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Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Coldwater farmer found dead after slipping near milk parlor

By Margie Wuebker
A Coldwater-area dairy farmer died Monday after he apparently slipped and struck his head in a holding pen near the milking parlor.
Gary E. Uhlenhake, 50, 3898 Burkettsville-St. Henry Road, was found dead shortly after 5 p.m., the victim of an apparent farm accident.
Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey indicated the fall likely occurred around 8 a.m. because some dairy cattle remained in the milking parlor area.
"The cattle would have been outside if the fall took place after milking time," he added. "Mr. Uhlenhake typically did the morning milking by himself and finished around 8."
Hired hand Erick Brockman discovered the body when he arrived to help with the evening chores. He quickly alerted family members who had returned home and they called 911.
Authorities theorize Uhlenhake's rubber work boots slipped on manure in the pen causing him to fall and strike the back of his head on the concrete floor. Nothing was found at the scene to suggest foul play, according to Grey.
Dr. James Reichert, acting Mercer County coroner, ruled the death accidental and released the body to Hogenkamp Funeral Home, Coldwater.
Uhlenhake and his wife, Barb, have five children and a grandson. He was a 4-H adviser and a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Philothea, the Mercer County Young Farmers and the Farm Bureau.
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