JUST ANOTHER DAY IN THE LIFE OF A TRUSTEE
Memory by Mildred Filbrun Heck
My father, Ed Filbrun, was one of three Trustees in Wayne Township (now Huber Heights) in Montgomery County, Ohio, back in the late 1930s and '40s. One of the duties of the Trustees was to see to the burial of a deceased derelict or impoverished resident in the township. One spring the body of an old recluse had been found in the dilapidated shack where he lived.
My father believed that every person deserved a decent burial, but for these charity cases township funds were available only for a simple wooden coffin. Father called on his old school friends, two brothers who were undertakers in Fairfield (now Fairborn), Ohio. They agreed to provide a charity funeral and picked up the body.
The undertakers were told the grave would be dug and ready by 10 AM the next day. During those Great Depression years, there were no funds to pay a gravedigger, so Dad called the other two Trustees who were both farmers like he was.
Early the next morning the three men met, shovels in hand, in a corner of a small township cemetery. They set to work digging on a cold, drizzling March day. At exactly 10 AM the old black hearse rolled in and backed up to the open grave. The cold wet Trustees stood by with hats in hand. One had brought a Bible to say a few words, though none of them knew the deceased.
The undertakers flung open the double back doors of the hearse - only to find it empty. They had forgotten to bring the corpse! The cold, wet somber event turned to laughter as the Trustees climbed into the dry hearse and rode the eight miles to Fairfield for the coffin. The body was duly buried, the undertakers left and the three men quickly filled in the grave. Then they hurried home for dry clothes and their dinner.
When Father came in our long farm lane, there sat the old black hearse in front of our house. The undertaker brothers were waiting in the kitchen of our warm farmhouse, ready for their payment - the serving of a hot noon meal. It was just another day in the life of a Wayne Township Trustee.
|This calling card is the only campaign material Ed Filbrun used during the 15 years he served as Wayne Township Trustee.|
|- This story has been edited by Mrs. Heck’s brother, William S. Filbrun|
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