Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Urban Siegrist, 87, Fort Wright pioneer


WWII vet first town marshal, police chief

By Travis Gettys
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FORT WRIGHT - Urban J. Siegrist helped build the city of Fort Wright from the ground up.

Working in the late 1930s for homebuilders Theodore Drees and George Kreutzjans, Mr. Siegrist constructed houses in the area, which was considered the country at the time, said his son, John T. Siegrist of Wexford, Pa.

As the community grew, residents met at Mr. Siegrist's home, and city of Fort Wright incorporation papers were signed there.

Mr. Siegrist served as the city's first town marshal, an unpaid position, and was a charter member of the Fort Wright Civic Club and the Fort Wright Volunteer Fire Department.

"They went around collecting donations so they could buy the first fire truck," said his son.

Urban Siegrist, 87, died Saturday at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Edgewood.

Mr. Siegrist came to Northern Kentucky in 1936 from his hometown of St. Peter, Ohio, and began working for Drees and Kreutzjans. After construction was halted during World War II, Mr. Siegrist went to work for Heckett Engineering Co. in 1943.

He was drafted into the Army in 1944, serving in the infantry in Europe and fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.

Mr. Siegrist returned from the service in 1946 and resumed his duties as town marshal, then became Fort Wright's first police chief.

"Dad did it all voluntarily, and he really enjoyed doing it," said his son. "He did it for the pride of seeing the city grow."

Mr. Siegrist was superintendent of Heckett Engineering in Wilder for 29 years and an usher for more than 40 years at St. Agnes Church in Fort Wright.

Other survivors include his wife, Johanna F. Geiman Siegrist; another son, Anthony J. Siegrist of Villa Hills; two daughters, Rose Ann Beckmeyer of Alexandria and Mary Lou Siegrist of Fort Wright; a brother, Edwin of St. Peter, Ohio; a sister, Imelda Wilker of St. Marys, Ohio; and 11 grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday at Linnemann Funeral Home, 30 Commonwealth Ave., Erlanger. A Mass of Christian burial will be at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at St. Agnes Church, 1680 Dixie Hwy., Fort Wright. A reception will immediately follow in the church's undercroft. Entombment will be at St. Mary Cemetery in Fort Mitchell.

Memorials: American Heart Association, 333 Guthrie St., Suite 207, Louisville, KY 40202.

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E-mail tgettys@enquirer.com




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