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This and That - The Dienstberger Foundation & Family PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, July 27, 2013 12:00 AM

Most residents of our fine community have heard of the Arnold C. Dienstberger Foundation and its generosity. In fact, we have all been touched by this foundation in one way or another through grants which have been awarded to the many organizations in the Delphos School District. However, did you know how this foundation was formed?

It all began back in 1963, when Arnold C. Dienstbeerger set up an irrevocable trust as a memorial of his wife, Emma, who passed away on the 31st day of July in 1963.

Arnold was born 12 March 1892 in Delphos to Charles and Rose (Wiedeman) Dienstberger. He married Emma Buchholtz on 2 December 1924. They each had several siblings but their marriage was not blessed with children. Emma was born in Middle Point, the daughter of Lewis and Mary Buchholtz. At the time of her death in 1963, she was survived by two brothers: Herman F. Buchholtz of Delphos and Charles L. Buchholtz of Van Wert; and two sisters, Mrs. Howard Hughes of Van Wert and Mrs. Anna Showalter of Fort Wayne. A brother and sister were deceased. Emma was a member of St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church, the American Lutheran Church Women and the Delphos Chapter No. 25, Order of the Eastern Star. Her burial was in the family mausoleum in the Walnut Grove Cemetery

Arnold spent most of his life in Delphos. At one time, the Dienstberger’s made their home at 627 W. Fifth St. in Delphos. His siblings were Cedelia, who married A. O. Smith; William C., who married Zoe Dill; and Carl, who married Mollie Smith.

Arnold was a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Delphos. He graduated from the University of Chicago Law School, was a veteran of World War I and a member of the Delphos American Legion and the Delphos Post 3035, VFW. He was a member of the Delphos Chapter 105 Royal Arch Masons, the Delphos Council 72 Royal and Select Masters, and a 50 year member of Hope Lodge 214, Free and Accepted Masons. Dienstberger purchased the City Fuel in 1924 from F. O. Brotherton and sold the business and retired in 1942. Arnold Dienstberger passed away 16 June ,1980, at the Delphos Memorial Home. Services were at the Lutheran Church with entombment in the family mausoleum at Walnut Grove Cemetery.

In 1964, Dienstberger made an offer of $76,500 to build the Delphos Memorial Home for the aged. The offer was conditional upon the residents of Delphos raising the additional funds necessary to construct and operate the home. The money was set aside in an irrevocable trust. The home would be self-sustaining. A group of Delphos and area residents had just formed an organization to build an old folks home at the intersection of US 30 North and South. Dienstberger was a member of that committee. The town raised a substantial amount of money for the project.

A timeline of the establishment of nursing homes in Delphos might be helpful:

1963 — Del Ward opened on West Third Street, named in honor of Mary Ward. George and Bertha Grothous were managers.

1966 — Del Ward was purchased by the Dienstberger Foundation.

1966 — The 50-bed Delphos Memorial Home was built.

1973 — An addition was added to The Del Ward Home from a donation by Dr. Chambers and named in honor of his wife, Sarah Jane Chambers.

1978 — A 50-bed expansion was added to the Memorial Home.

1998 — The Delphos Memorial Home and the Sarah Jane Nursing Home were sold to Vancrest.

Following the sale of these two homes, the money became part of The Arnold C. Dienstberger Foundation. The Foundation began giving grants in 1998. The grants for the first year amounted to $62,800. By 2010, the grants amounted to $300,000 and in 2011, it was $305,000. This past year 2012, the foundation gave $325,000 to a number of organizations in the Delphos School District. Since 1963, the Dienstberger Foundation has given away 3.6 million dollars.

The Delphos Swimming Pool was the recipient of a very generous gift of $50,000 for needed repairs to the wall of the pool. Without this grant, the wonderful pool, a WPA Project in the 1940s, might not have been able to open.

We should all be thankful to Arnold and Emma Dienstberger for this wonderful gift, and to the board of the foundation for their diligent monitoring of the whole of the foundation.

Current members of the board are Rick Miller, Bill Massa, Doug Harter, Nick Clark, Lonnie Miller, Doris Neumeier, Jerry Gilden and John Nomina.

Some recipients of the grants are The Delphos Police and Fire Departments, both the public and parochial schools, Stadium Project, Delphos Senior Citizen Center, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, The St. Vincent DePaul Society, The Delphos Christmas Project, The Delphos Canal Commission, The Postal Museum and the Concerts in the Park. The foundation also provided the money to purchase the land for the Veterans Memorial Park.

The immigrant ancestor of the Dienstberger families was Jacob, who arrived in 1850 at the age of 18.


The history of the Dienstberger Families will be continued on Aug. 10 in the Delphos Herald.


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