LIMA — An online fundraiser for the family of a Lima man who drowned Sunday while attempting to rescue his dog from the rain-swollen Ottawa River surpassed its $15,000 goal in less than 24 hours.
By mid-afternoon Tuesday, more than 200 people had donated $16,350 to a GoFundMe page set up for Eric Nolte.
The GoFundMe page was started by Matt Dugan, of Medina. Dugan wrote, “I hadn’t seen Eric in some time, but memories are swirling of the stupid stuff that made us laugh back in early 2000. He was a great guy with an awesome laugh and smile that would brighten a room or anyone’s day.”
Nolte is survived by his wife, Jenna, and their two children: Hayden, a second-grader, and Madalynn, a first-grader. He was active in coaching youth sports and worked at Mercy-St. Rita’s Medical Center as an X-Ray technologist.
Nick and Annie Liening wrote of Nolte, “The teamwork, time and money required to raise kids can be so overwhelming. Let’s dig deep and give Eric’s wife all the help we can. Equal sacrifice, the amounts will differ. God Bless everyone for always coming together.”
Lima police said it’s believed Nolte, 35, went into the Ottawa River north of Adgate and Fort Amanda roads around 2:14 p.m. Sunday. Another person who was walking with Nolte pulled the dog out of the water safely.
The Lima Fire Department launched a river rescue shortly thereafter to try to find Nolte. The American Township Fire Department was also dispatched with a boat further downstream.
His body was found at 3:38 p.m. Sunday by the Lima Fire Department boat crew behind the Shawnee Township Fire Department.
Allen County Coroner’s investigator Jamie Sizemore said the cause of death is an accidental drowning.
Donations to help defray funeral expenses for the Nolte family may be made by going to j.mp/2V5fSqy.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Nolte will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Rose Catholic Church. Friends may call from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday at Chiles-Laman Funeral and Cremation Services, Shawnee Chapel.