Saturday, April 12, 2003

Obituary: Robert Deters Sr. led large west-side S&L


Faith helped in times of tragedy

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo]
Mr. Deters

HARRISON - Robert H. Deters Sr., retired president of United Savings Association in Price Hill, died April 4 at Bayley Place in Delhi Township. The Harrison resident was 94.

He was a salt-of-the-earth guy, said his nephew, Terry Deters of Price Hill: a devout Catholic, a hard worker, a humble man - a true west-sider.

Born and raised in Price Hill, he was a 1926 graduate of Elder High School. After a year of business school, he went to work for the Price Hill Electric Building and Loan on Warsaw Avenue.

Mr. Deters became president of United Savings - one of the biggest savings and loans on the west side - and served on the board of the Federal Home Loan Bank.

In 1967, Mr. Deters and his wife, Edith, were returning from a bankers convention in Los Angeles on TWA Flight 128 when the plane crashed on approach to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Seventy people - including Mrs. Deters - lost their lives. Mr. Deters was one of only 12 who escaped.

After the crash, "he turned to my aunt and said, 'Edith! Edith!' but he could see she was already dead," his nephew said. "The plane broke open right in front of his seat and all he had to do was step out. He ran from it and it exploded."

Mr. Deters had lived in Harrison, where he purchased a 200-acre farm, since 1950. He founded the Share Shop - a food and clothing pantry in Harrison - in 1950 and was a trustee at the time of his death. He was also chairman of the Century and Silver Celebration for the village of Harrison.

He was a 53-year member of St. John the Baptist Church in Harrison and active with St. Vincent DePaul for more than 30 years.

Mr. Deters lost a son, James M. Deters, a Jesuit, to cancer in 1972 and he retired from the bank the following year.

On June 18, 1992, a tornado flattened Mr. Deters' barns, outbuildings and trees. He saw the tornado and turned to run into the house.

"He hardly got a step in the door," before it knocked him down, his nephew said. "It didn't do anything to the house at all."

A humble man, "he relied on his faith to get him through."

His second wife, Ruth L. Boerman Puthof Deters, died in the 1980s.

Survivors include four sons, Richard of Northport, N.Y., Thomas of Brookville, Robert Jr. of Pinehurst, N.C., and Ed of Groesbeck; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Visitation is 9 a.m. Monday at the John C. Brater Funeral Home, 201 S. Vine St., Harrison. The funeral follows at 10:45 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Church, 110 N. Hill St., Harrison. Burial is at St. John Cemetery in Harrison.

Memorials: St. John the Baptist St. Vincent DePaul Society, 110 N. Hill St., Harrison, OH 45030.

E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com




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