Roger L. Vellequette, 86, formerly of Ida Township, co-owner of the former Vellmar Foods in west Toledo, died Monday evening in his Sylvania home. Roger was a 1952 graduate of Toledo Central Catholic High School, where he met his loving wife of nearly 55 years, the late Charlotte Vellequette, who died in 2008 after a year-long battle with ovarian cancer. A former employee of the Kroger Co. and Churchill’s Supermarkets, Roger and Charlotte opened their own independent grocery store in West Toledo in 1976, Vellmar Foods. The couple had adopted the name – a truncated form of Vellequette’s Market – because it was easier to write on checks, but which led many customers to believe the shortened version was the family surname. During its 17 years in operation, the store employed all of the couple’s six children or their spouses at various points, and further bonded an already close family. After Vellmar’s closed, he worked for several years at the neighboring Five Star store, Schorling’s Market, where he stayed in contact with many of his former customers. Roger was the youngest of four children, but a welding accident had claimed the life of his father when he was less than 2 years old, leaving his mother, Edna, to raise the family by herself during the Great Depression. As a result, he looked to his older siblings, and subsequently to his father-in-law, for male role models. It is Roger’s lasting legacy that a man who grew up without a father himself taught so many of those around him how best to be one. A kind, effusive man who was unashamed to show his emotions, Roger had a sharp mind and a dry wit throughout his long life – a life which centered around his large, extended family. He was in close contact with all of his children, grandchildren and great-grand-children, as well as his many nieces and nephews. During his life with Charlotte, the couple loved to travel, bowl, and play cards, always with family and friends, and especially loved celebrating Christmas and other holidays together with family. After Charlotte’s passing, Roger relied on the love and comfort of his six children and their families to heal his heart. In 2012, Roger was introduced to Susie Klump, the widowed neighbor of his oldest son. Together, the two surviving spouses found second loves in each other and built a wonderful, loving, and caring relationship that continued until Roger’s sudden passing, with Susie at his side. In addition to Charlotte, Roger was preceded in death by his brothers, Murlin and Grover, and sister, Bernadine Hall, as well as his son-in-law, Michael Notario. He is survived by his daughters, Patty (David) Duvall, Karen Vellequette, Susan (John) Albring, and Judy (Dave Edelbrock) Notario; sons, Jim (Lauralee O’Neil) Vellequette and Larry (Robin) Vellequette; grandchildren, Lyndy (Chris) Zaleski, Mark (Kristy) Duvall, Bobbie (Jason) Rice, Jayme (Jason) Parker, Todd (Katie) Albring, and Toni (Tim) Hubbard, Nicole (Shad) Notario-Risk and Derek (April) Notario, and Micheal, Samuel, and Gwendolyn Vellequette; and 16 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday in the Reeb Funeral Home, Sylvania, with services at 11 a.m. Monday in St. Joseph Church, Sylvania. In lieu of flowers, the family requests any contributions be made to www.veteransmatter.org, which helps homeless veterans into housing, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, or a charity of the donor’s choice. Online condolences to reebfunerahome.com
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