strawn began working for Hoegner & Cantieny in the early 1930s. He purchased an interest in the firm in 1942 and operated it with Richard Cantieny, nephew of N.H. Cantieny who, along with F.C. Hoegner, had founded the firm. Cantieny-Strawn employed about 20 people.
With Strawn ailing — he would die in 1954 — the company was sold. “The Cantieny-Strawn Co., local meat packing firm, has been sold to a three-man local combine,” the News wrote on Nov. 27, 1953. The new owners all had ties to the Lima Packing Company. They were joined by Dorley, who, according to an article in the July 10, 2000, edition of the Blade of Toledo, had been one of eight partners in the Lima Packing Company. The 1954 City Directory lists Dorley as vice president of Cantieny-Strawn.
The Lima Packing Company, which moved in 1906 from the North Main Street site to a plant in the 200 block of South Central Avenue, closed in 1957 after more than five decades as a regional meat packer.
Meanwhile, Cantieny-Strawn became the Pride of Lima Provision Co. and moved to a plant at 1304 Neubrecht Road. “This firm has been in the meat packing business since the turn of the century, and livestock, chiefly beef cattle and hogs grown on northwest Ohio farms, are either purchased directly or at the auction houses,” the Van Wert Times-Bulletin wrote on March 31, 1964. “The packing and processing plant handles about 200 heads of cattle and 300 hogs each week. Fresh meats, such as beef quarters, or halves, pork cuts of all sorts, and a complete line of packaged luncheon meats, skinless wieners, bologna, corned beef, smoked meats, are available at all times to stores served by the provision firm.
“Delivery trucks from Pride of Lima make regular scheduled trips to retail outlets in Delphos, Van Wert, Kenton, Findlay, Defiance and intermediate points,” the Time-Bulletin noted, adding that “all the dressed beef and pork sold by Pride of Lima is slaughtered in its own plant.” Among Pride of Lima’s officers was Raymond L. Dorley, president, and his son, Raymond B. Dorley, who was a vice president.
In 1964, the Dorleys were among a group of investors who formed Keystone Brand Meats, a name taken from a brand of meats put out by the old Lima Packing Co. “It all started with my great-grandfather,” Pete Dorley, the current president and the fourth generation to work for Keystone told The 419 in February 2015. “He was a partner in another business called Pride of Lima. His son Raymond B. Dorley, then joined the family business when he got back from World War II. He became the best cattle buyer in the country for the rest of his career.”
Raymond L. Dorley died in 1968 and his son, Raymond B. Dorley, died in 2011. Raymond B. Dorley’s son, Dave Dorley, took over the operation in 1980.
“Originally, the business raised beef on the family farm, and processed the beef to supply restaurants and grocery stores throughout Ohio and Indiana,” the online Ohio Country Journal reported in May of this year. “In 1980, Dave Dorley became the third generation owner/operator. Dave built a new processing facility, upgraded the entire operation to USDA standards and built a meat cannery. Today, headed by fourth generation CEO Pete Dorley, his father, Dave, and brother-in-law Steve Conrad, Keystone Meats offers a variety of butchering and processing services to the Lima community and beyond.
“There are three integrated divisions of our company; we run a retail butcher shop, wholesale fresh meat, and operate a cannery and soup base business,” Pete Dorley told the Ohio Country Journal.
“He (Dave) really grew up in the business,” Pete Dorley told The 419. “We all did. When he assumed control in 1980 is when he built our slaughterhouse that we have here.” “Here” is 3885 Harding Highway, where at one time a retail store known as Don’s Market was located. Today, Keystone operates the slaughterhouse and a canning facility on the site in addition to the retail meat market.
Keystone also houses the annual Allen County Junior Fair carcass show. “The carcass show is held on the Wednesday following the county fair’s close each year,” the News wrote on Sept. 3, 2000. “The show takes place in the freezers in the back of the facility just down and across Harding Highway from the fairgrounds. The carcasses in the show come from top-place finishers in the Junior Fair auction held the Friday before.”
Reach Greg Hoersten at firstname.lastname@example.org.