Below is the full article written by Sue Kiesewetter for the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Bob Niederman had two passions.
“He loved to farm, and he loved to have fun on the farm,’’ said Bethann Niederman, his wife of 23 years.
Niederman, 45, who died Wednesday after an eight-month battle with cancer, was the man whose paintball course, corn mazes and educational programs brought thousands of visitors to the family’s 214-acre farm to have fun.
To the children who came to the farm to learn about Butler County’s agricultural roots, he was known simply as “Farmer Bob.” To adults and his family, he was known for his sunny smile, “can do” attitude and problem-solving skills.
“He was a visionary. He worked through every crazy idea. He started the corn maze because he wanted to find someplace to play for the community,’’ his wife said. “He always said, ‘I can build that. I can make it or I can make it better.’ ”
And he did.
It was Niederman who diversified the cattle and dairy farm to bring in extra income. As the community became more suburban, it was Niederman who added barns to store boats and recreational vehicles.
When the local Pee Wee Football teams needed a place to play, Niederman built a field inside the hayfield around which his father erects the annual Christmas Walk Through the Bible display.
Except for his years at Ohio State University studying agriculture engineering, the 1984 Lakota High School graduate never left the family farm, raising his own five children in the house he grew up in.
Niederman taught his children the lessons he had learned from his father on the farm.
“He always told me to do it right the first time or I’ll make you do it again,’’ said his son, Josh, 15.
“He taught us how to work hard,” added Jacob, 19.
“To never give up,’’ said Ashley, 17.
He was always there for his children – whether it was a concert Jacob was playing in, or driving a van full of teenage girls to their next winter guard competition.
“My daddy is the best dad in the world,” said daughter LeAnn, 7.
Although he worked long hours on the farm, Niederman always made sure to take time for some fun with family and friends.
“He had a sweet tooth,’’ said his friend Mike Wandersee. “He loved ice cream, donuts, sweet tea – and a good steak. Those were his four staples.”
During one big snow, friend Jeff Herman remembers Niederman clearinh neighbors’ driveways, then getting out snow tubes and pullingHerman on his four-wheeler.
“He was driving as fast as he could – laughing the whole time – using the driveway as a ramp to launch the tubes in the air,’’ Herman said.
Always a faith-filled man, Niederman never became angry or bitter as his cancer worsened.
“He never ever said ‘why me?’ He never complained, never got angry,’’ his wife said. “He helped us all deal with the journey he was on.”
Niederman grew in his faith while battling cancer, his sister said.
“I saw him fall even more in love with ministering to others,’’ said Cindy Sorrell. “Even though he was going through a lot, he tried to help us and he never lost faith.”
He will be missed by many, his dad said.
“There’s going to be a void. We know he’s in God’s hands now. He’s at peace,” his father said. “He was a man that any father would be proud to call son.”
Survivors include his wife, Bethann; daughters, Elizabeth, Ashley, LeAnn; sons, Jacob and Joshua; parents Janet and Bob; siblings Debbie (Doug) Pierson; Cindy (Tim) Sorrell; and Nancy, (Greg) Garver.
Visitation will be from 3-7 p.m., Sunday at Center Pointe Church. Funeral is 10 a.m., Monday at the Church, 5962 Hamilton-Mason Road.
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