Rod E. Klesach, 96, of rural Ashland, passed away Friday, June 20, 2014. He was born April 1, 1918 in Medina County, to Ed and Anna Klesach.
Residing for many years in Medina County, then Wayne and Ashland Counties, he remained a hay and grain farmer his entire life. He graduated from Granger High School in 1936 then attended Ohio State University, studying agricultural science for 1 ½ years. He was called up for military service, therefore, not being able to complete his college education.
Mr. Klesach flew mail service before WWII. He was a pilot and flight engineer for the U.S. Navy, flying search and rescue in the Pacific theatre. He flew both two engine and four engine PBY’s, or P Boats, as they are referred to in the Air Sea Rescue. When he was shot down for the third time, in a four engine plane, (the 3rd time was the charm), it led to his medical discharge. He was the only one who survived out of a ten man crew. Stranded for three days on a creosote raft, (before being rescued), he burned his lungs, as the creosote got so hot it would bubble during the day. And of course, it was freezing at night. It took several years before his lungs would heal, so that he could sleep throughout the night without constantly waking. The metal plate in his head didn’t help.
Returning to farming after the war, he married Dorothy Brutcher in 1952. Dorothy passed away in 1997. He also worked for the postal service for many years while farming. He also worked for U-Brand in Ashland for a 10 year period of time, when George Dever asked him to help out.
Surviving are son, Edward R. Klesack of rural Perrysville; daughter, Donna Aber, Ashland; and stepdaughter, Mary Jane Merschdorf (John) of Mansfield. Also surviving is brother, Franklin of Medina County; a niece and nephews; three grandchildren, Paul (Julie) Aber, Aaron Aber, Grace Aber and several great-grandchildren.
Previously deceased was one sister, Marion.
A reception, to honor his memory, will be held at 6 P.M., Monday, June 30, 2014, at the Grace Brethern Church, 1144 W. Main Street Ashland, Ohio 44805.