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August 12, 2020

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Long-time Bluffton promoter, Dick Boehr, retires "sort of"

FROM BLUFFTON ICON - Bluffton’s major promoter since 1957, Dick Boehr, has “sort of” called it quits.

No one has yet signed up to fill the vacancy, nor has asked to see the job description.

For reasons unknown to most residents here, this past winter he sold the “Boehr block” at the corner of Main and Vine, a building where he did most of his Bluffton brainstorming since purchasing it in 1969.

Funny thing though, he never was paid for these Bluffton promotion efforts. Instead, he was forced to sell real estate on the side to keep bread on the table for his wife, Corrine, and their four sons.

Boehr, certainly a household name and perhaps carrier of the strongest Bluffton brand since the Triplett Corp., looking back, laughs at it all admitting, “Maybe I was a catalyst or a thorn in their side.”

Translating the above in newspeak: 
Dick Boehr, owner of Richard Boehr Real Estate Co., sold his building and has retired from a career spanning more than six decades. 

During this period he volunteered in every downtown promotion, served on countless committees, created promotions for the Bluffton community, supported programs involving Bluffton College (now University), Bluffton Community Hospital (now Hospital), Bluffton Lions and Bluffton Business Men’s Association (now Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce).

His list of accomplishments includes (but, is not limited to):
• Bluffton Lions Club member for what seems a lifetime
• 30-plus years with Bluffton antique car show 
   (now Lions Club Festival of Wheels)
• 20-plus years with Bluffton Industrial Expansion Corp.
• Past member of Mennonite Memorial Home board
• 50 years as a Notary Public
• Past board member of Bluffton United Way
• Bluffton Downtown Improvement Committee member, 1965-68
• Lifetime membership in Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce
• Chaired and participated on boards of several Bluffton Hospital campaigns
• Member of First Mennonite Church, Bluffton

Since establishing his real estate business he has handled sales of countless homes, farms, industrial sites, industrial and commercial buildings.

One of his first opportunities to work with industry involved MacIntosh, now Tower Automotive. He said that his early involvement with local projects began as a “sidekick” with the late Eugene Benroth.

He headlined the first medical committee when Bluffton had just three doctors. He also helped formed a committee for the new swimming pool in 1991. He also had a hand in helping launch the Blaze of Lights celebration.

Some real estate sales of interest:
• 80 acres to help the airport location
• 40 acres to McIntosh (Tower) in 1968
• A portion of the Gene Muller farm allowing DTR coming to Bluffton 
• Vermillion farm on SR 103 development
• Konalrad Products 1970, Pandora

Other projects he had a hand in:
• Set up subdivision for Ken Mast at the Bluffton Golf Course
• College View Apartments on Elm Street for Dr. F.D. Rodabaugh
• Constructed building today housing Polished and Boutique 415 on North Main
• Even worked with Shannon Oil Co. in the 1960s in oil and gas leases

Add to this list, his company sponsorship of the Bluffton Boehrs basketball team. In its seven years of play the team won three state titles. 

And, we’ve not even talked about his board membership with the Allen County Historical Society, Benroth Memorial Bridge construction and too many choirs, quartets and Messiah performances where he sang first tenor.

Boehr says that although he is technically retired he will continue eating daily in Bluffton restaurants and will continue his visits to local coffee shops.

Meanwhile, he has a few projects on the drawing board that you may hear about eventually. Stay tuned.