Thomas Lee Rath, 83, of Defiance, passed away with his family at his side on Thursday, December 6, 2012, in the home he built in 1957.
He was born on April 14, 1929 to Thomas E. and Marian (Andrew) Rath in Toledo, OH. On
December 26, 1954, he married Karen M. Abele at the St. John Evangelical and Reformed Church in Defiance, OH.
He graduated from Defiance High School in 1947 and attended The Ohio State University where he was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, ROTC, OSU wrestling team and was a Varsity "O" recipient in wrestling. He was also a two-time Varsity "O" recipient in football and a member of the 1949 Big Ten co-championship team and the 1950 Rose Bowl championship team. He received a bachelor of science degree in agricultural engineering in 1951.
After graduation, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Called to active duty in February 1952, he served in the Korean War. He received the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Stars, the United Nations Service Medal and two Presidential Unit Citations. In 2000, he received the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. Promoted to First Lieutenant in April 1953, his most significant duty assignment was as Commander, Company E 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based in Fort Meade, MD.
After discharge from the service in January 1955, he joined his father and brother in the family concrete business. He became co-owner of Rath Construction Company and retired in 1992.
He was a member of St. Paul's United Methodist Church and VFW Post 3360, both of Defiance. He was an active Mason for most of his adult life, serving in several leadership positions and receiving numerous special honors and awards. He was Past Master of Tuendawie Blue Lodge No. 195; Past High Priest of Ensawocsa Chapter 89, Royal Arch Masons; Past Illustrious Master of Occonoxee Council 55, Royal and Select Masons; and Past Eminent Commander of Defiance Commandery No. 30. He was a Knight of the York Cross of Honor; Past First Arch Adjutant of Grand Council, Royal and Select Masons; Past Sovereign Master of Northwestern Council, Allied Mason Degree; and a 32nd Degree Mason of the Scottish Rite Valley of Toledo. He served many years as President of the Defiance Masonic Temple Board and was awarded the Knights Templar Cross of Honor by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar in September 2011.
Surviving are two daughters, Laura (Fred) Connor and Linda (Ric) Booher, both of Defiance, OH; a son, Thomas N. (Dawn) Rath of Defiance, OH; nine grandchildren, Elizabeth (Corey) Deming of Defiance, OH, Brian Connor of Seattle, WA, Neil Connor of Toledo, OH, Bridget Connor of Columbus, OH, and Maureen Connor, Kevin Connor, DJ Rath, Madison Rath and Danica Rath, all of Defiance, OH; two great-grandchildren, Caleb and Logan Deming of Defiance OH; and many nieces, nephews and loving friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; loving wife, Karen M. (Abele) Rath, in January of 2010; brother, C. William Rath; and sister-in-law, Patricia Rath.
Visitation will be held on Monday from 2-8 p.m. at Hanenkrath-Clevenger-Schaffer Funeral Home, Defiance, OH, with Masonic services at 7 p.m. An additional hour of visitation will be held from 10-11 a.m. on Tuesday at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Defiance, OH.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Defiance, OH, with Rev. Michael Donnally officiating.
Burial will take place at Riverside Cemetery with military graveside honors conducted by VFW Post 3360.
Memorials are suggested to the St. Paul's United Methodist Building Fund or Defiance Masonic Temple Building Fund. Online condolences can be given at www.HCSFuneralHome.com.