Cover photo for John V. Dye, Jr.'s Obituary
John V. Dye, Jr. Profile Photo

John V. Dye, Jr.

August 18, 1929 — October 23, 2014

John V. Dye, Jr.

John Van Ausdal Dye Jr. died peacefully in his apartment on October 23, 2014 at the Oak Park Arms in Oak Park, IL. Daughters Mary Dye, Daughter-in-law Debra Jensen and Susanne Dye Rose were with him. Except for the last 4 years when he moved to Oak Park to be near Mary, he was a lifelong resident of Preble County, as were 5 generations before him.

Born John Van Ausdal Dye Jr. to Myrtle Dye and John V. Dye Sr. on August 18, 1929, He attended Eaton schools through his sophomore year, during which time he met the love of his life, Martha A. Ritzert, in Campbell's Drug Store. In 1945 he enrolled in the University of Chicago, followed by course work at Miami University. His interest in studies proved fleeting at both institutions. No so his interest in Martha. They were married in 1950. A U.S. Army Veteran, he served a tour of duty in Korea, returned and enrolled in law school at the Ohio State University. Upon graduation he joined his father John V. Dye, Sr. and brother-in-law Ted Ernst at Dye and Ernst Law office, 111 South Barron Street in Eaton, OH. He practiced law there from 1957 to 1978.

In 1978 he was elected Probate Juvenile Judge of Preble County, His great grandfather John V. Campbell (1815-1888) also sat on the same bench starting in 1852. Judge Dye retired shortly after being elected to a third term in 1989. The law firm continued and in 1985 moved to 201 South Barron Street, a house built by John's grandfather, Edmund S. Dye.

John was an avid outdoorsman, voracious reader, hobby farmer, sailor, classical music buff, fisherman, adventurer, amateur boat builder, woodworker, machinist, skilled private pilot and airplane mechanic. He loved taking friends and family aloft for an aerial tour of Preble County or the Little Traverse Bay area of northern Michigan. His favorite plane was his hand-built "Mustang II" experimental sport aircraft. He took longer jaunts to the East Coast, West Coast and Florida, twice as a reporter for the Register Herald where he covered the Apollo 13 and 17 rocket launches. In 1970 he flew with 3 close friends into the remote wilderness of the Canadian Northwest Territories to Great Bear Lake, inside the Arctic Circle. The fishing and adventure was reportedly "incredible".

In 1963 John and Martha moved their family from their home in town to a home designed and built by themselves at 4050 U.S. Route 127 North. Martha and John raised their children there, teaching them to work hard, be constantly curious, follow their dreams, learn, explore, discover and above all, make a difference. There was always a project or four in the basement and barn -- usually a boat, an airplane or a piece of farm equipment being modified or repaired. A typical bit of wisdom remembered fondly by his son is "I never met a man so stupid I couldn't learn at least one thing from him".

John served for many years on the Eaton School Board, as did his father, grandfather and great grandfather. He was active in the Bar Association, the Preble County Historical Society (which Martha co-founded) and the Experimental Aircraft Association. He founded "Warm Buoy" manufacturing in the late 1960's, designing and manufacturing some of the first comfortable life saving apparel available in the US.

His beloved wife of 49 years, Martha Dye (Ritzert) died in August of 1999. Together, Martha and John worked to contribute to many aspects of the community, including the Children's Home, school system, Arts Council and Historical Society. In 2003 John married Lillian Aguilaro. They had 5 happy years together, and Lillian passed in September of 2010. John spent at least a portion of every summer of his life in Bay View, MI, a Methodist affiliated Chatauqua community on Little Traverse Bay. His grandfather, Edmund S. Dye, purchased the first Dye Cottage there in 1918, and "The Cottage" remains a retreat enjoyed by family and friends to this day.

He is survived by his children Mary A. Dye, (m. Debra Jensen) Susanne Dye Rose, John M. Dye (m. Marietta Gilman) and grandchildren Nathaniel Rose, Katherine Rose and Sydney Gilman Dye.

A memorial reception in his honor will be held Thursday, October 30, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Barnes Funeral Home, 220 East Main Street Eaton, OH Internment of his ashes will follow on Friday October. 31, 2014 at Mound Hill Cemetery in Eaton, OH at the convenience of the family with the Preble County Honor Guard providing military honors.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Preble County Christmas for Kids, 225 N. Barron St., Eaton, OH 45320. Condolences may be sent to the family via the Web site at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John V. Dye, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Thursday, October 30, 2014

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Mound Hill Cemetery (New Section)

254 Camden Road, Eaton, OH 45320

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