A teacher,friend, hero


Dwight Ketcham was my brother-in-law. He was 15 years older than me. He married my oldest sister June Spencer Ketcham.

We grew up in Lima. Dwight was a strong man physically and emotionally. He taught me a lot. Dwight was very handy. One time he replaced a door at my parents’ house; I was young and watching him. While he tore out the old door he gave me a job. Go pull out the nails, pound the nails on the sidewalk and straighten them out. I did it and showed him. Not straight enough. Do it again.

The lesson was more than about straightening old rusty nails. Don’t waste anything. You save it because you could use it again. Of course, Dwight was a child of the Great Depression.

He served in the Navy on a destroyer during World War II. In the battle of the Coral Sea the American Navy ambushed a large convoy of Japanese warships. Dwight said the captain told the boiler mate to run the steam up to maximum pressure. When the boat took off Dwight said the boat jumped out of the water. In another battle Dwight was blown off the ship and rescued by another boat towing a net.

Dwight served as a firefighter on the Lima Fire Department for many years. In his off work days he restored houses, welded a pavilion for one of Lima Locomotive Works historic steam engines and helped raise a family.

His lessons for me were about far more than saving old rusty nails.

He was my hero. Peace to you, my brother and teacher.

Donald L. Spencer, Oberlin

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