Friday, December 22nd, 2006
By Margie Wuebker
Minster woman dies in head-on crash with beer truck
  A Minster woman died Thursday when her car drifted left of center and collided head on with a truck. The mishap occurred shortly before noon on state Route 29 east of Fort Loramie.
Irene B. Garmann, 70, 137 S. Garfield St., was pronounced dead on arrival at Wilson Memorial Hospital in Sidney. The accident reportedly occurred as she headed to a daughter's home to have her hair done for approaching holiday parties.
The Shelby County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call at 11:48 p.m. reporting a crash just north of Fort Loramie-Swanders Road.
Garmann was southbound when her 1996 Mercury Grand Marquis apparently drifted left of center striking a northbound 1988 Chevrolet straight truck driven by Stephen Kleismit Jr., 43, of Vandalia. The crash, which remains under investigation, took place in the northbound lane.
Fort Loramie Rescue Squad, which responded to the scene used the "jaws of life" to free Garmann from the wreckage. Shelby County Coroner Dr. Fred Hausmann pronounced her dead a short time later at the hospital emergency room.
Kleismit also was taken to Wilson Memorial for treatment of minor injuries.
Both drivers were using seat belts at the time of the crash, according to sheriff's office reports. The car as well as the truck owned by Heidelberg Distributing Co. of Dayton sustained heavy damage and were towed from the scene.
Garmann, a former Maria Stein resident, had served as head cook at the Marion Local School District, prior to retirement. A widow since the sudden death of her husband Edmund in November 1996, she was active in the organization Naim of the North.
An active member of the mission commission at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Minster, she worked at the group's annual garage sale. Her home-canned peaches and turtle soup proved to be big sellers at the bazaar table. Proceeds from the event support mission projects at home and in faraway places.
In recent years, she accompanied close friend Deacon John Schmiesing to many church-related events and participated in monthly deacon support programs. They had served together on a committee for the annual Christmas party, where her dessert earned rave reviews. Her other interests included playing cards and she had belonged to a card club in Maria Stein for decades.
"Mom enjoyed life and loved to have a good time," said Greg Garmann, the youngest of her four children. "She always had a smile."
Family and friends recall her hearty laugh that bubbled forth with very little provocation. The infectious quality soon had others joining in the merriment.
When notified of his grandmother's death, Nicholas Garmann put the tragedy into perspective during an otherwise festive season.
"Christmas will be different for us this year," he told his father over the phone from a military base in Hawaii. "But Grandpa and Grandma will be together again this Christmas."
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