It Happened in Crawford County: Dwight Rothhaar and a career that made an impact on others

Dwight Rothhaar was born in Chatfield Township to Perry and Gladys Candel Rothhaar in a family of seven children − Dwight, Donald, Wayne, Kevin, Lyle, Roger and Pat. Their father was a farmer and also did custom farming, baling hay, two threshing machines, combine, corn husking and more.

The tractor was an old-time, steel-wheeled Aultman Taylor that went about 2 mph. He did custom sheep shearing, as many as 100 sheep at $10 a day. The money was needed for the care of seven children during the Depression.

When WWII started, Donald was drafted into the Army and Wayne into the Navy. Perry had to stop doing custom work, and began farming to make a living. He eventually purchased the old Burkbacher 80-acre farm or $12,000. He sold $4,000 worth of white oak trees to lower the price.

Dwight said he was a kid full of pep. He was ornery and earned the nicknames trooper, snooper and sniper. He said he was always in trouble, especially with his mom.

Dwight started school at Chatfield. The principal was Lloyd Volk and one of his classmates was Johanna Brown, the daughter of Milton and Eula Brown. Milton started the Chatfield Hardware and Eula taught school at Chatfield. Dwight said he teased Johanna and wasn’t really nice to her, but in the end he ended up marrying her.

'Wow,' and that was it as young loved bloomed

From about the eighth grade, while standing in the lunch line, he said “wow” — that was it. They dated off and on until the end of their senior year. She was valedictorian, and Dwight was at the other end of the class, he said. Johanna’s mom wanted her to go to college. She went to Heidelberg, and he went to Ashland College.

Dwight earned money washing dishes and all kinds of labor, especially mopping, at Ashland Samaritan Hospital. He learned a lot, but he was also out of money.

Dwight Rothhaar is a Crawford County native who was a teacher, coach and administrator for 37 years.
Dwight Rothhaar is a Crawford County native who was a teacher, coach and administrator for 37 years.

With an old 1942 Plymouth, debt free, college and car paid for and $25 in his pocket, he looked for a summer job.

Dwight and Johanna married Jan. 31, 1955. Their first home was a 19-foot mobile home in Tiffin. Johanna went back to college. Dwight took a job at Kroger in Findlay where the area manager was training him as a store manager. Circumstances caused Dwight to leave and take a job at National Machinery in Tiffin. When his wife graduated from college, he had two daughters on his lap and when Dwight graduated, she had the third child on her lap.

Johanna was hired in the Thompson School system, and Dwight finished his college in 1960, majoring in math education. He taught high school math in the Marion City Schools for the next two years. In 1964, he was hired at Wynford, teaching math for the next 10 years. He also was the track coach.

Dwight received a stipend in 1968 from the National Science Foundation in Mathematics while working on his master’s degree at the University of Montana (Missoula). They paid his salary — it was for one year — and gave the couple a chance to travel the out West. They took in as much as they could to see the area.

The family left Montana in 1969, and Dwight went back to teaching at Wynford.

Helping kids at camp is spiritual experience

He was coaching track again and found out he was losing the kids because they were getting jobs and other issues. Pastor Reuben Leuthold asked Dwight to supervise the kids at Wayside Chapel during a weeklong camp, which featured a special speaker. Dwight said many of the youth got saved at these summer camps, including himself. He answered the call to serve the Lord, to God be the Glory.

Dwight also taught at Mansfield Christian for one year and then Mansfield Temple Christian for 10 years as principal/teacher. He came back to Wayside Christian School as principal until he retired in 2002. He was a leader of many youth groups, including every continent in the world.

Johanna passed away in May 2019. She was the love of his life, using Proverbs 31 at her funeral. Their children are: Sharon Cole, a concert pianist and mother of 10 whom she homeschooled; Carol Compton, retired elementary teacher; Doug, director of IT for Emerson Tool Company; and Jean Zimmerman, who has worked at Bob Evans for 30 years as a cook.

Dwight has more than 40 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Dwight said he went into education initially for five years to see if he liked it. He ended up teaching for 37 years. If he had to do it over it again, he would do the same thing. He loved watching kids grow academically, spiritually and living their lives. He still gets letters from former students.

Go online for more of Mary Fox’s stories and photos on If you are interested in sharing a story, write Mary Fox, 931 Marion Road, Bucyrus, OH 44820 or email

This article originally appeared on Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum: Dwight Rothhaar embraced a life of helping and teaching others