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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

George and Edith Kellner of Lima, Ohio

     You have to admire George Kellner and his wife, Edith. Like many people coming out of World War Two they were made of sterner stuff than most of us; they survived circumstances that would have destroyed lesser men and women. 
     Born on April 25, 1911 in the Czech Republic, George was a fixture in Ohio tournaments during his career and in 1964 he tied for first with Richard Kause, Thomas Wozney, James Harkins and David Presser in the Ohio Championship. 
     Then one weekend in February in 1971, his last weekend on this earth, Kellner played for Toledo in the Midwest Open Team Chess Festival, won all his games and the following day, on Monday morning, March 1st, he was gone. 
     As a young man in Czechoslovakia, Kellner was rich; his family owned real estate. Then Hitler arrived on the scene and Kellner, as a Jew, was doomed but somehow he managed to escape just two months before the war started. On arriving in the US, Kellner joined the Army because he felt he had to. Surviving the war, he got married to Edith Schweizer (born in Vienna, Austria, April 14, 1945) then returned to Czechoslovakia only to find most of his family dead. 
     Then came the Communists and for the second time he lost all his property with the exception of a small farm. The Communists ordered him to grow tomatoes to supply a cannery, so that's what he did.  When it was time to harvest them, he was told to forget it; there were no cans available. Leaving the rotting tomatoes, the Kellners returned to Lima, Ohio where he raised turkeys. But then another disaster struck...a rare disease hit the turkeys and they all died. Generally, turkeys are hardy, robust birds, but they are subject to a wide variety of health problems and diseases. I don't know what killed Kellner's turkeys, but back in April of this year poultry producers in the US were hit with a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza that forced producers to kill millions of chickens and turkeys. 
    After that misfortune, he took a job in a factory operating a drill press and all was well until another disaster struck; he had a heart attack. After his heart attack he became an inspector in the factory until his retirement.  Aside from his wife, daughter and grandson, Kellner's great love was chess. 
     His wife, Edith, passed away at the age of 78 on Thursday, March 29, 2001. She attended Business and Language School in Vienna, Austria, but because of the occupation of Austria, she was never able to complete her studies. During her working career, Mrs. Kellner was self-employed in real estate marketing through her own business, Kellner Enterprises. She was also an active chess player and a life member and Honorary Trustee of the USCF and a life member of the International Club of Toledo. In the late 1980's she also ran for City Council. 
     The following game is a win from the MOTCF event over a Master from Michigan; it was Kellner's very last chess game and it was quite amazing!

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