A hardworking man, who gave his all no matter what he did will be remembered for that, those who knew Larry Fledderjohann and worked alongside him for years say.
“I met Larry as a board member and he became a very good friend,” Auglaize County Elections Board Chairman Fran Engle said of Fledderjohann who at age 68 died Monday evening at St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima.
He had been battling several types of cancer, including spine and brain cancer, for the past nine months.
“He fought it all the way as hard as he could fight,” Auglaize County Elections Board Director Carolyn Campbell said.
A farmer in rural New Knoxville most of his life, Fledderjohann would still tend to his herd of dairy cattle, which often meant milking them at 3 a.m. He performed these tasks up until the end.
Engle said Fledderjohann may have been a small statured man, but pulling more than his own weight whether helping at the Elections Board office or on the farm earned him his nickname, “Muscles.”
“He was our muscles,” Engle said. “He was always, always willing to be there, whenever he was needed, whatever he was doing. He never hesitated.”
The sentiment was echoed by others who served with Fledderjohann and got to know of his strong work ethic.
Several commented about his commitment to his role on the board, a position he had held since 2003, when he was appointed by the Auglaize County Democratic Central Committee.
Despite being in a weakened state from his battle with cancer, Fledderjohann spent the entire day, from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., helping the board during the general election in November.
It was his wife, Paula, who brought him that day and stayed with him to help him fulfill his duties because she knew that was so important to him.
“Even when he was not feeling well, he was here,” Campbell said.
At state conventions, he was known to be the first one out on the dance floor and loved having a good time. Even across the state, he rarely met a stranger.
“He was a fun person,” Engle said. “He was very good at his work but he made everything fun, it was never a chore with him.”
Fellow Board of Elections member Bill Roth said Fledderjohann was “great in all ways.”
Fledderjohann served as a mentor to Roth when he was appointed to his position in 2007, demonstrating roles and responsibilities as an Election Board member. He modeled keeping his mind on the business at hand and remaining impartial.
“He knew how elections were run and made me feel welcome,” Roth said.” What I’ll really miss his is experience, his knowledge. He had a lot of common sense. As a farmer you have to have that.”
Campbell described Fledderjohann as valuable to the office and county elections.
“He kept track of so many things that needed to be done outside of the office,” Campbell said. “He was instrumental in making sure equipment was delivered on time and that it got done.
“He was always here if you needed something,” she said. “You just had to pick up the phone and he would be here to help with anything.”
Those who knew Fledderjohann also said they didn’t know anyone who would say a bad word about him.
“Larry knew people and he know how to get along with people,” Roth said. “Everyone seemed to know him. He was very easy to talk to.”
A proud father of two sons, Mark and Mike, Fledderjohann was also a proud grandfather and lately had been tickled at his grandson, Garet Fledderjohann’s, recent success as a guard for the St. Marys Roughriders basketball team.
Brent Henschen said his neighbor and friend of more than 30 years was an easy-going, gentle man who always pushed himself and fought hard in his battle with cancer.
“He was a hard worker no matter what he did,” Henschen said.
Fledderjohann was a Democrat, who could work with any one on both sides of the aisle, said Henschen, who heads the Auglaize County Democratic Party.
“He always carried more than his share of the work, even when lots of people would have said to hell with it, he came in and went above and beyond,” Henschen said. “He was an all-around good man who is leaving some big shoes to fill.”