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04-14-03: Ontrops see double and double and double
The Daily Standard

    Twins certainly run in the Ontrop family and they don't skip a generation the way some folks claim.
    That was clearly evident at a pre-Easter gathering Saturday night at the Burkettsville-area home of Don and Mary Ontrop.
    Don and his twin brother, Ron, share a kinship with twin nephews Kurt and Kevin Dippold and Ron's twin grandchildren Hunter and Dakota Ontrop.
    The senior Ontrops were born nearly 54 years ago to Vincent and Viola Moeller Ontrop, who are now deceased.
    The identical twins, born nine minutes apart, came as a complete surprise to the St. Henry couple. There was no ultrasound to indicate multiple births in those days.
    Their sister, Marilyn Ontrop Clune, was 2 1/2 years old when the baby boys arrived. She still remembers the black hearse from Desch Funeral Home in Coldwater pulling into the driveway.
    "I remember that day as if it were yesterday," she says. "They took Mom out the back on a stretcher. Dad and Grandpa (Henry Moeller) each carried a basket containing a baby."
    The new mother had purchased layette items at Barr's 5 & 10 in Celina, but there wasn't enough for two babies. The proud father volunteered to buy more. However, he shopped at Goldstein's and spent considerably more than this wife.
    Eighteen months later, the busy mother gave birth to another child, a daughter named Bonnie. People often assumed Viola's last three children were triplets. She gratefully explained they were not and that one set of twins was enough.
    Don and Ron Ontrop dressed alike as youngsters, adding to the confusion some of their teachers experienced.
    "I remember switching seats from time to time with my brother," Don says. "The other kids knew what was going on but the teacher didn't."
    Clune remembers another incident involving mistaken identity. Don fell on a buck rake and cut his forehead, necessitating a trip to the doctor for stitches. His dad looked over en route and inquired, "You're Ron aren't you?" Dazed with pain and fearing what awaited at the doctor's office, Don nodded yes. The matter was resolved later at home.
    Don's wife, the former Mary Good, remembers the first time she met the boys at a Coldwater picnic.
    "Oh my God, how does anyone tell them apart?" was her first thought.
     Mary initially used shirt color to tell them apart during the first months of dating. That worked until a Saturday night outing to Crystal Ball.
    "I came back to the table and sat down next to the man I thought was Don," she says with a chuckle. "He quickly motioned for me to come around to the other side. I had been setting next to Ron by mistake."
    For all the similarities, there were plenty of differences. Ron served two years in the U.S. Army and worked at New Idea in Coldwater. He was the first to marry, taking the former Kathy Stammen as a bride. He joined the St. Henry Fire Department and currently serves as chief.
    Don joined the Ohio National Guard Unit at Covington and went to work at St. Henry Tile & Concrete Co. Ron joined the same company after a time. Many customers still can't tell the difference.
    Their youngest sister, Bonnie Ontrop Dippold, never imagined there would be twins in her future.
    "My dad kept telling me I was going to have twins," she says. Her response was always the same - "No way, twins skip a generation."
    Her doctor seemed puzzled during one of her visits - either he made a mistake in calculating the due date or there was more than one baby inside. He sent her straight to Our Lady of Mercy Hospital in Coldwater, now Community Hospital, explaining the x-ray technician would take one picture. If two babies showed up on the film, a second picture would be needed.
    "I asked the woman if she could see two babies, but she wasn't allowed to tell me. That was up to the doctor. As soon as she set up for the second x-ray, I knew twins had not skipped a generation."
    She rushed home to tell her husband, Dale, and to come to grips with the impending birth of two babies.
    Twenty-four years after their uncles had been born, identical twins Kurt and Kevin arrived within a span of three minutes.
    "I didn't have any trouble telling the boys apart," Bonnie says. "But everybody else did so we color coded their bassinets, outfits, bottles and pacifiers - blue for Kurt and green or yellow for Kevin."
    The Rev. Aloysius Friedrich appeared somewhat surprised at baptismal ceremonies. Not only did the babies look alike, but so did  godfathers Ron and Don Ontrop.
    The Dippolds also played a few tricks of their own over the years, especially on teacher Greg Freewalt at Tri Star Career Compact in St. Marys.
    Kevin settled down in Kurt's seat. The teacher didn't realize what happened until Kurt walked into the same classroom. Fellow students were aware of the prank immediately.
    Kevin is a partner in Thobe & Dippold Trucking of Maria Stein. His brother, an employee of Precision Strip in Minster, also drives truck when the need arises.
    "Those two boys worked together from little on," their mother recalls.
    Ron Ontrop's son and daughter-in-law, Rob and Kelly Buschur Ontrop, discovered five weeks into their first pregnancy that they were expecting babies - a boy and a girl. The surprised father nearly had heart failure when he thought the doctor said "three" instead of "she." They will turn seven months old the day their Grandpa Ron and Great-Uncle Don turn 54.
    "We joked about twins but we really didn't have any idea we would be having them until the ultrasound," Rob says. "Twins skip a generation or so we had been told. Wrong."
    Twins also run in Kelly's family. An aunt and uncle as well as a great-aunt and uncle also have fraternal twins - a boy and a girl.
    Bonnie Dippold points out the twin connection has appeared on her mother's side. Viola Moeller Ontrop came from a family of eight - four of her siblings also have twin grandchildren. In addition, there are two other twins on the Dippold side, including Dale's cousins Jim and Jerry Dippold of St. Henry  
    "Having so many twins in the family doesn't seem to scare away potential husbands and wives," Rob Ontrop says with a chuckle. "We frequently wonder 'Who's next?' and the answer is anybody is fair game in this family."


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