Clara Sweinhagen


Clara Emma Sweinhagen, 99, Defiance, Ohio, passed away Sunday, December 22, 2019.

She was born in Defiance on September 10, 1920, to William and Helen (Bachkaus) Arps. Clara married Ralph Sweinhagen on August 21, 1940, at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Ridgeville Corners, Ohio, and was officiated by Rev. Henry Ide.

Clara took over caring for the household at a very young age after her mother passed away. She spent a lot of time with her grandmother learning to cook and care for her younger brother. She had a green thumb and enjoyed growing African violets indoors and tending her flower beds outside. Clara kept busy volunteering with the Ridgeville Legion Auxiliary, Jewell Fire Department Auxiliary and the Ladies Aide Society at church. The family operated a registered guernsey dairy farm for over 60 years. When she wasn’t working on the farm, Clara worked as a waitress at Rainbow Restaurant and was a clerk at the Murphy Store in Defiance. In her later years, she spent 25 years helping at her son’s store, Ken’s Kerryout in Liberty Center.

Clara is survived by her children, Ronald Sweinhagen of Hillsdale, Michigan, and Karl (Pat) Sweinhagen, Kenneth (Ann) Sweinhagen and Vernon Sweinhagen, all of Defiance, Ohio; 12 grandchildren; 43 great-grandchildren; 20 great-great-grandchildren, with three more on the way; and her brother, William Arps.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph; daughters-in-law, Sandy and Donna; grandchildren, Michelle and Rodney; and sister-in-law, Lois.

Friends and family will be received at the Rodenberger-Gray Funeral Home, 1010 Westmoreland Avenue, Napoleon, Ohio 43545, on Friday, December 27, 2019, from 2-7 p.m. Funeral services will be held at St. Peter Lutheran Church, 20191 U.S. 6, Ridgeville Corners, Ohio 43555, on Saturday, December 28, 2019, at 11 a.m. with an hour of viewing prior to the service. Interment will follow at Riverview Memory Gardens, Defiance.

Memorial contributions may be made to the church or CHP Hospice. Online condolences may be shared with the family at

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